US Senator Schumer prizes Rifkin plan for a new America

The U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer requested to Jeremy Rifkin and the Third Industrial Revolution Consulting team a plan for the ecological and digital transition of the US. The plan America 3.0 Resilient Society: A Smart Third Industrial Revolution Infrastructure and the Recovery of the American Economy, was delivered after an intense period of work of the team and includes a roadmap with specific actions parts of which were were integrated into the centerpiece of the massive Build Back Better $500 billion infrastructure legislation passed into law by the U.S. Congress and President Biden in 2021.
Senator Schumer commented “Rifkin’s blueprint underscores the need to pass big, bold solutions to address climate change through investments in our infrastructure”.

Senator Charles Schumer

The plan explains that in the new America 3.0 economic system (now emerging), ownership gives way to access, and sellers and buyers in markets are replaced, in part, by providers and users in networks. In provider/user networks, industries.

The Third Industrial Revolution is being accompanied by a shift from globalization to “glocalization” as individuals, businesses, and communities connect with each other around the world in digitally integrated platforms and at very low fixed cost and near-zero marginal cost, allowing them to
oftentimes bypass nation-state oversight and global companies that mediated commerce and trade in the twentieth century. Glocalization makes possible an historic shift from offshoring to onshoring and
the uptake of regional manufacturing clusters to buttress an increasingly resilient economy and society and an immeasurable expansion of social entrepreneurship with the proliferation of smart high-tech small and medium-sized enterprises and cooperatives operating laterally in glocal networks and sectors are replaced by “specialized competencies” that come together on platforms to manage the uninterrupted flow of goods and services in smart networks, returning sufficient profit, even at low margins, by the 24/7 continuous traffic across the system. The Third Industrial Revolution is being accompanied by a shift from globalization to “glocalization” as individuals, businesses, and communities connect with each other around the world in digitallyintegrated platforms and at very low fixed cost and near-zero marginal cost, allowing them to
oftentimes bypass nation-state oversight and global companies that mediated commerce and trade in the twentieth century. Glocalization makes possible an historic shift from offshoring to onshoring and
the uptake of regional manufacturing clusters to buttress an increasingly resilient economy and society and an immeasurable expansion of social entrepreneurship with the proliferation of smart high-tech small and medium-sized enterprises and cooperatives operating laterally in glocal networks.

Many key sectors of the economy are already partially transitioning into provider-user networks and platform services. For example, the transformation of the electricity sector from fossil fuels and nuclear
power to solar, wind, and other green energies has forced a concomitant shift in the electricity sector business model from a centralized to a distributed format. The new solar and wind generated electricity
is increasingly being harvested by millions of small players, with surplus green electricity sent back to the grid to be shared with others across regions and continents. Given this new reality, power and
electricity companies will be harvesting less electricity. In the new energy practice, the electricity companies will mine Big Data on electricity consumption across each client’s value chains and use analytics to create algorithms and applications to help their clients increase their aggregate energy efficiency, reduce their electricity use, carbon footprint, and marginal cost along their supply chains and production and distribution processes in an ever-tighter circular business operation. Their thousands of
clients – businesses, homeowners, etc. – in return, will share a portion of the financial savings accrued from their aggregate efficiency gains back with the electricity companies via performance contracts.

The sharing of a range of virtual and physical goods is the cornerstone of a circular economy, allowing us to use far less of the resources of the Earth and pass on what we no longer use to others and, by doing so, dramatically reducing carbon emissions. The Sharing Economy is a core feature of The
Resilient Society.
The Sharing Economy is now in its infancy and is going to evolve in many directions. But this much is assured: The Sharing Economy is a new economic phenomenon made possible by the digital infrastructure of communication, energy, and mobility that is changing economic life. To this extent, the Sharing Economy is the first new economic system to enter onto the world stage since capitalism in the eighteenth century and socialism in the nineteenth century.
Already, a younger generation of digital natives—under the age of forty—are ensconced in this new hybrid economic system. Part of the day, they are sharing all sorts of goods and services for nearly free in open-source commons, much of which is not measured in the GDP or standard economic accounting.
The rest of the day, they are increasingly intertwined in capitalist provider/user networks, paying for access to goods and services. This hybrid economic system is the playing field on which The Resilient
Society will emerge in the years ahead.

