Jeremy Rifkin
Jeremy Rifkin is an American economist, writer, public speaker, political advisor and activist. He is the founder and president of the Foundation On Economic Trends. Rifkin's work explores the potential impact of scientific and technological changes on the economy, the workforce, society, and the environment.


Jeremy Rifkin was born in Denver, Colorado
Denver, Colorado
The City and County of Denver is the capital and the most populous city of the U.S. state of Colorado. Denver is a consolidated city-county, located in the South Platte River Valley on the western edge of the High Plains just east of the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains...

 in 1945, to Vivette Ravel Rifkin and Milton Rifkin, a plastic-bag manufacturer. He grew up on the southwest side of Chicago. He earned a BS in economics at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania
Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania
The Wharton School is the business school of the University of Pennsylvania, an Ivy League university in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Wharton was the world’s first collegiate business school and the first business school in the United States...

, where he was president of the graduating class of 1967 and recipient of the University of Pennsylvania General Alumni Association's Award of Merit. He had an epiphany when one day in 1966 he walked past a group of students protesting the Vietnam War
Vietnam War
The Vietnam War was a Cold War-era military conflict that occurred in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. This war followed the First Indochina War and was fought between North Vietnam, supported by its communist allies, and the government of...

 picketing the administration building and was amazed to see, as he recalls, that "my frat friends were beating the living daylights out of them. I got very upset." He organized a freedom-of-speech rally the next day. From then on, Rifkin quickly became an active member of the peace movement. He went on to obtain his masters degree in international affairs at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University
Tufts University
Tufts University is a private research university located in Medford/Somerville, near Boston, Massachusetts. It is organized into ten schools, including two undergraduate programs and eight graduate divisions, on four campuses in Massachusetts and on the eastern border of France...

 in 1968. Rifkin pursued anti-war activities at Fletcher, and later joined VISTA
Volunteers in Service to America
VISTA or Volunteers in Service to America is an anti-poverty program created by Lyndon Johnson's Economic Opportunity Act of 1964 as the domestic version of the Peace Corps. Initially, the program increased employment opportunities for conscientious people who felt they could contribute tangibly to...


In 1973, Rifkin organized a mass-protest against oil companies at the commemoration of the 200th Anniversary of the Boston Tea Party
Boston Tea Party
The Boston Tea Party was a direct action by colonists in Boston, a town in the British colony of Massachusetts, against the British government and the monopolistic East India Company that controlled all the tea imported into the colonies...

 at Boston's Harbor. Thousands joined the protest, as activists dumped empty oil barrels into Boston's Harbor. The protest came in the wake of the increase in gasoline prices in the fall of 1972, following the OPEC
OPEC is an intergovernmental organization of twelve developing countries made up of Algeria, Angola, Ecuador, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Libya, Nigeria, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Venezuela. OPEC has maintained its headquarters in Vienna since 1965, and hosts regular meetings...

 oil embargo-

In 1977, with Ted Howard, he founded the Foundation on Economic Trends (FOET), which is active in both national and international public policy issues related to the environment, the economy, and climate change. FOET examines new trends and their impacts on the environment, the economy, culture and society, and engages in litigation, public education, coalition building and grassroots organizing activities to advance their goals. Rifkin currently works out of an office in Bethesda, Maryland
Bethesda, Maryland
Bethesda is a census designated place in southern Montgomery County, Maryland, United States, just northwest of Washington, D.C. It takes its name from a local church, the Bethesda Meeting House , which in turn took its name from Jerusalem's Pool of Bethesda...

, a suburb of Washington, D.C.

Rifkin is the principal architect of the Third Industrial Revolution
The Third Industrial Revolution
The Third Industrial Revolution is a concept and vision outlined by Jeremy Rifkin and endorsed by the European Parliament, in a formal declaration passed in June 2007 . Throughout history, economic transformations occur when new communication technology converges with new energy systems...

 long-term economic sustainability plan to address the triple challenge of the global economic crisis, energy security, and climate change. The Third Industrial Revolution was formally endorsed by the European Parliament in 2007 and is now being implemented by various agencies within the European Commission
European Commission
The European Commission is the executive body of the European Union. The body is responsible for proposing legislation, implementing decisions, upholding the Union's treaties and the general day-to-day running of the Union....

