(born January 26, 1945) is an American economic and social theorist, writer, public speaker, political advisor, and activist. Rifkin is the author of 20 books about the impact of scientific and technological changes on the economy, the workforce, society, and the environment. His most recent books include The Zero Marginal Cost Society (2014), The Third Industrial Revolution (2011), The Empathic Civilization (2010), and The European Dream (2004).
Rifkin has been an unpaid advisor to the European Union since 2000. He has advised the current president and the past two presidents of the European Commission and their leadership teams. Rifkin has also served as an unpaid advisor to the leadership of the European Parliament and prominent European heads of state – including Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany – on issues related to the economy, climate change, and energy security.
Rifkin is the principal architect of the Third Industrial Revolution 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.
Rifkin has been advising the leadership of the People’s Republic of China in recent years. The Huffington Post reported from Beijing in October 2015 that “Chinese Premier Li Keqiang has not only read Jeremy Rifkin’s book, The Third Industrial Revolution, but taken it to heart”, he and his colleagues having incorporated ideas from this book into the core of the country’s thirteenth Five-Year Plan. According to EurActiv, “Jeremy Rifkin is an American economist and author whose best-selling Third Industrial Revolution arguably provided the blueprint for Germany’s transition to a low-carbon economy, and China’s strategic acceptance of climate policy.”
Rifkin has taught at the Wharton School‘s Executive Education Program at the University of Pennsylvania since 1995, where he instructs CEOs and senior management on transitioning their business operations into sustainable economies. Rifkin is ranked #123 in the WorldPost / HuffingtonPost 2015 global survey of “The World’s Most Influential Voices.” He is also listed among the top 10 most influential economic thinkers in the survey. Rifkin has lectured before many Fortune 500 companies, and hundreds of governments, civil society organizations, and universities over the past thirty five years.
Rifkin is also the President of the TIR Consulting Group, LLC, in connection with a wide range of industries including renewable energy, power transmission, architecture, construction, IT, electronics, transport, and logistics. TIR’s global economic development team is working with cities, regions, and national governments to develop the Internet of Things (IoT) infrastructure for a Collaborative Commons and a Third Industrial Revolution. TIR is currently working with the regions of Hauts-de-France in France, the Metropolitan Region of Rotterdam and The Hague,and the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg in the conceptualization, build-out, and scale-up of a smart Third Industrial Revolution infrastructure to transform their economies.