Our economy is at a crossroads. Unemployment is rampant, consumer and government debt is spiralling out of control, and food prices are going through the roof. According to Jeremy Rifkin, the American economist and president of the Foundation on Economic Trends, these are signals that the fossil fuel economy has reached the end of the line.
In its place, decentralized systems of clean energy production and digital power distribution are already on the rise. The shift will change whole societies, argues Rifkin. As the ability to tap, generate and distribute power moves away from government and corporations toward individuals with solar panels, wind turbines and smart grids, it will forever change the relationship between the government and the governed.
At HuffPo Green, Tom Zeller interviews Rifkin about the ideas put forth in his new book The Third Industrial Revolution: How Lateral Power Is Transforming Energy, the Economy, and the World, which hits bookstores and e-readers this week.