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Friday, July 8, 2016

Alvin Toffler “The Third Wave”:THE TECHNICIANS OF POWER,Alvin Toffler, Author of ‘Future Shock,’ Dies at 87: Update 09/25/16

Alvin Toffler, Author of ‘Future Shock,’ Dies at 87

Alvin Toffler’s prophetic 1970 book, “Future Shock,” sold millions of copies and catapulted the author to international fame. Credit Susan Wood/Getty ImagesPhoto by: Susan Wood/Getty Images

Alvin Toffler, the celebrated author of “Future Shock,” the first in a trilogy of best-selling books that presciently forecast how people and institutions of the late 20th century would contend with the immense strains and soaring opportunities of accelerating change, died on Monday at his home in Los Angeles. He was 87.
His death was confirmed by his consulting firm, Toffler Associates, based in Reston, Va.
Mr. Toffler was a self-trained social science scholar and successful freelance magazine writer in the mid-1960s when he decided to spend five years studying the underlying causes of a cultural upheaval that he saw overtaking the United States and other developed countries.
The fruit of his research, “Future Shock” (1970), sold millions of copies and was translated into dozens of languages, catapulting Mr. Toffler to international fame. It is still in print.
In the book, in which he synthesized disparate facts from every corner of the globe, he concluded that the convergence of science, capital and communications was producing such swift change that it was creating an entirely new kind of society.
His predictions about the consequences to culture, the family, government and the economy were remarkably accurate. He foresaw the development of cloning, the popularity and influence of personal computers and the invention of the internet, cable television and telecommuting.
                              Future Shock Documentary (1972)

