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Catalonia has the potential to lead the Third Industrial Revolution, says American economist Rifkin

Catalonia has the “cultural capital” and the “knowledge” to promote a new model of production, more sustainable than the “obsolete” one. This is the main conclusion of a lecture given at the conference “A new Economic Paradigm for a Sustainable Catalonia’ by economist Jeremy Rifkin organized on Wednesday in Sant Cugat, a city near Barcelona, by the Public Diplomacy Council of Catalonia (Diplocat). According to the sociologist and political advisor, Catalonia has the potential to “lead the way of Regional Europe” to the ‘Third Industrial Revolution’. Rifkin predicts an economic paradigm shift as a result of two merging factors: Internet technology and renewable energies, which will create a powerful Third Industrial Revolution where people will produce their own green energy and will share it on a sort of “Energy Internet”, in the same way we share information today.

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22 September 2016 07:30 PM

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ACN

Barcelona (CNA).-The sociologist, economist and political advisor Jeremy Rifkin said on Wednesday that Catalonia can “lead the way of Regional Europe” to the so called ‘Third Industrial Revolution’. This theory and book by the economist claims that the fusion of the ‘Technology Internet’ and renewable energies will result in a new and powerful Third Industrial Revolution. In the future, millions of people will produce their own green energy and be able to share it through a sort of ‘Energy Internet’, Rifkin believes. During his lecture at the conference titled ‘A new Economic Paradigm for a Sustainable Catalonia’, organised by The Public Diplomacy Council of Catalonia (Diplocat)in Sant Cugat, a city near Barcelona, the economist maintained that the self-production of energy and a collaborative and sustainable economy constitute the only mechanism to fight climate change and face the end of fossil fuel era. 


In this new post-carbon era, manufacturing and marketing costs will drop dramatically thanks to the Internet and energy efficiency will increase. According to Rifkin’s view, this will favour the flourishing of small and medium-sized enterprises. Global companies, for their part, will turn into “aggregators” and their task will be to coordinate and manage the multiple small networks that move commerce.

In this regard, Rifkin said that Catalonia may be one of the regions that drives this change as it has “the cultural capital”, “very good” plans and the knowledge to do so. The economist also encouraged Catalonia’s politicians to go beyond pilot tests and promote changes involving society as a whole. The government has to act as “facilitator", he claimed, while insisting that this change should be driven by working hand in hand with other regions, putting sectoral interests aside and working collaboratively. "Teach the world what a region can do", he stated and encouraged Catalonia to move forward, regardless of the results of the coming Spanish elections: “You should not sit and wait to see who wins the elections. Regions can do great things” and “Catalonia is one of the leading regions in the world”, the economist stated.

The theory of the Third Industrial Revolution has been formally endorsed by the European Parliament and the United Nations, and by international leaders such as the Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel, the President of France François Hollande, and the former Prime Minister of China Li Keqiang.

Catalan President embraces Rifkin’s theory

At the end of the conference, the Catalan President, Carles Puigdemont, reiterated the role that Catalonia wants to play in the revolution towards a more sustainable world and said that it likes to have its "own voice". Puigdemont pointed out that Catalonia is experiencing a double transition, a national one and another towards a more sustainable country, and stated that the latter is "inseparable" from the first. The politician said that Catalonia wants to be a sustainable independent economy, although there are some tools missing. "We want the world to know that when we talk about a state, we talk about a sustainable state, when we talk about a free country, we want it clean", he claimed.

The politician added that the Catalan Government is already working towards a sustainable economy with measures to lessen the effects of climate change and progress toward an energy model based on renewable and local sources in order to “diminish the dependency on external sources”. These changes are “important and urgent”, Puigdemont stated, and added that Catalonia wants to do its bit to achieve a “better planet”.

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  • The sociologist, economist and political advisor Jeremy Rifkin with Catalan President Carles Puigdemont (by ACN)

  • The sociologist, economist and political advisor Jeremy Rifkin with Catalan President Carles Puigdemont (by ACN)