After reading the Intro and first chapter a few comments. On p. 6 he discusses how monopolies intentionally thwart competition and innovation so as to maintain their stranglehold. But he claims entrepreneurs find a way around it and end up forcing competition with their better tech and price reductions. Yet he discusses on pp. 7-9 Larry Summers 2001 paper, wherein Summers acknowledges the emerging information economy was indeed moving to near marginal cost. Summers though didn't propose something like Rifkin but instead recommended "short-term natural monopolies" (8).

Recall Summers was Obama's pick for Director of the National Economic Council. His policy suggestions were well in line with the earlier promotion of "natural monopolies," and his resume attests. And we're seeing exactly this economic philosophy at play with the FCC Chairman Wheeler's proposed pay-to-play rules, where the ISP monopolies will destroy internet neutrality. Recall that Wheeler was another Obama pick, and was a former, and will return to being, a cable and wireless lobbyist. While Obama claims to back income equality and net neutrality he appoints the likes of Summers and Wheeler who make no bones about their support of monopolies. And without net neutrality good bye to Rifkin's entire plan, which requires it to succeed.

If you haven't yet, please take action to preserve it. Here's one place and you can find several others if you but look.

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Btw, here's a link to the IPS FB discussion, for those so inclined to participate in that capitalistic appropriation of the Commons.

Hi Balder,

I think there are many disruptions coming, but I'm skeptical that they will play out in the singularity type way outlined by Wadha. 3D Printed meat! Yum! 

The fracking energy revolution is a bubble that I think is going to burst very quickly now - see my posts, such as this one:

Regarding the solar pv revolution, Tom Murphy explains why physics gets in the way of greater than 15% efficiency (which he says we should be happy with).

Others energy experts (Charles Hall, etc.) are even less enthusiastic about the future prospects of being able to seamlessly transition away from fossil fuels: "The authors’ comprehensive analysis of energy inputs, which assigns energy cost estimates to all financial expenditures, yields EROI [energy return on energy invested] values that are less than half of those claimed by other investigators and by the solar industry. Sensitivity analysis is used to test various assumptions in deriving these EROI estimates. The results imply that the EROI of current, large-scale PV systems may be too low to seamlessly support an energy and economic transition away from fossil fuels."

Finally, here's a comment from John Michael Greer's latest column:
"I wish I could say that the alternative energy side of the equation had responded to any of this [our current energy predicament] in a way that might point toward a better future, but no such luck. With embarrassingly few exceptions, the things that got funding, or even any significant amount of discussion, were the sorts of overpriced white-elephant systems that only make economic sense in the presence of lavish government subsidies, and are utterly dependent on a technostructure that’s only viable given exactly the sort of cheap abundant fossil fuels that those systems are theoretically going to replace. Grid-tied photovoltaic systems, gargantuan wind turbines, and vast centralized solar-thermal facilities soaked up the attention and the funding, while simple, affordable, thoroughly proven technologies such as solar water heating got another decade of malign neglect. As for using less—the necessary foundation for anything approaching a sustainable future—that remained utterly taboo in polite company."

Hey David, Bruce, i coincidentally was recently thinking of outsourcing and considering the winners and losers and various exploitations thereof. It dawned on me once again that the next outsourcing will be robotics and A.I. . Now we could probably safely assume at this time that these robots/A.I. cannot be exploited in the typical sense which leads me to believe that the losers here will be the middle classes: exploited negatively until they are wiped out. The economic groundwork for that trajectory is very much under way through neoliberal exploitations. I should note that later incarnations of robotics/A.I. may not take kindly to exploitation. 

 BTW., we walked the 40 min. each way to see the Hobbit yesterday. 

I am still lurking around the JMG blogs and very much enjoying the mage stuff. My recent post on pre/conventional/post conventional metaphysics would concede the possibility of some of the things he is teaching there. I do get that we need to discern carefully given the history of the absolute looniness and banality of much of pre conventional metaphysics; but I myself don't feel the need to stay completely contained within conventional metaphysical explanations. Obviously, this view is only valid if there merit to my interpretations.

I can't help thinking that a lot of the naysaying reminds me of RIFT from the movie Transcendence.

The RIFT were the anarchists who tried to sabotage the technology brought about through the transcendence?

Yes. Though the above examples are not that extreme it seems there is a certain retro-romanticism in just returning to a simpler life-style. And that tech at best is not the savior, at worst the devil. Rifkin makes clear that we need both given the severity of the environmental degradation. And like the movie, it might very well require a complete collapse of the energy grid and a period of regression for us to get the message. So in that sense RIFT might serve a long-term purpose for the coming nano-human revolution.

I understand what your saying theurj, but that is not how I relate to these issues. I see a colonization happening on a global scale that you just linked to in the real and false reason thread. No one is really being offered an alternative way of living other than the way of life imposed upon us all by the imperial corporatocracy. Most alternative ways of living/resisting that beast have been systematically shut down. For the record: I am no enemy of technology; but the energy required to fuel tech has  to be sourced to scale in a sustainable way.

While Rifkin provides ample examples of the corporate appropriation of the emerging Commons, the Commons per se is not being "systematically shut down." Yes, some are trying their damnedest to do so but it is already here, it is growing stronger, and it can be the predominant paradigm in the next hundred years. Which is no optimistic or idealist pipe dream; Rifkin's astute and accurate research provides plenty of evidence.

True the battles will indeed only intensify and get worse before they get better, to wit the biggest of them all right now in net neutrality. It is the linchpin of the Commons IoT, hence if you and me don't fight for this now, realize its importance, we may very well all lose with corporate-caused, catastrophic climate change.

And btw, true that some models of hierarchical complexity maintain the formop metaphysics unconscious of its capitalistic hegemony. But I've provided numerous examples of other forms of complexity in that thread and elsewhere that do not go along with that sort of metaphysics. And so it is with the popo or para-tech ecological consciousness emerging in the neo-Commons (neo-Com).

Dear friends,

As 2014 comes to an end we are very glad that the world is making good progress towards adopting a bold sustainable development agenda in 2015. Next year will bring three pivotal conferences on Financing for Development (Addis, July 13-16), Sustainable Development Goals (New York, Sept 25-27), and climate change (Paris, Nov 30-Dec 11). Through our work on indicators and monitoringFinancing for Development, and Deep Decarbonization Pathways, the SDSN supports an ambitious and actionable sustainable development agenda. Our National and Regional SDSNs will support the implementation of the SDGs, and through our education initiative SDSNedu we help train future leaders on sustainable development.
We are grateful for the encouragement, support, and advice we have received from so many of you over the last twelve months. Please don’t hesitate to write to us at if you have questions or suggestions for our work. We also invite you to join the SDSN. More information is available here

From all of us at the SDSN secretariat, we wish you a peaceful and happy 2015.


Guido Schmidt-Traub
Executive Director

The Commons Transition Platform is a database of practical experiences and policy proposals aimed toward achieving a more humane and environmentally grounded mode of societal organization. The Commons, together with Peer to Peer dynamics, represent a third mode of societal organization that evolves away from the competitive Market State and obsolete, centrally-planned systems. It is a system based on the practices and needs of civil society and the environment it inhabits at the local, regional, national and global levels. Premiering January 7th at:

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