24 September 2005

Jeremy Rifkin & The European Dream in Amsterdam

Thursday evening, I attended a lecture given by Jeremy Rifkin at Christofori in Amsterdam - a treat from my colleague, Jonathan Marks. This evening is part of a lecture series put on by the John Adams Institute. Rifkin was there to talk about his new book, The European Dream. Tracy Metz - author of "PRET!" - was the moderator for the evening. She's an American who has lived in Europe now for over half her life...and she had read Rifkin's book. We were in good company that evening, a nice mix of Dutch and American intellectuals, including Gert Mak, a well-respected Dutch author, who got a chance to later to share his thoughts.

Rifkin told us that The European Dream: How Europe's Vision of the Future Is Quietly Eclipsing the American Dream was a work he hoped would inspire both European and American politicians. He's quite fascinated with the European Union in its unique role in the world at this point in time as an emerging governmental proposition. Rifkin calls the EU, "network Europe", and its efforts, "network politics".

Waht struck me most of about this lecture was his articulate style backed up with an informed intellect. He captured us as he bounced us through his admiration and knowledge about the issues facing the EU as its grows itself into something that's democratic and yet still has a social contract. According to Rifkin, The EU concept is anchored in a social economy with quality of life at its center...whereas the US has a market economy with the individual at its core.

Both unions have a lot they can learn from one another, particularly in this age.

I am halfway through the book. It's fascinating, enlightening and is so well written that you jump on board and float straight through his thinking. I recommend reading it.

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