The build-out of The Resilient Society smart infrastructure will involve every competency: the ICT sector, including telecommunication, cable companies, internet companies, and the electronics industry; power and electric utilities; transportation and logistics; the construction and real estate industries; the manufacturing sector; retail trade; the food, agriculture, and life sciences sectors; and the travel and tourism industry. The laying out of the new smart sustainable infrastructure, in turn,
makes possible the new kinds of mass employment that characterize the turnover to a green economy.
The transition from a Second Industrial Revolution to a Third Industrial Revolution will be formidable. To make this happen, we will need to train millions of people and put them to work, or back to work. We will have to decommission and disassemble the entire stranded fossil fuel and nuclear energy infrastructure—the pipelines, power plants, storage facilities, etc. Robots and AI won’t do that. It will necessitate a far more agile semiskilled, skilled, and professional workforce. The communication network will have to be upgraded, with the inclusion of universal broadband. Human beings will have to lay the cable and make the connections. The energy infrastructure will need to be transformed to accommodate solar, wind, and other renewable energies. Robots and AI will not install solar panels and
assemble wind turbines. The dumb centralized electricity grid will have to be reconfigured into a smart and distributed digital Electricity Internet to accommodate the flow of renewable electricity produced by countless green micro power plants

The Third Industrial Revolution is being accompanied by a shift from globalization to “glocalization” as individuals, businesses, and communities connect with each other around the world in digitally integrated platforms and at very low fixed cost and near-zero marginal cost, allowing them to
oftentimes bypass nation-state oversight and global companies that mediated commerce and trade in
the twentieth century. Glocalization makes possible an historic shift from offshoring to onshoring and the uptake of regional manufacturing clusters to buttress an increasingly resilient economy and society and an immeasurable expansion of social entrepreneurship with the proliferation of smart high-tech small and medium-sized enterprises and cooperatives operating laterally in glocal networks.

During the First and Second Industrial Revolutions, the ruling paradigm favored short-term efficiency gains and quick profits over long-term resilience and steady and reliable returns on investments. The
result is that we now live in a highly fragile and vulnerable society prone to massive disruptions that often come without warning in the form of increasingly severe climate disasters, pandemics, and
cyberterrorist incursions, crippling whole parts of society, destroying the natural environment, damaging the economy, and undermining the health and well-being of millions of American citizens.
Then too, our continental electricity grid, made up of a patchwork of local electric utilities and a largely archaic servo-mechanical electricity grid, is becoming the target of malware attacks and cyberterrorist
probes whose mission is to shut down parts of the national grid, throwing regions and communities across the country into pandemonium.
A future punctuated by increasing climate disasters, cybercrime, and cyberterrorism can quickly cripple and even take down large parts of the global electricity network, disrupting supply chains and putting
communities and even the entire society in jeopardy.

That said, it is essential that resilience be built into the American logistics and supply chains by relying on more onshoring and regional manufacturing centers. In addition, it will be especially important as we
move to autonomous electric passenger vehicles and fuel cell freight trucking on smart road systems, that backup power be available across the entire road system of the United States to ensure supply chains and logistics. This will require that fueling stations at travel centers along interstate highways are equipped with dedicated on-site or nearby solar and wind installations to generate electricity for electric charging stations and hydrogen fuel cell pumps that can keep electric vehicles and long-haul
hydrogen powered freight trucks on the road. In addition, warehouses and distribution centers will need similar solar and wind power generated on-site or nearby to provide electricity for lighting, heating, air conditioning, and mechanical and robotic services to ensure that basic necessities can be
properly logged in, stored, and sent on their way. Similarly, all industries using data centers will need to be made more resilient by situating solar and wind generating installations on-site or nearby to manage the flow of data were the conventional power grid to experience a short-term or long-term blackout.

It will also be important to add a second layer of storage resilience with the large-scale introduction and deployment of green hydrogen storage. A percentage of solar and wind generated electricity will need
to be utilized to electrolyze water and create green hydrogen that can be used to
1) store green electricity;
2) repurpose gas pipelines away from natural gas and to green hydrogen for heating across the buildings infrastructure;
3) provide fuel for road, rail, inland water, marine, and air transport
4) supply hydrogen feedstock for industrial processes, and
5) generate requisite heat for use in hard-toabate industries like steel and cement. The Hydrogen Economy provides a versatile storage medium to
ensure a highly resilient post-carbon economy.

