I learned of futurist Jeremy Rifkin last year and I found his ideas both fascinating and uplifting. After being exposed to the Republican Party’s agenda for much of the first decade of the 21st century, its message of exclusivity, negativity, scape goating and war mongering, Jeremy Rifkin’s message of construcitve lateral power sharing is a breath of fresh air. As Americans, I think we are often insular, we don’t look outside of our nation for answers to our challenges, not in peaceful ways anyway. The Cheneys, the Lindsey Graham’s do like to look outside of our borders when it comes to taking other’s natural resources, but when it comes to peaceful, imaginative ideas, there is no one home on the Republican side. When I read about the youth branching outside their comfort zones to explore new ways, new strategies, I feel very hopeful for our planet and our humanity as a whole. Climate change is hitting our planet simultaneously, it is very heartwarming to see grassroots organizations rising up everywhere looking for both small and large scale solutions; to me that is evidence beyond the laboratory that climate change is real and we are watching people try to arrest the negative impact as much as possible. We need to examine ways to establish new paradigms in relation to growth, resources, money, jobs, hierarchy and wages. Capitalism has not been an effective tool when it comes to organizing resources in balance with our planet and humankind, capitalism is too much of a zero-sum game to be a long term solution. We need to do better. I believe that we have to remember that capitalism is a man-made economic structure, it was an outgrowth of the industrial revolution, primarily the second, before that we had organized ourselves by way of following those in power and protection, with quite a bit of religious justifcation in the process, once that system was overthrown that is when capitalism was introduced and the current story being told is that capitalism is the only possible way for us. However if we listen to Jeremy Rifkin and those like him, we will figure out new organizational ways that rely on sustainability and fairness, instead of exploitation and ruthlessness.
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