What will these new industrial jobs look like?
The kind of economic changes we are talking about tend to push more information and decision authority out to the frontline work force, increasing the value that each frontline employee can deliver.
What we have seen every time, though, is that this shift in the means of production works out. If we don't have to worry about, say, high oil prices because we're using our resources more efficiently, companies can and do spend more on highly productive labor. It's going, however, to take some training for workers to take on these new roles.
Big corporations aren't known for embracing radical change. What's it going to take to make them lead a resource revolution? A crisis?
We had a wake-up call in 2007 and 2008 when energy prices spiked. More recently food prices and metals prices are running up. Corporations now see more risk in terms of how resources play a role in their business. Look at China. They're working like crazy to reduce their vulnerability to environmental exposure and resource price-spikes, while meeting their economic growth targets.
Do you think we'll make it?
The challenge of this revolution is that it makes managers' roles change in fundamental ways. I'm optimistic that we can adapt. For the first time entrepreneurs and environmentalists are aligned by common interests: how to do more with less in the face of exploding demand.