Jeremy Rifkin, founder and President of the Foundation on Economic Trends, teases out the ways and means of creating a more empathetic, global society.
Jeremy Rifkin is president of the Foundation on Economic Trends and the author of seventeen bestselling books on the impact of scientific and technological changes on the economy, the workforce, society, and the environment. He holds a degree in economics from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, and a degree in international affairs from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University.
Rifkin speaks frequently before government, business, and labor and civic forums, and has lectured at hundreds of the world's leading corporations and over 200 universities in some 30 countries over the past three decades. His most recent books include The Hydrogen Economy, The European Dream, The End of Work, The Age of Access, and The Biotech Century.
Process by which the experience of everyday life, marked by the diffusion of commodities and ideas, is becoming standardized around the world. Factors that have contributed to globalization include increasingly sophisticated communications and transportation technologies and services, mass migration and the movement of peoples, a level of economic activity that has outgrown national markets through industrial combinations and commercial groupings that cross national frontiers, and international agreements that reduce the cost of doing business in foreign countries. Globalization offers huge potential profits to companies and nations but has been complicated by widely differing expectations, standards of living, cultures and values, and legal systems as well as unexpected global cause-and-effect linkages. See alsofree trade.
I found this truly amazing. Pragmatic, respectful, insightful, balanced, honest yet hopeful. This is what is what our political leaders are not. Jeremy is what they should be. I thank him for this and will share this with hopefully open minds.
Empathy is one word that can be used to express the reality of our connections, or our connectedness - to other creatures and the natural world outside us, within our own bodies, selves, and to our social constructions. These 'places' in which we find ourselves related as one individual amoung many, are the environments in which we live and move and have our being. Empathy is one sensation or feeling we can have with respect to being connected or surrounded by an environment. I suggest that it's not the only one, although perhaps it's one of the more objectively positive. Claustrophobic, overwhelmed, passive, manipulated, lost, are some of the negative ones. Some of the other positive ones are love, awe, wonder, meaningful, being in good health and feeling healthy. For me, Empathy has too many morally loaded meanings which restrict the full spectrum of what 'being connected' can mean. Not all are morally positive, not all are good for the individual's health. The other problem in using 'empathy' as the foundation for a new paradigm for our world, is that it doesn't refer back to the value which actually DOES balance the fact of being an individual - 'environment'. An environment of any kind -social, biological, cultural, architectural, emotional- surrounds and permeates without destroying the fact or wholeness of individuality. It is a complexity created by and through relationships, it establishes categorical bounderies and not physical ones. Both these values were begun at the first instant of the new universe. The early philosophers examined both, often calling environment place as the personal connections hadn't yet been made. The three Abrahamic religions did away with 'place' when they elevated the Individuality of the divine. Eastern religions elevated the idea of environmental reality and relationship at the expense of individuality. I would prefer if Rifkin would use less sentimentality by examining the feeling of Empathy to discover the unique reality or relationship web or environmental wholeness which produces that sensation. I think the result would be a more well-rounded and realistic conversation which opened up even more avenues of learning.