. Rifkin has lectured before many Fortune 500
Fortune 500
The Fortune 500 is an annual list compiled and published by Fortune magazine that ranks the top 500 U.S. closely held and public corporations as ranked by their gross revenue after adjustments made by Fortune to exclude the impact of excise taxes companies collect. The list includes publicly and...

 companies, and hundreds of governments, civil society organizations, and universities over the past thirty five years [3].

Rifkin is the founder and chairperson of the Third Industrial Revolution Global CEO Business Roundtable, comprising more than 100 of the world's leading renewable energy companies, construction companies, architectural firms, real estate companies, IT companies, power and utility companies, and transport and logistics companies. Rifkin's global economic development team is working with cities, regions, and national governments to develop master plans to transition their economies into post- carbon Third Industrial Revolution infrastructures. In 2009, Rifkin and his team developed Third Industrial Revolution master plans for the cities of San Antonio, Texas
Texas is the second largest U.S. state by both area and population, and the largest state by area in the contiguous United States.The name, based on the Caddo word "Tejas" meaning "friends" or "allies", was applied by the Spanish to the Caddo themselves and to the region of their settlement in...

 and Rome, Italy, to transition their economies into the first post carbon urban areas in the world.

In 1988, Rifkin brought together climate scientists and environmental activists from 35 nations in Washington, D.C. for the first meeting of the Global Greenhouse Network. In the same year, Rifkin did a series of Hollywood lectures on global warming and related environmental issues for a diverse assortment of film, television and music industry leaders, with the goal of organizing the Hollywood community for a campaign. Shortly thereafter, two Hollywood Environmental Organizations, Earth Communications Office (ECO), and Environmental Media Association
Environmental Media Association
The Environmental Media Association is a non-profit organization which was founded in 1989 by Cindy and Alan Horn and Lyn and Norman Lear. EMA works with the entertainment industry to encourage green production and raise the public's environmental awareness. The group provides a "Green Seal" to...

, were formed.

In 1992, Rifkin launched the Beyond Beef Campaign, a coalition of six environmental groups including Green Peace, Rainforest Action Network
Rainforest Action Network
Rainforest Action Network is an environmental organization based in San Francisco, California, USA. The organization was founded by Randy "Hurricane" Hayes and Mike Roselle in 1985, with the financial help of Fund for Wild Nature....

, and Public Citizen
Public Citizen
Public Citizen is a non-profit, consumer rights advocacy group based in Washington, D.C., United States, with a branch in Austin, Texas. Public Citizen was founded by Ralph Nader in 1971, headed for 26 years by Joan Claybrook, and is now headed by Robert Weissman.-Lobbying Efforts:Public Citizen...

, with the goal of encouraging a 50% reduction in the consumption of beef, arguing that methane emissions from Cattle
Cattle are the most common type of large domesticated ungulates. They are a prominent modern member of the subfamily Bovinae, are the most widespread species of the genus Bos, and are most commonly classified collectively as Bos primigenius...

 has a warming effect 23 to 50 times greater than carbon dioxide.

Since 1994, Rifkin has been a senior lecturer at The Wharton School's executive education program at the University of Pennsylvania
University of Pennsylvania
The University of Pennsylvania is a private, Ivy League university located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States. Penn is the fourth-oldest institution of higher education in the United States,Penn is the fourth-oldest using the founding dates claimed by each institution...

, where he instructs CEOs and senior corporate management from around the world on new trends in science and technology.

After the publication of The Hydrogen Economy, Rifkin worked both in the U.S. and Europe to advance the political cause of renewably generated hydrogen. In the U.S., Rifkin was instrumental in founding the Green Hydrogen Coalition, consisting of thirteen environmental and political organizations (including Greenpeace
Greenpeace is a non-governmental environmental organization with offices in over forty countries and with an international coordinating body in Amsterdam, The Netherlands...

 and MoveOn.Org) that are committed to building a renewable hydrogen based economy
Hydrogen economy
The hydrogen economy is a proposed system of delivering energy using hydrogen. The term hydrogen economy was coined by John Bockris during a talk he gave in 1970 at General Motors Technical Center....


