"It is becoming clear that the Second Industrial Revolution is dying. What we need now is a bold new economic narrative that can take us into a sustainable post carbon future."
It is becoming increasingly clear that the Second Industrial Revolution is dying and that industrial induced CO2 emissions are threatening the viability of life on Earth. What we need now is a bold new economic narrative that can take us into a sustainable post-carbon future. Finding that new vision requires an understanding of the technological forces that precipitate the profound transformations in society.
"Internet technology and renewable energies are beginning to merge to create a new infrastructure for a Third Industrial Revolution (TIR) that will change the way power is distributed in the 21st century."
The establishment of a Third Industrial Revolution infrastructure will create thousands of new businesses and millions of jobs and lay the basis for a sustainable global economy in the 21st century. However, let me add a cautionary note. Like every other communication and energy infrastructure in history, the various pillars of a Third Industrial Revolution must be laid down simultaneously or the foundation will not hold. That’s because each pillar can only function in relationship to the others. The five pillars of the Third Industrial Revolution are (1) shifting to renewable energy; (2) transforming the building stock of every continent into micro–power plants to collect renewable energies on-site; (3) deploying hydrogen and other storage technologies in every building and throughout the infrastructure to store intermittent energies; (4) using Internet technology to transform the power grid of every continent into an energy internet that acts just like the Internet (when millions of buildings are generating a small amount of renewable energy locally, on-site, they can sell surplus green electricity back to the grid and share it with their continental neighbors); and (5) transitioning the transport fleet to electric plug-in and fuel cell vehicles that can buy and sell green electricity on a smart, continental, interactive power grid.
"The distributed nature of renwable energies necessitates collaborative rather than hierachical command and control mechanisms. The new lateral energy regime establishes the organizational model for the countless economic activities that multiply from it."
Fossil fuels—coal, oil, and natural gas—are elite energies for the simple reason that they are found only in select places. They require a significant military investment to secure their access and continual geopolitical management to assure their availability. They also require top down command and control systems and massive concentrations of capital to move them from underground to the end users. The ability to centralize production and distribution— the essence of modern capitalism— is critical to the effective performance of the system as a whole. The centralized energy infrastructure, in turn, sets the conditions for the rest of the economy, encouraging similar business models across every sector.
"In the new era, everyone can potentially be their own manufacturer as well as their own internet site and power comany. The process is called 3-D printing."
3-D entrepreneurs are particularly bullish about additive manufacturing, because the process requires as little as 10 percent of the raw material expended in traditional manufacturing and uses less energy than conventional factory production, thus greatly reducing the cost.
Near Zero Cost Marketing and Logistics
" The internet has transformed marketing from a significant expense to a a negligible cost, allowing start ups and small enterpreses to compete with many of the giant business engterprises of the 21st century."
Etsy brings another dimension to the market—the personalization of relationships between seller and buyer. The website hosts chat rooms, coordinates online craft shows, and conducts seminars, allowing sellers and buyers to interact, exchange ideas, customize products, and create social bonds that can last a lifetime. Giant, global companies mass-producing standardized products on assembly lines operated by anonymous workforces can’t compete with the kind of intimate one-to-one relationship between artisan and patron.
"The transition to the Third Industrial Revolution will require a wholesale reconfiguration of the entire economic infrasture of each country, creating mimllions of jobs and coutnless goods and services."
The transition to the Third Industrial Revolution will require a wholesale reconfiguration of the entire economic infrastructure of each country, creating millions of jobs and countless new goods and services. Nations will need to invest in renewable energy technology on a massive scale; convert millions of buildings into green micro power plants; embed hydrogen and other storage technology throughout the national infrastructure; lay down a green energy internet; and transform the automobile from the internal combustion engine to electric plug-in and fuel cell cars.