Articles and Papers Toffler's Waves: The Second Wave

Toffler's Waves: The Second Wave

TOFFLER’S WAVES: THE SECOND WAVE

[Alvin Toffler:The Third Wave. 1981. London: Pan Books in association with William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd.]

Freedom means many things to many people. For me, freedom means having an understanding of the society in which I live: in particular, the extent to which I voluntarily adopt the various forms of socialization to which I am subject and the extent to which I involuntarily comply with them

My childhood was spent in the last decade of British colonialism and I grew to adulthood in the apartheid era. As a child, I accepted without question my status as an “Indian” (alien, other, not South African), so I questioned the values and norms of the community in which I lived. As a teenager and young adult, under the influence of my uncle MD Naidoo, and Pauline Morel, principal of Dartnell Crescent Junior School and members of her staff, I began to question the norms and values of apartheid. I understood on an obvious level that I lived in an exploitative and unjust system. I even joined in resistance activities against the system. Nevertheless, as I functioned in a racist environment, I complied with the racial division of society – living in a separate area, not mixing with people of other races, and accepting all kinds of inequity. That made me a racist even though I regarded racism as an evil.

My understanding of apartheid was superficial, based mainly on experience of the degradations of racist prejudice (a victim's view). I had no understanding of the forces that had brought about such a system or my collusion in it. We get caught up in in its logic which we do not resist unless we are aware of it. Being unaware, we become slaves of the system. I realize now that most of my formal education had simply been a means of ensuring my adaptation to the logic of the society in which I lived. My understanding of existence was totally subjective; I was ignorant of the organisational forces that give rise to societies and determine the way we think and act. I was unaware that these principles are reflected in all our conventions, our norms and values – the way we think and behave.

In 1988, when I went to teach at Giyani College of Education, Tom Swart and Lionel Berman introduced me to the works of Alvin Toffler and I finally woke up and realised I had been living on the surface without a real understanding of what it means to live in society. Now I see differently; now when I read Shakespeare and Dickens I want to understand their world views. When I first read their writings, I focussed on the stories, the events and anachronistically contextualised them in the conventional morality of our times rather than theirs. In a sense I had turned their writings into “who-dunnits” and had missed their understanding of human existence. I am thankful to Toffler for opening up my mind to much wider contexts.

I believe Toffler wants us to understand change, not simply the vicissitudes of everyday living, such as the evils of apartheid, but evolutionary change that impacts on all aspects of living and gives rise to such manifestations as apartheid. He wants us to be aware of the forces that programme the choices and decisions that we make. He wants us to understand that societal change is not arbitrary; it is evolutionary, one development leads to another in a continuous process that gives rise to the logic of a system. And change occurs in highs and lows. Hence his view of civilization as a succession of waves.

In The Third Wave, Toffler presents us with a panoramic understanding of evolutionary societal change – the new organisational principles that change society and impact on all we think, do, say and believe. He describes the progress of human civilization as a succession of waves. The First Wave was a slowly rising incline, that gave way to a tidal wave -- the Second Wave, which is giving way at an even sharper incline to the Third Wave. Each wave of development is defined by the technology it develops and the resulting logic of its systems.

As technology advances, it gives rise to new sets of developments, new systems and logics of processes. The Second Wave is the wave of Integration, like an assembly line in a factory. It is the wave of systems of interdependence, of interlocking institutions making possible more tightly knit control of individual behaviour. And we adopt mottos such as Eendrag maak Mag (Unity is Strength) and uphold teamwork.

Civilization began as a way of life based on agriculture – the First Wave. With the development of machinery it evolved into the industrial era – The Second Wave, and now civilization is in an electronic and nuclear age – the Third Wave. Technology is the engine of worldwide change; it gives rise to new ways of living, to new beliefs and dictates the pace at which life is lived.

In the First Wave, a predominantly agricultural age, technology was at an incipient stage and life was lived at a leisurely pace that lasted thousands of years – from almost the beginning of time to about the middle of the seventeenth century, about ten thousand years. In the Second Wave, energy in the form of electricity gave us superior and continually evolving machine technology and the pace of life became much faster and required a complete reorganization of society in all its aspects from government and economics to family life and individual relations. Industrialization, which replaced the economy based on agriculture, has been the dominant mode of existence for about three centuries. In the twentieth century, the development of computer technology brought in the Third Wave and with it came new principles and worldwide changes. The principles that underpinned the Second Wave are being challenged at all levels and we are into a new logic that dictates new systems and living conditions. And change is occurring at a speed that has led to confusion and conflict. While some move forward, others cling to old ways.