Governmental work

Rifkin has advised both the European Commission and the European Parliament
European Parliament
The European Parliament is the directly elected parliamentary institution of the European Union . Together with the Council of the European Union and the Commission, it exercises the legislative function of the EU and it has been described as one of the most powerful legislatures in the world...

. Rifkin has also advised Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero
José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero
José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero is a member of the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party . He was elected for two terms as Prime Minister of Spain, in the 2004 and 2008 general elections. On 2 April 2011 he announced he will not stand for re-election in 2012...

 of Spain during its presidency of the European Union
European Union
The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 independent member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community , formed by six countries in 1958...

. Rifkin also served as an adviser to Chancellor Angela Merkel
Angela Merkel
Angela Dorothea Merkel is the current Chancellor of Germany . Merkel, elected to the Bundestag from Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, has been the chairwoman of the Christian Democratic Union since 2000, and chairwoman of the CDU-CSU parliamentary coalition from 2002 to 2005.From 2005 to 2009 she led a...

 of Germany, Prime Minister Jose Socrates
José Sócrates
José Sócrates Carvalho Pinto de Sousa, GCIH , commonly known by José Sócrates , is a Portuguese politician who was the Prime Minister of Portugal from 12 March 2005 to 21 June 2011....

 of Portugal, President Nicolas Sarkozy
Nicolas Sarkozy
Nicolas Sarkozy is the 23rd and current President of the French Republic and ex officio Co-Prince of Andorra. He assumed the office on 16 May 2007 after defeating the Socialist Party candidate Ségolène Royal 10 days earlier....

 of France, and Prime Minister Janez Janša
Janez Janša
Janez Janša is a Slovenian politician who was Prime Minister of Slovenia from November 2004 to November 2008. He has also been President of the Slovenian Democratic Party since 1993...

 of Slovenia
Slovenia , officially the Republic of Slovenia , is a country in Central and Southeastern Europe touching the Alps and bordering the Mediterranean. Slovenia borders Italy to the west, Croatia to the south and east, Hungary to the northeast, and Austria to the north, and also has a small portion of...

, during their respective European Council
European Council
The European Council is an institution of the European Union. It comprises the heads of state or government of the EU member states, along with the President of the European Commission and the President of the European Council, currently Herman Van Rompuy...

 Presidencies, on issues related to the economy, climate change, and energy security. Rifkin is currently working with European officials to help shape a Third Industrial Revolution long-term economic development plan for the European Union.


According to the The "European Energy Review" "Perhaps no other author or thinker has had more influence on the EU's ambitious climate and energy policy than the famous American 'visionary' Jeremy Rifkin. In the United States, he has testified before numerous congressional committees and has had success in litigation to ensure responsible government policies on a variety of environmental, scientific and technology related issues. The Union of Concerned Scientists
Union of Concerned Scientists
The Union of Concerned Scientists is a nonprofit science advocacy group based in the United States. The UCS membership includes many private citizens in addition to professional scientists. James J...

 has cited some of Rifkin's publications as useful references for consumers and The New York Times once stated that "many in the scholarly, religious, and political fields praise Jeremy Rifkin for a willingness to think big, raise controversial questions, and serve as a social and ethical prophet".

Rifkin's work has also been controversial, and opponents have attacked the scientific rigor of his claims as well as some of the tactics he uses to promote his views. Stephen Jay Gould
Stephen Jay Gould
Stephen Jay Gould was an American paleontologist, evolutionary biologist, and historian of science. He was also one of the most influential and widely read writers of popular science of his generation....

 characterised Rifkin's 1983 book Algeny as "a cleverly constructed tract of anti-intellectual propaganda masquerading as scholarship".

A 1989 Time
Time (magazine)
Time is an American news magazine. A European edition is published from London. Time Europe covers the Middle East, Africa and, since 2003, Latin America. An Asian edition is based in Hong Kong...

article about Rifkin was entitled "The Most Hated Man in Science."


