Jeremy Rifkin (born 1945, Denver, Colorado), the founder and president of the Foundation on Economic Trends (FOET), is an American economist, writer, and public speaker. He is an activist who seeks to shape public policy in the United States and globally.

He has testified before numerous congressional committees and has engaged in litigation extensively to ensure "responsible" government policies on a variety of environmental, scientific and technology related issues ('the third industrial revolution'). Since 1994, Rifkin has been a fellow at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton Executive Education Program, lecturing CEOs and senior corporate management from around the world on new trends in science and technology

Rifkin is currently advising the government of France during its presidency of the European Union (July 1st to December 31st, 2008). Rifkin also served as an adviser to Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, Prime Minister Jose Socrates of Portugal, and Prime Minister Janez Janša of Slovenia, during their respective European Council Presidencies, on issues related to the economy, climate change, and energy security. He currently advises the European Commission, the European Parliament, and several EU heads of state, including Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero of Spain and Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany.

Rifkin grew up on the southwest side of Chicago. He earned a BA in economics at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, graduating in 1967. He was a frat boy, "a party animal", and also class president.He went on to graduate study in international affairs at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He began his activist career at Wharton, agitating against the Vietnam war, and pursued anti-war activities at Fletcher. In order to avoid the draft, he joined VISTA and "saw action" as a tutor in ghetto neighborhoods of New York City.

In 1973 he published his first book, How To Commit Revolution American Style, with John Rossen. In 1977, with Ted Howard, he founded the Foundation on Economic Trends.This foundation continues to be his main calling card. He works out of an office on L Street in Washington, D.C., a neighborhood home to many lobbyists.

He is married to Carol Grunewald.

Published works

Rifkin has seventeen published books (for example 'The European Dream')—primarily focused on the impact of scientific and technological changes—in which he has predicted changes in: work, property, the American dream, the dangers of biotechnology, and a new hydrogen economy. Rifkin became also one of the first major critics of the nascent biotechnology industry with the 1977 publication of his book, Who Should Play God? His 1995 book, The End of Work, is credited by some with helping shape the current global debate on technology displacement, corporate downsizing and the future of jobs. His 1998 book, The Biotech Century, addresses the many critical issues accompanying the new era of genetic commerce. His 2004 book, The European Dream, was an international bestseller and winner of the 2005 Corine International Book Prize in Germany for the best economic book of the year.

Renewable hydrogen economy

After the publication of The Hydrogen Economy, Rifkin worked both in the U.S. and the EU to advance the political cause of renewably generated hydrogen. In the U.S., Rifkin was instrumental in founding the Green Hydrogen Coalition. The GHC consists of 13 environmental and political organizations (including Greenpeace and MoveOn.Org) that are committed to building a renewable hydrogen based economy.

Foundation on Economic Trends

The Foundation on Economic Trends (FOET), based in Washington D.C. is active in both national and international public policy issues related to the environment, the economy, and biotechnology. FOET examines new trends and their impacts on the environment, the economy, culture and society, and engages in litigation, public education, coalition building and grassroots organizing activities to advance their goals.

Reception of his work

Rifkin has sparked controversies about his positions. Time Magazine went so far as to call him "the most hated man in science". Groups like the Union of Concerned Scientists have cited some of his publications as useful references for consumers.