The COVID-19 pandemic has also awakened the American public to how dependent we’ve become on foods grown in other countries and shipped on supply lines to America. These global food supply chains can be stymied overnight in the midst of pandemics and climate disasters exposing America’s collective vulnerability to global food chains. A growing segment of the American farm community and consumers are waking up to this new reality and beginning to focus attention on providing locally-sourced food to nearby communities to ensure more resilient supply lines.

A more resilient approach to agriculture is being accompanied by the shift from mechanical to digital operations on farms, changing the way that food is grown, harvested, stored, and shipped. Farmers are beginning to utilize the emerging IoT by placing sensors across their agricultural fields to monitor weather conditions, changes in soil moisture, the spread of pollen, and other factors that affect yields.
Automated response mechanisms are also being installed to ensure proper growing conditions.

The IoT nervous system of the America 3.0 infrastructure is also becoming an indispensable technology for monitoring climate change impacts. For example, sensors are being embedded across the Earth’s biosphere, monitoring flood and drought conditions and wind currents to both measure the impact of climate change and to alert authorities on potentially dangerous hot spots that can flare up and unleash raging floods or wildfires, giving first responders advance notice to intervene with appropriate mitigation.

Other IoT sensors are being placed along ecosystem corridors, tracking wildlife and providing critical data on endangered species, including the thinning of herds and flocks. The data is mined with analytics to assess avenues of intervention for protecting wildlife and maintaining biodiversity in various bioregions around the world.
IoT has also become essential in monitoring air pollution to provide up-to-the-moment readings on the air quality of the atmosphere, which is particularly important for at risk populations suffering from asthma and other pollution-related illnesses.
Sensors are even being inserted just below the Earth’s crust to monitor the conditions of the soil – the lithosphere – around the world to inform scientists of the “nutrient health” in what is called the “Critical
Zone”, which all of life on Earth depends on for survival.
In a sense, the IoT is analogous to a planetary nervous system that is monitoring the health of the critical organs of the Earth – the hydrosphere, the biosphere, the atmosphere, and the lithosphere – and what we are discovering, in real time, is that changes to any one of the Earth’s spheres spills over and affects every other sphere and, not surprising, every species, including our own. This profound realization is likely to fundamentally change humanity’s worldview, teaching us that every phenomena
on Earth, be it biological, chemical or physical, is intimately connected to every other, and whatever happens anywhere along the earth’s complex gradients and nervous system intimately affects everything else, including the wellbeing of our own species.

We traditionally think of infrastructure as overarching centralized platforms, financed at considerable expense by governments, and laid down for use by the public at large—road systems, electricity and
telephone lines, power plants, water and sewage systems, airports, port facilities, etc. Notwithstanding the fact that the Third Industrial Revolution infrastructure requires a smart national power grid—a digitally managed Continental Electricity Internet—that can mediate and manage the flow of green electricity coming and going between millions of players in their homes, automobiles, offices, factories, and communities, as mentioned earlier, many of the actual infrastructure components that feed into
and off that grid are highly distributed in nature and are paid for and belong to literally millions of individuals and families, hundreds of thousands of small businesses, and municipal, county, and state
Every solar roof, wind turbine, nodal Internet of Things building, edge data center, storage battery, charging station, electric vehicle, etc., is likewise an infrastructure component. Unlike the bulky, topdown, and static one-way infrastructures of the First and Second Industrial Revolutions, the distributed and laterally scaled infrastructure of the Third Industrial Revolution is, by its very nature, fluid and open, allowing literally millions of players to share data, energy, electric mobility, surveillance, news,
knowledge, and entertainment, in an emerging “sharing economy” et al., using their own component parts of the infrastructure where they live and work and during their commute, in continuously evolving digital platforms.
While the US investment to transition into a resilient economic infrastructure will need to be significant to reach a goal of being a zero-emission superpower by 2040, the investment in “social infrastructure”
will also need to be sizeable to assist the most disadvantaged communities in securing their homes, sources of employment, and general well-being in an ever-deteriorating climate that is wreaking havoc
and destroying lives and property.
The poorest communities are the most vulnerable to the impacts brought on by climate change and related pandemics. Helping at-risk communities transition into the new America 3.0 infrastructure and take advantage of the new business and employment opportunities that accompany it should be the highest priority in the transition to a zero-emission green economy.
Considerable attention has been focused on putting disadvantaged communities at the front of the line in securing the benefits of a green economic infrastructure transition. Yet, social infrastructure is
equally critical in ensuring that marginalized populations are not left behind. What has often gone unnoticed is there is an inseparable relationship between the economic infrastructure and the social
infrastructure, with each feeding off the other. Social infrastructure includes broad investments in education, public health, affordable social housing, environmental protection, and other community services, all essential to assuring upward mobility.
The smart infrastructure transition, if prioritized to benefit disadvantaged communities, will provide numerous benefits to poor families and neighborhoods. However, without a comparable improvement
in public education, public healthcare, public housing, and other social services, the very poor will be unable to break out of the cycle of poverty. And because climate change disproportionately affects the poor, their lot is likely to continue to deteriorate in an era beset by climate change disruptions.
Current investment in social infrastructure in the US is far below what is needed to raise the prospects of the poor and disadvantaged communities whose lives are becoming ever-more precarious in a climate change world. For example, in 2018, the United States only spent 18.7% of its GDP on social
infrastructure, below the OECD average of 20.1% and far behind countries such as France (30.1%), Germany (25.1%), and Japan (21.9%).33 Failure to fill the “investment gap” in social infrastructure will mean that the most disadvantaged will not have available to them the educational opportunities and the accompanying business prospects and employment options that accompany a resilient infrastructure transition. Nor will they be provided with climate-resilient affordable low- and moderate income housing or the social services that will be necessary as climate change ravages their neighborhoods and communities.

