“In a time when terrorists play death games with hostages, as currencies careen amid rumors of a Third World War, as embassies flame and storm troopers lace up their boots, in many lands we stare in horror at the headlines. The price of gold—-that sensitive barometer of fear—breaks all records. Banks tremble. Inflation rages out of control. And the governments of the world are reduced to paralysis or imbecility.”
The Third Wave
When social critic Alvin Toffler wrote this introduction to The Third Wave in 1980, he identified the First Wave as the agriculture revolution, moving from hunting and gathering to settled farming; the Second Wave as the Industrial Revolution when manufacturing moved from the home to the factory, and the Third Wave as a “super-industrial society”, an Information Age, a Global Village.
Now, some thirty years later, we’re moving headlong into some aspects of the Third Wave.
Toffler talked about changes in the family, the changing definition of family, moving toward the non-nuclear family, the child-free culture and the electronic expanded family. We see some of this taking hold. The issue of gay marriage, child adoption by single people, surrogate pregnancies, invitro-fertilization, the “families” of facebook and other social media sites, the proliferation of specialized groups.
He predicted people would be working from their homes (“telecommunting” is the in-word now) and because of this they’d seek out friends and acquaintances in new ways. No longer would the Second Wave civilization be in charge with the 9-to-5 workday schedules tied to the rhythm of machines. Work could be preformed any time.
Ah, brave new world! I was entranced.
Not one to love schedules (let alone early mornings) I welcomed the day when I could work in my own time at my own pace. And I found jobs where some of that was true. As the CEO of non-profit agencies, I allowed staff to work flexible hours. At daily morning newspapers I came to work later in the day and worked until 7 or so in the evening. Now as a writer and novelist, I begin work when I have my first cup of coffee, maybe around9 a.m., and work on and off throughout the day. I’ve been know to still be answering emails at 10 at night.
There are an awful lot of people still working at the pace of the machine, though. In my family, my son-in-law owns a high-tech company in San Jose. His days are a combination of working from home (on the phone and the computer most of the day) and going into his company two or three days a week. He has a lot of flexibility but is also available for calls from his staff at 10 at night.
My daughter is a Neo-natal Intensive Care Unit nurse. She works 12- hour shifts from7 p.m.until7 a.m.three days a week. She doesn’t have much flexibility because the hospital is staffed 24/7.
The one I feel most sorry for, though, is my oldest granddaughter. Because she attends her neighborhood school, and most of the parents in the neighborhood work for the state and have to be at their desks at 8 a.m., she has to be at school at 7:45 in the morning. That means for a couple of months in the winter, she’s standing outside in a line, in the semi-dark shivering until they open the classroom doors.
I don’t know what the answer is, but when I watch the kids trudging to school to line up in the waning dark, the only vision I have is of mill and mine workers in 19th century England and I thought the Third Wave would eliminate that.
Michele Drier was born in Santa Cruz and is a fifth generation Californian. She’s lived and worked all over the state, calling both Southern and Northern California home. During her career in journalism — as a reporter and editor at daily newspapers – she won awards for producing investigative series.
Her mystery Edited for Death, called “Riveting and much recommended” by the Midwest Book Review is available in paperback at Amazon and B&N and on audio at ACX.
She’s working on the second book in the Amy Hobbes Newspaper mysteries, Labeled for Death, out in spring 2013.
Her paranormal romance series, SNAP: The Kandesky Vampire Chronicles, is available in ebook at Amazon, B&N and Kobo. SNAP: The World Unfolds, SNAP: New Talent, Plague: A Love Story, Danube: A Tale of Murder are available as a boxed set. The fifth book, SNAP: Love for Blood has 5 star ratings. She’s writing the sixth book, SNAP: Happily Ever After? for release in summer 2013 and a seventh book in late fall 2013.