At present we are in a clash of waves as the Third Wave overtakes the Second Wave and the conflicts and turmoil that we are experiencing are a result of the clash.

    • An understanding of the conflicts produced by these colliding wave fronts gives us not only a clearer image of alternative futures but an x-ray of the political and social forces acting on us. (The Third Wave,30)
    • Once we realize that a bitter struggle is now raging between those who seek to preserve industrialism and those who seek to supplant it, we have a powerful new key to understanding the world. (The Third Wave,32)
    • We shall see that Second Wave civilization was not an accidental jumble of components, but a system with parts that interacted with each other in more or less predictable ways – and that the fundamental patterns of industrial life were the same in country after country, regardless of cultural heritage or political difference ... both ‘left-wing’ and ‘right-wing’ (capitalist and socialist) (32)

Toffler states, “The precondition of any civilization, old or new, is energy.” (The Third Wave, 39).“All societies – primitive, agricultural or industrial – use energy; they make things; they distribute things. In all societies the energy system, the production system, and the distribution system are interrelated parts of something larger. This larger system is the techno-sphere, and it has a characteristic form at each stage of development.” (41)

In the First Wave (39 - 41)

Energy The energy that powered The First Wave was from “human and animal power ...sun, wind and water” power. All these were renewable sources of energy.Production: Goods were handmade, created on a custom basis, one at a time for individual and personal consumption.Distribution. Goods were distributed to individuals by pedlars or by wagon or from tiny shops with very limited stocks. As communication (there were no post offices and telephones) and transport (animal-drawn vehicles) were very limited, markets remained localised catering for small communities.

In the Second Wave

  • Energy Fossil fuels – coal, gas, oil – irreplaceable sources of energy.
  • Production: Machine-made goods produced in factories on assembly lines– identical products, not created for the individual, but standardised for general consumption. Speeded up production and standardisation gave us mass produced goods.
  • Distribution: Development of a market economy

Production was split fromConsumption.

  • This split provided the impetus for the reorganization of society; it was the foundation on which Second Wave culture was built.
  • In the First Wave, people were both producers and consumers. They consumed a vast amount of what they produced and put a small amount up for sale. Goods and procedures were individualized and were developed for use not for exchange.
  • In the Second Wave production was separated from consumption. Goods and procedures were standardised to serve mass consumption. Machines and factories made mass production possible and mass production needed wide distribution. When “the purpose of production shiftedfrom use to exchange, there had to be a mechanism through which that exchange could take place. There had to be a market.” (54)
  • The split between consumption and production led to a series of interlocking developments that led to the institutionalization of society.
  • Marketization – goods were mass produced for wide consumption
  • Transportsystems were developed, beginning first with the invention of the train to carry goods to greater distances.
  • Postal System As distribution spread over vast areas there was greater need for efficient and speedy communication, so a Postal System was developed.
  • The Nuclear Family: Labour was required for the factories and that changed the nature of the family. Extended families had been required in the agricultural period but in the machine age, families lost access to land and were concentrated in factory towns. Families were streamlined to facilitate factory production. So the Nuclear Family parents with few children – came into being.
  • Division of labour. Work was divided into component parts and spread over assembly lines that required the alignment of workers for the alignment of work – fitting parts together.
  • Education To ensure a continuous labour supply for the factories, Educationwas developed to prepare children for factory-type work. So schools came into being, basically to teach children to be punctual, obedient, and tolerant of repetitious work (through rote-learning). [Dickens’ novel Hard Times is a scathing attack on the education system which he saw as completely dehumanising.]
  • Corporations. Out of the need to integrate the division of labour, came managers and the development of Corporations which controlled all aspects of production..
  • Mass Media As these developments were interdependent, the economy required massive exchanges of information. At first there was the post office, then the Telephone and Telegraph and that led to the development of the Mass Media, newspaper, radio and television.
  • The Effect of the Split between Production and Consumption on Society
  • “The Second Wave like some nuclear chain reaction, violently split apart two aspects of our lives that had always, until then, been one ... it drove a giant invisible wedge into our economy, our psyches, and even our sexual selves.” (51)

A Schizophrenic Society?