Failure to meet the funding gap in social infrastructure across America will dramatically increase inequality and social and political disenfranchisement, with less access to quality public education,
fewer employment opportunities, less upward mobility, inadequate housing, and insufficient public health services, leaving the most disadvantaged communities without sufficient social assets to adapt to
climate change.
There are countless other examples across the economy and in every aspect of daily life in which resilience can be built into the very fabric of our existence. But to get there will require a new social contract on the scale of The Progressive Era that accompanied America 1.0 and The New Deal that
accompanied America 2.0. America’s 3.0 social contract – The Resilient Society – will need to be comparable in scope. The great mission at hand is to bring together every level of government with the business community and civil society to establish blueprints, customized to the needs and aspirations of each locality and state, toward the buildout of a Resilient 3.0 infrastructure, while connecting regions in a distributed continental matrix that can operate glocally, regardless of disruptions, to sustain daily life.
This is the heart of the Resilient Society and the new social contract for America in the 21st century.

Infrastructure improvements generally add $3 to the US GDP for every dollar invested and create thousands of new businesses and millions of new jobs.37 In all of the debate currently swirling in Washington political circles about the role of the federal government in building out and managing a smart new national infrastructure, the reality is that the federal government plays a relatively small role in maintaining the nation’s infrastructure. It’s worth noting that state and local governments—and not
the federal government—own 93 percent of the country’s infrastructure and pay 75 percent of the cost of maintaining and improving it.38 Therefore, while the Federal government will likely have to do much
of the heavy lifting in financing the high voltage direct current Continental Electricity Internet, as it did with the US Interstate highway system, the burden of financing a significant portion of the rest of the America 3.0 transition is going to fall primarily on states, counties, and municipalities.
In regard to the rest of the smart America 3.0 infrastructure, a portion of it is going to come online because of the reprioritizing of federal, state, county, and municipal government budgets, as well as the inclusion of generous tax credits and other incentives, combined with the exponentially falling cost curve of the infrastructure components and processes.
Much of the remaining investments will come from the financial sector and especially institutional funds and, particularly, public and private pension funds – the largest pool of capital in the world in 2018, worth over $40 trillion.39 US public pension funds are beginning to divest their funds from the fossil fuel sector and related industries that service and/or depend on it, like the petrochemical industry, and would like to reinvest in the green opportunities that constitute the smart Third Industrial Revolution economy. Their concern over climate change and the prospect of their funds remaining in a fossil fuel-based economy should be a wakeup call for all of us.
The global insurance industry is likely to be the other significant provider of investment funds for the America 3.0 transformation. The insurance sector has assets of $25 trillion under management, “which is more than fifteen times bigger than the projected private sector gap that needs to be closed to achieve all seventeen United Nations Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.”40 Like global pension funds, the insurance industry has much to lose, with climate-related floods, droughts, wildfires, and
hurricanes and typhoons devastating ecosystems, killing human beings, and destroying property around the world. Eighteen insurers, mostly in Europe, with assets of at least $10 billion each, have already
begun to divest from the fossil fuel industry. Several of the biggest insurers— AXA, Munich Re, Swiss Re, Allianz, and Zurich—have either limited or eliminated insuring coal projects. AXA and Swiss RE have also
limited underwriting tar sands projects.

