Monday, December 10, 2012

What Would the Community Think?

I've been thinking a lot about Jeremy Rifkin's The Third Industrial Revolution. But let's be honest; I didn't even finish the book before it was due back, already requested by another dutiful taxpayer who wasn't necessarily a crackpot philosopher.

(Thoughtful, considered, mustachioed. Do you trust him?)

(A dozen years ago, Rifkin's Beyond Beef was a catalyst in my becoming vegetarian for a good six years. Before being lured back by locally-sourced bacon.)

Since you don't have time to read all of your work e-mails, let me summarize. Rifkin theorizes we're at the beginning of another major shift in industry; just as the communication infrastructure shifted from a centralized behemoth to the nodal Internet model, so will the energy system. With this, markets and capitalism will be affected, as the hierarchical, top-heavy models of the past become outdated, inefficient, and, in the ones that survive, shift from being producers & traditional marketers to aggregators of small-to-medium size business.

In two words: buy local.

Rifkin's vision is one I supported before I even knew about it; the looming nature of Big Business has always felt repressive to me, something I remember as a child in the disturbingly large Mall of America. I'm not claiming to be some kind of Yuppie Saint–I still patronize Trader Joe's, Target, and Virgin Mobile. Right now, I'm milking electricity straight out of the coal-teat, while wearing some synthetic fibers and drinking a glorified microbrew.

In five more words: it's good to be King.

But the re-location of resources and attention to local economy is one that I can get behind. It's with this in mind that I think about becoming more active in a community I have largely been trying to escape for most of the past five years. Where I can become involved in something that not only fits my interests, allows me to utilize creative and physical energies, and helps to flip society's wig by reinforcing the importance and vitality of local living, while simultaneously working to lateralize society.

Time to swallow my pride, stop blogging, and use my hands. Time to quit thinking about elsewhere, or at least do something useful while whetting my wanderlust. Dig!

(Part of SmallBox's ThinkKit project.)

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