Jeremy Rifkin became one of the first major critics of the nascent biotechnology
Biotechnology is a field of applied biology that involves the use of living organisms and bioprocesses in engineering, technology, medicine and other fields requiring bioproducts. Biotechnology also utilizes these products for manufacturing purpose...

 industry with the 1977 publication of his book, Who Should Play God? Rifkin's 1980 work "Entropy" was called "A comprehensive worldview" and "an appropriate successor to ... Silent Spring
Silent Spring
Silent Spring is a book written by Rachel Carson and published by Houghton Mifflin on 27 September 1962. The book is widely credited with helping launch the environmental movement....

, The Closing Circle, The Limits to Growth, and Small Is Beautiful
Small Is Beautiful
Small Is Beautiful: Economics As If People Mattered is a collection of essays by British economist E. F. Schumacher. The phrase "Small Is Beautiful" came from a phrase by his teacher Leopold Kohr...

." His 1995 book, The End of Work, is credited by some with helping shape the current global debate on technology displacement, corporate downsizing and the future of jobs. His 1998 book, The Biotech Century, addresses issues accompanying the new era of genetic commerce. His 2004 book, The European Dream
The European Dream
The European Dream: How Europe's Vision of the Future Is Quietly Eclipsing the American Dream is a book, by Jeremy Rifkin published in September 2004. Rifkin describes the emergence and evolution of the European Union over the past five decades, as well as key differences between European and...

, was an international bestseller and winner of the 2005 Corine International Book Prize
Corine Literature Prize
The Corine – International Book Prize, as it is officially called, is a German literature prize created by theBavarian Landesverband of the Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels first awarded in 2001...

 in Germany for the best economics book of the year.


  • 1973, How to Commit Revolution American Style: Bicentennial Declaration, with John Rossen, Lyle Stuart Inc., ISBN 0-8184-0041-2
  • 1975, Common Sense II: The case against corporate tyranny, Bantam Books, OCLC 123151709
  • 1977, Own Your Own Job: Economic Democracy for Working Americans, ISBN 978-0-553-10487-5
  • 1977, Who Should Play God? The Artificial Creation of Life and What it Means for the Future of the Human, with Ted Howard, Dell Publishing Co., ISBN 0-440-19504-7
  • 1978, The North Will Rise Again: Pensions, Politics and Power in the 1980s, with Randy Barber, Beacon Press, ISBN 0-8070-4787-2
  • 1979, The Emerging Order: God in the Age of Scarcity, with Ted Howard, Putnam, ISBN 978-0-399-12319-1
  • 1980, Entropy: A New World View, with Ted Howard (afterword by Nicholas Georgescu-Roegen
    Nicholas Georgescu-Roegen
    Nicholas Georgescu-Roegen, born Nicolae Georgescu was a Romanian mathematician, statistician and economist, best known for his 1971 magnum opus The Entropy Law and the Economic Process, which situated the view that the second law of thermodynamics, i.e., that usable "free energy" tends to disperse...

    ), Viking Press, ISBN 0-670-29717-8
  • 1983, Algeny: A New Word—A New World, in collaboration with Nicanor Perlas, Viking Press, ISBN 0-670-10885-5
  • 1985, Declaration of a Heretic, Routledge & Kegan Paul Books, Ltd, ISBN 0-7102-0709-3
  • 1987, Time Wars: The Primary Conflict In Human History, Henry Holt & Co, ISBN 0-8050-0377-0
  • 1990, The Green Lifestyle Handbook: 1001 Ways to Heal the Earth (edited by Rifkin), Henry Holt & Co, ISBN 0-8050-1369-5
  • 1991, Biosphere Politics: A New Consciousness for a New Century, Crown, ISBN 0-517-57746-1
  • 1992, Beyond Beef: The Rise and Fall of the Cattle Culture, E. P. Dutton, ISBN 0-525-93420-0
  • 1992, Voting Green: Your Complete Environmental Guide to Making Political Choices In The 90s, with Carol Grunewald Rifkin, Main Street Books, ISBN 0-385-41917-1
  • 1995, The End of Work: The Decline of the Global Labor Force and the Dawn of the Post-Market Era
    The End of Work
    The End of Work: The Decline of the Global Labor Force and the Dawn of the Post-Market Era is a non-fiction book by American economist Jeremy Rifkin, published in 1995 by Putnam Publishing Group....

