Jeremy Rifkin: opening of electronica The energy bubble – and what we can do

Blockchain plays a decisive role

There is a technology that suits achieving the exchange of services across all service providers and users: the blockchain. It enables very small transactions to be carried out and distributed at very low costs (it’s the volume of the traffic that allows you to share it). Everyone in the chain knows precisely, safely and securely who gets what – without a mediating, neutral institution: intermediaries are not required! That alone is a revolution in itself. Jeremy Rifkin even goes so far as to maintain that the resulting sharing economy is the first new economic system since capitalism and socialism.

However, the energy industries are now sitting on a vast wealth in the form of mineral resources (oil, coal and uranium) and production facilities, which they would have expanded even further despite the development to renewable energies such as solar and wind. However, it is now clear that the costs for renewable energies have already fallen to such an extent that the old raw materials will remain in the ground and the production facilities will lie idle – without ever being able to recoup their costs again, let alone being able to earn money. So much for the bubble.

What conclusions does he draw from his analysis? What possibilities does he see for the big old energy companies to benefit from the third industrial revolution? How can everyone benefit from it? The fact that the entire old economy is stuck in a dead end should have been apparent to experts for a long time. Productivity has been declining now for 15 or 20 years and unemployment is structural.

Revival attempts through subsidies and tariffs (see USA) are doomed to failure and result from a profound ignorance of the underlying factors. Everything that depends on the old industry can no longer grow. Jeremy Rifkin, in his own words, already said this in a meeting with the German Chancellor Angela Merkel twelve years ago and discussed it with some CEOs of the major German energy companies. It will be interesting to hear his assessment of the current situation in his speech at the opening of this year’s electronica.

And we can certainly look forward to some entertaining anecdotes that he has to report from his discussions with politicians and business leaders.