Three Waves of Alvin Toffler. The Basic Points

: 4/4

I found the authors opinion about the nuclear energy power surprising. He considers both nuclear energy and the fossil fuels to be obsolete, and he is looking for something else in terms of new eras energy. In short, though nuclear reactors or coal gasification or liquefaction plants and other such technologies may seem to be advanced or futuristic and therefore progressive, they are, in fact, artifacts of a Second Wave past caught in its own deadly contradictions(138).

In my opinion, deriving energy from nuclear fuel cannot be called obsolete. On the contrary, this kind of energy is only at the very first stage of being used by humans. There are still lots of problems like the poor safety of nuclear reactors or technical impossibility to create a compact nuclear engine at the current stage, but we should not forget, that the efficiency of the steam engine was also very poor and comprised less than 5%!

Of course, new sources of energy will be discovered by human beings in future, but today the use of nuclear energy is very advanced. I think that this the Third Wave civilization kind of energy. Moreover, I tend to think that the beginning of the new era should be considered in connection with the discovery of nuclear power rather than with the potential exhaustion of fossil fuels.

In terms of economic and political issues, the authors conclusions seem to be pretty clear and logical. New discoveries in technology contribute to free information flow. Such a great popularity of the Internet in many countries all over the world is a very nice proof for Alvins ideas about semi-direct democracy as the political structure of the new society.

There is no doubt that the existing political system will not work after the shift into the new era. Terrorism became an every-day word in our language. Big and powerful countries like former U.S.S.R and now Russia are struggling trying to keep their territory together. Separatism became a very important problem in many other countries in all parts of the world. This all indicates that the existing political system is already obsolete and the governments no longer keep the situation under control. No government, no political system, no constitution, no charter or state is permanent, nor can the decisions of the past bind the future forever. Nor can a government designed for one civilization cope adequately with the next(417).

Alvin sees the solution in an absolutely new political system where, unlike in an industrialized era, the minorities have the power and form the structure of the society. The first, heretical principle of Third Wave government is that of minority power. It holds that majority rule, the key legitimating principle of the Second Wave era, is increasingly obsolete. It is not majorities but minorities that count419.

Implementing the minority power principle into our life is supposed to change the whole political system and end up as a new kind of a democratic society semi-direct democracy.

Watching the Shift. Conclusion.

If we look back at our history, we can easily notice that the time during the transition into the Second Wave was the most violent and brutal. We are now observing another transition, now into the Post-industrial civilization.

It took us less than three hundred years to jump from Second Wave into post-industrial society which much faster than agricultural civilization could make it into Industrialism. This could mean not only acceleration in social development or the technical progress; the wave glitch we are living in may turn out to be a bigger drama than it used to be three hundred years ago.

One of the questions that Alvin did not raise in his book is that the people themselves could be in control of civilizational changes. All the achievements in technical, political and technical sciences should not only be used as a self-developing tool, but people can and should use that knowledge in order to control the development of their history. We do not want to think that the civilization we are entering now is going to be the last one on the face of the Earth. Our children and the children of our children have the same right to leave and enjoy their lives as we do now. We are the ones who have to make sure that the human history will not stop today and the shift into another era will be completed.

: 21/11/2007