moving from mass to elite labor forces. It can't provide for all your young people. Government at every level is paring down. Government is not going to be the employer of last resort, either.

So what do we do with all the young people coming out of all the schools in America? We break the political paradigm -- just break it and think of America not as two sectors, market and government, but as three sectors. Once we understand that virtually every country in the world, with the exception of communist countries, has three sectors, it opens up a fresh new debate on the social contract, rethinking work and creating a vision or a mission for this new technology revolution.

We can think of society as a three-legged stool. The first leg is the market sector. It creates market jobs and market capital. The second leg is the government. It creates public jobs and public capital. The third leg is the civil society, the third sector. It creates social capital in both paid and volunteer work. Every organization, affiliation and institution in this great country that is not a corporation in the marketplace and is not a government institution falls into the third sector. You have thousands and thousands of such institutions -- fraternal organizations, service groups, advocacy organizations, art, culture, sports organizations, church and secular organizations, neighbor and community organizations.

GT: So you see that it is this type of organization that can take up the slack and provide new employment?

Rifkin: Don't just think of it as an employment pool. We call this the third sector, but it is kind of misnamed. It is the primary sector. We have forgotten our history. When we moved West on our frontier, we first established community. We first established social capital. We first established social exchange. This has been the history of every community in history. You first establish community, social capital, and then social exchange. And only when that is in place can you have market relation and government. This is the primary sector throughout all of history. The government and market sector are derivative of the civil society. It has been the primary sector throughout all of history. We understood this when the Soviet Union collapsed. It is quite interesting. I don't know how many businesses rushed into Eastern Europe and Russia, but many businesses did. Almost every one of them failed. And now in hindsight we found out the reason they failed is that the Communists had systematically eliminated the civil sector. So after the collapse, there wasn't enough social capital in place, enough social trust developed, enough of that rich infrastructure of social capital there so you could have a stable market or a representative government. Here's the rule of thumb: The weaker the civil society, the more unstable the market and the more undemocratic the government. The stronger the civil society, the stronger the market and the more democratic the government.

We are going to be able to free up millions of young people all over the world from the marketplace. What's their option? There are only two options left: the outlaw society and the civil society. There is a lot of work available in the outlaw society. The antidote to that is to begin to come together again and reconfigure the civil society for the 21st century. You are going to pay taxes one way or another. You are either going to pay taxes for prisons and a fortress society or you are going to pay taxes for the renewal of social capital and community. You will not escape. There is no gated community that is secure enough. In our country it costs $30,000 a year to keep one person in prison. That's the minimum. And when you are in prison, you have no purchasing power

Blake Harris  |  Editor