Analysis of Alvin Toffler’s Third Wave

Alvin Toffler in his seminal work denotes that civilization occurs in three stages which he describes metaphorically as Waves. The first wave was the agricultural civilization, the second wave was the industrial epoch and the third wave is technological society. He strongly derides doomsday prophets and espouses the view that civilization on the whole is evolving.

Now what is the first Wave or the agricultural civilization? People lived in communities in joint family set ups. Herding animal husbandry and tilling the soil were the primary occupations of the people. Society was clannish with Feudal, tenants and slaves. Production was mainly subsistence oriented. Medical facilities were not well developed death and infant mortality rates were high.

During the second wave industrialization occurred in societies. Industrialization saw the emergence of smoke stack industries. It was also the era colonization when European countries shifted their base into Asian and African colonies. From the colonies they exported raw materials and imported finished products. The second wave society also saw the shift of production from homes to factories. It also led to the rise of the press and post and telegraph. Family systems changed from joint families to nuclear families. An education system was created to suit the needs of the industrial class. The second wave also led to the creation of working class, the proletariat, the middle class, the petit bourgeoisie and the capitalists, the bourgeoisie. The workers became an exploited class. There was large scale migration of people from villages to towns and cities. A lot of changes underwent in History. Two World Wars were fought. The second wave also saw the emergence of Capitalism and Communism. There was the Eastern block and the Western Block. The second wave also saw the birth of the cold war. Smokestack industries created a lot of pollution. The second wave also saw the increase in health standards due to improvements in medicine. Infant mortality and death rate dropped. It also led to the democratization of societies. People became concerned with human rights, justice and law and order.

The Third Wave Society saw the emergence of the internet revolution, the weakening of nation states, the globalization of industry as transnational corporations, and the breakdown of family values. The third wave saw the shift of second wave industries to countries of Asia. Out sourcing began. The third wave also saw the origin of gay communities. Religion clashed with science. Terrorism spread its ugly tentacles. We have seen the rise of the Jihad and Jihad spread its horrendous fangs into Western democracies. Media became an open forum where people could freely express their dissent. The third wave also saw the rise of patent laws and regulations. The major industries of the third wave were the IT sector, oil and pharmaceuticals. The third wave the saw the decline of the nation state and the emergence of decolonized democracies in Asia and Africa. The third wave also began to motivate thinkers in new ways and led to new philosophical movements like deconstructionism and post structuralism. There was also an increase in feminist values and ideals.