Industrial Revolution

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1 04. The Industrial Revolution: Great Britain, U.S., France, Germany, Imperial Russia, Japan

The Third Wave is a book published in 1980 by Alvin Toffler; it is the sequel to Future Shock, published in 1970, and the second in a trilogy that was completed with Powershift in 1990. In the book Toffler describes three types of societies, based on the concept of “waves” – each wave pushes the older societies and cultures aside. First Wave is the society after Agrarian Revolution and replaced the first huntergatherer cultures. The transition from the earlier hunter-gatherer societies to the agrarian and agricultural societies is also known as the Neolithic Revolution; this coincides with the transition from the Mesolithic era to the Neolithic era [respectively, the Middle and Late Stone Age]. The transition from Toffler’s First Wave and Second Wave is sometimes also recognized as a transition from the Iron Age to the Steel Age or as the Industrial Revolution. The main components of the Second Wave Society are nuclear family, factory-type education system and the corporation. Toffler writes: “The Second Wave Society is industrial and based on mass production, mass distribution, mass consumption, mass education, mass media, mass recreation, mass entertainment, and weapons of mass destruction. You combine those things with standardization, centralization, concentration, and synchronization, and you wind up a style of organization we call bureaucracy”. Toffler would also add that since late 1950s most countries are moving away from a Second Wave Society into what he would call a Third Wave Society. Third Wave is the post-industrial [Daniel Bell] society. In The Coming of PostIndustrial Society (1973), Daniel Bell outlined a new kind of society – the post-industrial society. He argued that post-industrialism would be information-led and service-oriented. Bell also argued that the post-industrial society would replace the industrial society as the dominant system. There are three components to a post-industrial society, according to Bell: • • • A shift from manufacturing to services The centrality of the new science-based industries The rise of new technical elites and the advent of a new principle of stratification



Industrial revolution – a rapid development in industry; spec. (freq. with capital initials) the development which took place in England in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, chiefly owing to the introduction of new or improved machinery and large-scale production methods [Oxford English Dictionary]. Industrial revolution the vast social and economic changes that resulted from the development of steam-powered machinery and mass-production methods, beginning in the late eighteenth century in Great Britain and extending through the nineteenth century elsewhere in the world [Academic Press Dictionary of Science and Technology]. “The Industrial Revolution is not simply an acceleration of economic growth, but an acceleration of growth because of, and through, economic and social transformation” [Eric Hobsbawm, Industry and Empire. The Birth of the Industrial Revolution, New Press, New York, 1999]

Industrial Revolution: Pre-conditions

What were the necessary conditions – educational, social, political, economical, and technological – for a radically new ways of production and distribution to arise and then flourish? Historians ask why the Industrial Revolution happened, why it happened where it did (in England instead, of, say, France), and why it happened when it did and not either earlier or later. According to those who have studied this turning-point in world history, the following conditions had to exist before the first phase of the Industrial Revolution could occur: • Population with “modern” attitudes towards work: to create the combination of factory work and urban life required, one needed a population no longer tied to the land and specific places; without changes in...
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