    • ... At one level, the industrial revolution created a marvellously integrated social system with its own distinctive technologies ... social institutions ... information channels.
    • ...at another level, it ripped apart the underlying unity of society, creating a way of life filled with economic tension, social conflict, and psychological malaise.” (51)

Society reflected a paradoxical situation. On the one hand, the breaking up of wholes into parts that were then reintegrated into new wholes.

Economic Tension

The Split led to the fastest rise in living standards.People were sucked into the money system; commercial values became central, economic growth became the primary goal of governments – implementation of GNP (Gross National Product). Paradox: demands of managers and workers for higher profits, wages, benefits contradicted demands of consumers (who include managers and workers) for lower prices.

Social, Cultural Tension

  • “the new society ‘left remaining no other nexus between man and man than naked self-interest; than callous “cash payment”. Personal relationships, family bonds, love, friendship, neighbourly and community ties all became tinctured or corrupted by commercial self-interest. ... the obsessive concern with money, goods, and things is a reflection not of capitalism or socialism, but of industrialism ... and the central role of the marketplace.” ... not only products are bought, sold, traded, and exchanged, but labour, ideas, art and souls as well.” (55) [Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, William Makepeace Thackeray present in their novels the obsessive concern with money.]
  • “Instead of a society based on friendship, kinship, or tribal or feudal allegiance, there arose in the wake of the Second Wave a civilization based on contractual ties, actual or implied. Even husbands and wives today speak of marital contracts.” (56)

[It seems that in the First Wave, there was an understanding of dichotomous good and evil. In the Second Wave, it seems, that the split between consumption and production led to a kind of schizophrenic society. There was no longer the clear separation of good from evil, good became integrated and that gave rise to such works as Robert Louis Stevenson’s Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde and more complex characterizations in novels. And it seems that psychology and psychiatry developed as a consequence of the split. Both psychology and psychiatry depend on standardized notions of human behaviour.]

The Sexual Split

The Sexual split follows from the split between production and consumption.

  • In First Wave societies most work was performed in the fields or in the home, with the entire household toiling together as an economic unit. Work life and home life were fused and intermingled. And since each village was largely self-sufficient, the success of peasants in one place was not dependent upon what happened in another. ... work... was characterized by low levels of interdependency. (56-7)

In other words, everyone in the home worked and all work was considered equally valuable.

The Second Wave shifted work from field and home to factory. And introduced a much higher level in interdependency. Work now demanded collective effort, division of labour, coordination, the integration of many different skills....

  • ... More and more, production was transferred to the factory and office. ... Second Wave work overshadowed the old backward form associated with the First Wave. (57)

The home, the place of work of women, remained a place of low-interdependency. Housewives produced for the home, for personal consumption, not for the market so “the home remained a decentralised unit engaged in biological reproduction, ... childrearing ... cultural transmission.” (58)

    • Sexual differences and sex role stereotypes, ... were sharpened by the misleading identification of men with production and women with consumption.
    • ...As the husband , by and large, marched off to do direct economic work, the wife generally stayed behind to do the indirect economic work ... The man took responsibility for the historically more advanced form of work; the woman was left behind to take care of the older, more backward form of work.”
    • ... Men prepared from boyhood for their role in the shop, where they would move in a world of interdependencies, were encouraged to become ‘objective’. Women, prepared from birth for the tasks of reproduction, childrearing, and household drudgery, performed to a considerable degree in social isolation, were taught to be ‘subjective’ – and were frequently regarded as incapable of the kind of rational, analytic thought that supposedly went with objectivity. (58) [This view of women is clearly demonstrated and stated in the film Changeling]

Men were identified with production and women with consumption. Women were relegated to the First Wave while men were promoted to the Second Wave and considered superior.

  • “Not surprisingly, women who did leave the relative isolation of the household to engage in interdependent production (factory/office-type work) were often accused of having been defeminized, of having grown cold, tough and – objective.” (58)

[Colonialism extended this understanding of superiority and inferiority to races. Colonialists were of the Second Wave while the people they conquered were of the First Wave, limited to consumption rather than production, with no market or interdependent institutions, and, therefore, considered inferior.]

The Hidden Code of the Second Wave

  • “Every civilization has a hidden code – a set of principles that run through all its activities like a repeated design. As industrialism pushed across the planet, its unique hidden design became visible. It consisted of six interrelated principles that programmed the behaviour of millions. Growing naturally out of the divorce of production and consumption, these principles affected every aspect of life from sex and sports to work and war.” (59)

The Six Principles of the Second Wave.

