Excerpted from Jeremy Rifkin’s The Third Industrial Revolution: How Lateral Power is Transforming Energy, the Economy, and the World, Palgrave Macmillan 2011.
Energy regimes shape the nature of civilizations… how they are organized, how the fruits of commerce and trade are distributed, how political power is exercised, and how social relations are conducted. The locus of control over energy production and distribution is beginning to tilt from giant fossil fuel based centralized energy companies to millions of small producers, who are generating their own renewable energies in their dwellings and trading surpluses in info-energy commons.
The new era will bring with it a reorganization of power relationships across every level of society. While the fossil fuel-based First and Second Industrial Revolutions scaled vertically and favored centralized, top-down organizational structures operating in markets, the Third Industrial Revolution is organized nodally, scales laterally, and favors distributed and collaborative business practices that work most effectively in networks. The „democratization of energy“ has profound implications for how we orchestrate the entirety of human life in the coming century. We are entering the era of „Distributed Capitalism.“