    , Putnam Publishing Group, ISBN 0-87477-779-8
  • 1998, The Biotech Century: Harnessing the Gene and Remaking the World, J P Tarcher, ISBN 0-87477-909-X
  • 2000, The Age Of Access: The New Culture of Hypercapitalism, Where All of Life is a Paid-For Experience, Putnam Publishing Group, ISBN 1-58542-018-2
  • 2002, The Hydrogen Economy: The Creation of the Worldwide Energy Web and the Redistribution of Power on Earth, Jeremy P. Tarcher, ISBN 1-58542-193-6
  • 2004, The European Dream: How Europe's Vision of the Future is Quietly Eclipsing the American Dream
    The European Dream
    The European Dream: How Europe's Vision of the Future Is Quietly Eclipsing the American Dream is a book, by Jeremy Rifkin published in September 2004. Rifkin describes the emergence and evolution of the European Union over the past five decades, as well as key differences between European and...

    , Jeremy P. Tarcher, ISBN 1-58542-345-9
  • 2010, The Empathic Civilization: The Race to Global Consciousness In a World In Crisis
    The Empathic Civilization
    The Empathic Civilization: The Race to Global Consciousness in a World in Crisis is a 2010 non-fiction book written by Jeremy Rifkin. It connects the evolution of communication and energy development in civilizations with psychological and economic development in humans...

    , Jeremy P. Tarcher, ISBN 1-58542-765-9
  • 2011, The Third Industrial Revolution: How Lateral Power Is Transforming Energy, the Economy, and the World, Palgrave Macmillan
    Palgrave Macmillan
    Palgrave Macmillan is an international academic and trade publishing company, headquartered in Basingstoke, Hampshire, England, United Kingdom and with offices in New York, Melbourne, Sydney, Hong Kong, Delhi, Johannesburg. It was created in 2000 when St...

    , ISBN 978-0-230-11521-7

See also

  • Biopolitics
    The term "biopolitics" or "biopolitical" can refer to several different yet often compatible concepts.-Definitions:# In the work of Michel Foucault, the style of government that regulates populations through "biopower" .# In the works of Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri, anti-capitalist insurrection...

  • Frankenstein argument
  • Genetic pollution
    Genetic pollution
    Genetic pollution is a controversial term for uncontrolled gene flow into wild populations. This gene flow is undesirable according to some environmentalists and conservationists, including groups such as Greenpeace, TRAFFIC, and GeneWatch UK.-Usage:...

  • Jobless growth
  • National Veterans Inquiry
    National Veterans Inquiry
    The National Veterans Inquiry was a national-level inquiry into American war crimes in Vietnam. They were held December 1 - December 3, 1970 in Washington, DC.-Origin:...

  • The Third Industrial Revolution
    The Third Industrial Revolution
    The Third Industrial Revolution is a concept and vision outlined by Jeremy Rifkin and endorsed by the European Parliament, in a formal declaration passed in June 2007 . Throughout history, economic transformations occur when new communication technology converges with new energy systems...

  • Winter Soldier Investigation
    Winter Soldier Investigation
    The "Winter Soldier Investigation" was a media event sponsored by the Vietnam Veterans Against the War from January 31, 1971 – February 2, 1971. It was intended to publicize war crimes and atrocities by the United States Armed Forces and their allies in the Vietnam War...

External links

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Other links

  • – 'Sorry, Mr President, homilies won't stop the hurricanes: We Americans need to get out of our SUVs and learn the harsh lesson of Katrina and Rita: we are all to blame', Jeremy Rifkin, The Guardian
    The Guardian
    The Guardian, formerly known as The Manchester Guardian , is a British national daily newspaper in the Berliner format...

    , (September 23, 2005)
  • European Parliament Leaders announce Green Hydrogen initiative
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