Their books “The Third Wave” (1980) and “The Third Industrial Revolution” (2011) were divided by over 30 years, but had plenty in common. Both authors referred to the limits of our existing development path. Environmental destruction, reliance on finite resources, and even climate change (already in the late 1970s when Toffler wrote his book) were referred to by Toffler and Rifkin. Taking into consideration the oil glut of the 1980s, something that Toffler couldn’t predict in the midst of the second oil crisis, one of his statements was especially apt:
Statistics vary. Disputes rage over how long the world has before the ultimate crunch. The forecasting complexities are enormous and many past predictions now look silly. Yet one thing is clear: no one is pumping gas and oil back into the earth to replenish the supply.”
This applied as much to the 1980s, as to 2014, when the price of oil fell by almost 40% within a matter of months. The major difference is that back then we consumed 54 mbd, now we consume over 91 mbd. Many times we could hear that the “era of oil is near”, and many times these predictions were wrong. So many times, that we started to believe oil will be there forever. And yet Toffler is bringing this to the point – sooner or later it will run out. The question remains how dirty it will get in the meantime. The lower the prices are now, the less investment in energy efficient cars will be made, the higher the consumption and the higher the landing when we reach the peak will be. And sooner or later we will reach one. A fivefold increase in the price of oil between 1998 and 2007 shows how fast things can change.