1. Standardization (Ibid., 60-2)Standardization was the production of identical products and processes. Products made in factories, clothes, food, light bulbs, and so on. Processes. Systems were created that followed identical routines with identical requirements, rewards and penalties: i.e. government bureaucracies, the postal service, medical procedures, patent medicines, weights and measures, the currency, wages and hiring, working conditions (tea breaks, lunch hours, vacations), the mass media that reported the same news, displayed the same advertisements; the development of statistics and opinion polls and education – children were placed in standards, curricula were standardized, so were exams and promotions.

2. Specialization (62-4)Division of labour and assembly lines where each worker performed the same task over and over, a task which was one part in a process, led to specialization and specialization to professionalization, i.e. expertise in one aspect of knowledge and practice.

3. Synchronization (64-6)Division of labour and assembly lines led to synchronization of tasks, and to the need for punctuality. Work and Education were controlled by the whistle or the bell. There were set times for work and study. Work came to be standardized as a 9-5 occupation. Synchronised work required punctuality and clocks and watches became part of everyday life. Social life was driven by the clock, set times for rising and sleeping, meals, vacations etc. Mass transport was controlled by time -- bus and train schedules. Broadcasts followed a time pattern; prime time, news time, children’s programs etc.

Women and country folk, seen as people of the First Wave, not programmed by time, became associated with unpunctuality and unreliability.

4. Concentration (67—68)

The Second Wave depended on concentrated energy (factories, offices) and that led to concentration of populations in urban centres and then to other forms of concentration: prisons, schools, old age homes, asylums etc. Concentration of capital led to the development of large industrial corporations such as car, food , cigarette, transport companies.And the Central Bank

5.Maximization (68-70)The greater the production, the greater the profits.Bigger factories, companies, workforces, bigger buildings, skyscrapers, bigger cities.Bigger economies – development of the Gross National Product to increase production

6. Centralization (70-74) In the following excerpt from The Third Wave, Toffler gives us an example, using the development of railroads, of how the Second Wave principles led to the centralization of power in societies.

  • ... the shift from a basically decentralized First Wave economy, with each locality largely responsible for producing its own necessities, to the integrated national economies of the Second Wave led to totally new methods for centralizing power. These came into play at the level of individual companies, industries, and the economy as a whole.
  • The early railroads provide a classic illustration. ... The early railroad managers, therefore, like the managers of the space programme in our own era, had to invent new techniques. They standardized technologies, fares, schedules. They synchronized operations over hundreds of miles. They created specialized new occupations and departments. They concentrated capital, energy and people. They fought to maximize the scale of their networks. And to accomplish this they created new forms of organization based on centralization ofinformation and command.
  • Employees were divided into ‘line’ and ‘staff.  Daily reports were initiated to provide data on car movements, loadings, damages, lost freight, repairs, engine miles, etc. All this information flowed up a centralized chain of command until it reached the general superintendent who made the decisions and sent orders down the line.’(70-1)

The six principles that underpinned Second Wave civilization, “in turn each reinforcing the other, led relentlessly to the rise of bureaucracy. They produced some of the biggest, most rigid, more powerful bureaucratic organizations the world has ever seen, leaving the individual to wander in a Kafka-like world of looming mega-organizations.” (74)

  • The Technicians of Power (74)

The Integrators (75-77)

  • Industrialism ... broke society into thousands of interlocking parts – factories, churches, schools, trade unions, prisons, hospitals, and the like. It broke the line of command between church, state, and the individual. It broke knowledge into specialized disciplines. It broke jobs into fragments.  It broke families into smaller units. In so doing, it shattered community life and culture.

    • ... Somebody had to put things back together in a different form.
    • ... This need gave rise to many new kinds of specialist whose basic task was integration. Calling themselves executives or administrators, commissars, presidents, vice-presidents, bureaucrats, or managers, they cropped up in every business, in every government, and at every level of society.” (75)

 

Functions of Integrators (Managers):

define roles; allocate jobs; decide who gets rewards; make plans; set criteria; give/withhold credentials; link production, distribution, transport and communications; set the rules of the organisation

Integrators (Managers) were the new élite.

