Jeremy Rifkin: Empathy, collaboration, emerging economies

Jeremy Rifkin has long tracked our society’s leading edges, and in recent years has written on the rise of empathy, and on the disruptions being caused by technologally-mediated new business structures. He runs the Foundation for Economic Trends.

Jeremy Rifkin’s website for the Foundation of Economic Trends

Book: The Zero Marginal Cost Society. In Rikin’s newest book (2014), he looks ahead to a world in which the lightning-fast rise of a global “Collaborative Commons” leads toward a “zero marginal cost” economic system. He looks ahead and back, at 500 years of history spiraling from an economy based on the Commons, to capitalism, and in his view, an oncoming return to this technology-mediated collaborative commons as the foundation of a new economic system that could solve some of our sustainability challenges.

This article digs into Rifikin’s newest book’s themes of technological advances disrupting entire industries, allowing small producers and players to compete with established players thanks to a trend toward zero marginal costs.

Video: The Empathic Civilization. In this Ted talk based on another relatively recent book, Rifkin delves into how empathy has evolved, profoundly shaping the shape of human development and society. He also looks ahead, asking, “Can we reach biosphere consciousness and global empathy in time to avert planetary collapse?”


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