To facilitate the reinvestment of pension funds, insurance funds, and other institutional funds in a massive build-out of a digital resilient society infrastructure, the federal government will need to establish a national green bank that can provide funds to state, municipal, and county green banks.
These regional Green Banks, in turn, can leverage those funds and other funds in securing sufficient financing via the issuing of green bonds that can be purchased by pension funds and other institutional
funds, the insurance industry, sovereign funds, et. al. to invest in scaled green Third Industrial Revolution infrastructure build-outs. Already, Green Banks have been established by California, New York, Connecticut, Hawaii, Rhode Island, and Montgomery County, Maryland.43 The federal government will also need to provide a wide range of generous incentives (“carrots”) and mandates (“sticks”) to help states, municipalities and counties expedite the financing of the infrastructure transformation.
Pension funds and other institutional investors, and insurance companies, banks, sovereign funds, credit unions, and endowments are quickly divesting from the stranded assets piling up across the fossil
fuel complex and closely coupled industries (more than $11 trillion have either exited or are in the process of exiting the fossil fuel industry in just the past few years). They would like to reinvest in the green infrastructure opportunities that constitute a smart Third Industrial Revolution build out. Still, fund managers and the financial community complain that the real problem is a lack of camera-ready largescale America 3.0 infrastructure projects in which these freed up funds might invest.
Unfortunately, cities, counties, and states are tinkering with thousands of small, unconnected pilot projects with little incentive to scale a massive infrastructure transformation. Missing is the Third Industrial Revolution narrative which describes the nervous system that would connect all of these isolated projects.

The Resilient Society in every state goes hand-in-hand with distributed peer governance. While each state will be charged with the task of building out and scaling up a Third Industrial Revolution to usher in a resilient society, the goals and deliverables in each jurisdiction will need to be customized to the specific priorities of that region. But to be effective, all of the states will need to connect across their borders and collaborate on a smart Continental Electricity Internet to create lateral economies of scale and network effects.
With this consideration in mind, states, counties, and municipalities should establish resilient “peer assemblies”, overseen by elected officials of the states, counties, and cities, and comprised of representatives from local chambers of commerce, labor unions, economic development agencies,
public and private universities, and civic organizations. These peer assemblies will be tasked with establishing resilience roadmaps to transition their economies and communities into the green era. It’s
not necessary for every state to sign on initially, but at least to have a number of first movers step forward in order to create a threshold effect. Other states will likely come on board quickly as public pressure builds for The Resilient Society in their communities.
The distributed nature of the Third Industrial Revolution infrastructure makes its speedy adoption and scaling more likely if it is conceptualized by the states, counties, and municipalities where it will be deployed. Prioritizing regional control over the governance of America’s 3.0 infrastructure transformation aligns with the very core principle of America’s federated constitutional governance.
The states will have to work with each other, and with the federal government, to determine the codes, regulations, and standards of operations that will need to be put in place to ensure that the distributed
green infrastructure can be quickly installed and connected across governing jurisdictions. At the same time, the states, counties, and municipalities, for their part, will need to establish local peer assemblies
and develop their own customized Third Industrial Revolution roadmaps and deployment plans.
The European Union’s experience with establishing peer assemblies in the three test regions of Hautsde-France, the 23 municipalities of Rotterdam to The Hague, and the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg suggests that the optimum peer assembly should not exceed three hundred citizens within any given
region participating and providing input and feedback at every stage of engagement. Peer assemblies are not focus groups or stakeholder groups but, rather, a cross-section of the public that will be intimately involved in the ongoing deliberations, and the preparation of the proposals and initiatives that will be incorporated into their jurisdiction’s resilience roadmap.
Elected officials at the municipal, county, and state level become the facilitators and are responsible for selecting the cross-section of peer participants in their respective jurisdictions and overseeing the operations of the peer assemblies as well as passing appropriate legislation that comes forth in the recommendations that emanate from the peer assemblage process.
Each regional peer assembly will want to reach out and secure technical support. The states’ universities might be tasked with bringing together professional and technical talent from both their own institutions as well as from trade and technical institutes, think tanks, research institutes, civil society organizations, and local charitable foundations to provide valuable expertise from across the academic and professional disciplines.