  • Marx in the mid-nineteenth century, thought that whoever owned ... ‘the means of production’ (tools and technology) would control society. (75) [as] ... owner and integrator were oneand the same... in that period,
  • As production grew more complex ... and the division of labour more specialized business witnessed an incredible proliferation of executives and experts who came between the boss (owner) and his workers. ... no individual, including the owner or dominant shareholder, could even begin to understand the whole operation ... specialists were brought in to co-ordinate the system – Thus a new executive elite arose whose power rested no longer on ownership but rather of CONTROL of the integration process.(76)
  • Out of this need for the integration of Second Wave civilization came the biggest co-ordinator of all – the integrational engine of the system: BIG GOVERNMENT.(78)

    Governments quickened the development of the railroad. They built harbours, roads, canals, and highways. They operated postal services and built or regulated telegraph, telephone, and broadcast systems. They wrote commercial codes and standardized markets. They applied foreign policy pressures and tariffs to industry. They drove farmers off the land and into the industrial labour supply. They subsidized energy and advanced technology, often through military channels. At a thousand levels, governments assumed the integrative tasks that others could not, or would not do. (78)

  • By setting up mass education systems, governments not only helped to machine youngsters for their future roles in the industrial work force (hence, in effect, subsidizing industry) but also encouraged the spread of the nuclear family form. At many different levels, therefore, governments orchestrated the complexity of Second Wave civilization. (79)

The Power Pyramids (79-80)

The New Élites

“The technicians of power were ... organized into hierarchies of élites and sub-élites.” (79)

  • Sub-élite: Managers who integrate all the elements of a production process (In Education, Principals)
  • Élite: Managers who control managers who form the sub-élite. (In Education, Inspectors)
  • Super-élite: Managers who control the élite and who finance and set the limits of production.
  • (In Education,Directors of Education.)

Mechano-mania (84-5)

  • We began to define ourselves and living conditions in terms of machines
  • “Man is a machine”, systems like the economy work like machines. Our vocabulary reflects our view of society as mechanistic: we use words like “blueprints’, ‘engineered’, ‘steam-rollered,’ ‘railroaded’ etc. to describe actions in all spheres not only in terms of machines.
  • Processes are seen as ‘structures” with component parts ... “hammered and bolted together” to form systems e.g. the system (machinery) of representation in government consists of the following component parts that are integrated as on an assembly line in a huge factory:
  • “1. Individuals armed with a vote; 2. Parties for collecting votes; 3. Elected representatives; 4. Legislatures (parliaments); 5. Executives (Presidents, Prime Ministers, etc.) who fed  raw material into the lawmaking machine in the form of policies, and then enforced the resulting laws.” (85)

Though representation in government, promised ‘government by the people’

  • By no stretch of the imagination was it ever controlled by the people, however, defined. Nowhere did it actually change the underlying structure of power in industrial nations – the structure of sub-elites, elites and super-elites, the formal machinery of representation became one of the key means of integration by which they maintained themselves in power.
  • ... elections fostered the illusion of equality ... Voting provided a mass ritual of reassurance, conveying to the people the idea thatchoices were being made systematically, with machine-like regularity, and hence by implication, rationally. (88-9)

Indust-reality 110 -

I understand Toffler’s word “Indust-reality” to mean the ways in which we adapted our thinking, beliefs and behaviours to the logic of mechanical integration. Toffler states that in our new mechanised thinking, we redefined God, justice, love, power, beauty, time, space, matter and causality. (110)

  • It led to the battle of ideologies – capitalism (individualism) vs. socialism (collectivism).
  • It gave us TheProgress Principle (111-115) based on “three deeply intertwined “indust-real’ beliefs” (111)
  • Exploitation of nature – machinery made massive exploitation possible
  • Social Darwinism – the wealthiest and most powerful people were the fittest and most deserving (survival of the fittest). This was a rationalisation of capitalism and imperialism (the moral justification of exploitation of agricultural societies)*
  • The progress principle – history flows irreversibly towards a better life for humanity [socialists called it dialectic materialism]. Progress justified the degradation of nature and the conquest of “less advanced” civilizations.

*[Imperialism flowed from Social Darwinism: “... once torn out of self-sufficiency and compelled to produce for money and exchange, once encouraged or forced to reorganize their social structure around mining, for example, or plantation farming, First Wave populations were plunged into economic dependence on a marketplace they could scarcely influence. Often their leaders were bribed, their cultures ridiculed, their languages suppressed. Moreover, the colonial powers hammered a deep sense of psychological inferiority into the conquered people that stands even today as an obstacle to economic and social development.” (103)]

New Perceptions of Existence (114-122)

  • Indust-reality gave us new perceptions of the world:
  • Synchronization of labour led to:
  • the standardization of time; precise units: hour, minute, second – time was perceived as linear – movement in a straight line
  • repackaging of space – specialization – distribution of goods required specialized types of space – for offices, banks, police stations, factories, railroad terminals, department stores, prisons, fire houses, asylums and theatres – towns took on linear patterns
  • Linearity became embedded in our thinking. (First Wave thinking had tended towards circularity.)

Coda: the Flash Flood 127 -136

  • “Industrialism was a flash flood in history – a brief three centuries.” (127)

Industrialism led to:

  • (127-8) Population growth > movement into towns
  • The exhaustion of timber forests > use of coal > deeper mineshafts > steam engine
  • Gradual dissemination of industrial ideas > challenge to church and political authority
  • (128) Technology, the class struggle, ecological shifts, demographic trends, economics each one by itself does not drive force of history. No one cause led to all the changes. 
  • The split between production and consumption was the most influential driver of change.Industrial Man (129)

Here Toffler indicates how individuals become programmed (machined) to take their places in industrial society. Whether we are men or women we can recognize in ourselves our compliance to the industrial man image described by Toffler.

Industrial Man

Industrialism did not only alter technology, nature and culture, it altered personality and created a new social character – industrial man who was:

  • Master of energy slaves; of factory style environment – machines and organisation that dwarfed the individual
  • His survival depended on money.
  • He worked for a large corporation or a public (governmental) agency
  • His was a nuclear family; children went to factory style schools.
  • He got his basic image from mass media.
  • He belonged to a union, a church and other organizations “to each of which he parcelled out his divided self.”
  • He identified with nation not city or village. He stood in opposition to nature – exploiting it – paradoxically visiting it on weekends.
  • He saw himself as part of vast, interdependent economic, social, political systems “whose edges faded into complexities beyond his understanding.”
  • He rebelled without success; fought to make a living; learned the games required by society i.e. he fitted into assigned roles.
  • He saw himself as victim of the system; part of a larger cosmic machine whose motions were regular and relentless.

His Changed Environment.

  • (130) His ancestors would not recognise Industrial Man’s environment. Industrial Man responds to different sensory signals – not the rise and setting of the sun, seasonal changes, and other signals emanating from nature. Industrial Man responds to the factory whistle [and the clock] (not the rooster)
  • Electricity lit up the night extending day.
  • Cameras gave him views from all angles, above and below and inside (X-rays), and enlargements (microscopes)
  • Medical care devloped into a vast, standardized discipline.
  • Food was altered. The Human body grew to its full capacity.
  • Nakedness came to be regarded as shameful > use of night clothing (pyjamas etc.)
  • Marriage became more than an economic convenience.
  • Changes occurred in all human relationships – child-rearing, upward social mobility etc.
  • War was amplified and put on the assembly line.

(131) Industrialism “clearly improved the material standard of living of the ordinary person. Critics of industrialism, in describing the mass misery of the working class during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries in Britain, often romanticized the First Wave past. They picture that rural past as warm, communal, stable, organic, and with spiritual rather than purely materialist values. Yet historical research reveals that these supposedly lovely rural communities were, in fact, cesspools of malnutrition, disease, poverty, homelessness, and tyranny, with people helpless against hunger, cold and the whips of their landlords and masters.”

Second Wave culture as is the culture in which we still function even as it is becoming obsolete. As most of us are conditioned to Second Wave modes of functioning, some of us are very resistant to the evolutionary changes that are happening. This has resulted in the clashes that we see everywhere in the world – clashes between second and third wave cultures.

In South Africa, we have a tendency to be nostalgic about our First Wave past and while we, through colonization and apartheid, became a Second Wave society and are now moving into the Third Wave, we still have a romantic attachment to First Wave values. We look at Second Wave developments in terms of its classist and racist ethos but we accept all the benefits of its technological, economic, political and social advancements. So we are constantly involved in contradictory moral struggles.

This has been an attempt to summarise Alvin Toffler’s description of Second Wave Civilization (Industrialism) taken from his book The Third Wave. For a better understanding, I recommend that you read The Third Wave. 

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