'Future Shock' is a documentary film based on the book written
in 1970 by sociologist and futurist Alvin Toffler. Released in 1972,
with a cigar-chomping Orson Welles as on-screen narrator, this piece of futurism is darkly dystopian and oozing techno-paranoia.
“The roaring current of change,” he said, was producing visible and measurable effects in individuals that fractured marriages, overwhelmed families and caused “confusional breakdowns” manifested in rising crime, drug use and social alienation. He saw these phenomena as very human psychological responses to disorientation and proposed that they were challenging the very structures of communities, institutions and nations.
He continued these themes in two successful follow-up books, “The Third Wave” (1980) and “Powershift” (1990), assisted by his wife, Heidi Toffler, who served as a researcher and editor for the trilogy and was a named co-author in subsequent books. She survives him.
Mr. Toffler popularized the phrase “information overload.” His warnings could be bleak, cautioning that people and institutions that failed to keep pace with change would face ruin. But he was generally optimistic. He was among the first authors to recognize that knowledge, not labor and raw materials, would become the most important economic resource of advanced societies.
Critics were not sure what to make of Mr. Toffler’s literary style or scholarship. Richard R. Lingeman wrote in The New York Times that Mr. Toffler “sends flocks of facts and speculation whirling past like birds in a tornado.” In Time magazine, the reviewer R. Z. Sheppard wrote, “Toffler’s redundant delivery and overheated prose turned kernels of truth into puffed generalities.”
Mr. Toffler’s work nevertheless found an eager readership among the general public, on college campuses, in corporate suites and in national governments. Newt Gingrich, the former Republican speaker of the House, met the Tofflers in the 1970s and became close to them. He said “The Third Wave” had immensely influenced his own thinking and was “one of the great seminal works of our time.”
Prime Minister Zhao Ziyang of China convened conferences to discuss “The Third Wave” in the early 1980s, and in 1985 the book was the No. 2 best seller in China. Only the speeches of the Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping sold more copies.
Credit Random HousePhoto by: Random House
Mr. Toffler was born in New York on Oct. 4, 1928, and raised in Brooklyn, the only son and elder of two children of Sam and Rose Toffler, immigrants from Poland. His father was a furrier.
Alvin began to write poetry and stories soon after learning to read and aspired to be a writer from the time he was 7 years old, he told interviewers. His inspiration, he said, came from an uncle and aunt — Phil Album, an editor, and Ruth Album, a poet — who lived with the Tofflers.
“They were Depression-era literary intellectuals,” Mr. Toffler said in an interview for this obituary in 2006, “and they always talked about exciting ideas.”
Mr. Toffler enrolled in New York University in 1946 and, by his account, spent the next four years only mildly interested in his academic work. He was far more engaged in political activism. In the fall of 1948, during a brief trip home from helping to register black voters in North Carolina, he met Adelaide Elizabeth Farrell, known as Heidi.
“I went to Washington Square,” he said, “and as I walked across the park, I saw a girl in one of my classes. And next to her was a gorgeous blonde. We have been inseparable since.”
Where Mr. Toffler was voluble and visionary, Ms. Toffler was cleareyed and direct. Early in 1950, before they were married, she persuaded him to finish his course work at N.Y.U. and graduate with a degree in English.
“I barely made it,” he recalled. “I paid no attention to credits. In my youthful view I thought, ‘Who needs ceremony?’ Heidi is far more practical.”
Both shared expansive intellects and the passion to make their lives matter. Like the writers he most admired, Mr. Toffler wanted experiences to report on. “Steinbeck went to pick grapes,” he said. “Jack London sailed ships.”
The couple decided to move to Cleveland, then at the very center of industrial America. They were married there on April 29, 1950, by a justice of the peace whom Mr. Toffler described as a “roaring drunk.” They lived on the city’s west side and took production jobs in separate factories.
Mr. Toffler learned to weld and repair machinery and came to understand in the most personal way the toll that physical labor can have on industrial workers. He broke a vertebra when a steel beam he was helping to unload twisted unexpectedly and fell on him.
At night, Mr. Toffler wrote poetry and fiction and discovered he was proficient in neither. But he still aspired to be a writer. In 1954, soon after the birth of the couple’s only child, Karen, he persuaded the editor of Industry and Welding, a national trade magazine published in Cleveland, to hire him as a reporter.
Mr. Toffler in 2006. Credit Fred Prouser/ReutersPhoto by: Fred Prouser/Reuters
Mr. Toffler recalled: “The editor told me, ‘You’re getting this job because you know how to weld. Now, show me you know how to write.’”
Mr. Toffler soon landed a job as a reporter for Labor’s Daily, a national trade newspaper published in Charleston, W.Va., by the International Typographical Union. It sent him to Washington to cover labor news there in 1957.
Two years later, he sent Fortune magazine a proposal to write an article about the economics of the growing mainstream interest in the arts. Fortune rejected the idea but invited Mr. Toffler to New York for an interview and hired him as its labor editor and columnist.
He left Fortune in 1962 and, with his wife as editor and adviser, began a freelance-writing career covering politics, technology and social science for scholarly journals and writing long interviews for Playboy magazine. His 1964 Playboy interview with the Russian novelist Vladimir Nabokov was considered one of the magazine’s best.
Besides his wife, Mr. Toffler is survived by a sister, Caroline Sitter. The Tofflers’ daughter died in 2000.
Mr. Toffler published 13 books and won numerous honors, including a career achievement award in 2005 from the American Society of Journalists and Authors. He and his wife formed Toffler Associates, a global forecasting and consulting company, originally based in Manchester, Mass., in 1996.
In recent years, benefiting from hindsight, some critics said Mr. Toffler had gotten much wrong. Shel Israel, an author and commentator who writes about social media for Forbes, took issue with Mr. Toffler in 2012 for painting “a picture of people who were isolated and depressed, cut off from human intimacy by a relentless fire hose of messages and data barraging us.”
But, he added: “We are not isolated by it. And when the information overloads us, most people are still wise enough to use the power of the ‘Off’ button to gain some peace.”
In writing “Future Shock” 46 years ago, Mr. Toffler acknowledged that the future he saw coming might ultimately differ in the details from what actually came to pass.
“No serious futurist deals in ‘predictions,’” he wrote in the book’s introduction. “These are left for television oracles and newspaper astrologers.”
He advised readers to “concern themselves more and more with general theme, rather than detail.” That theme, he emphasized, was that “the rateof change has implications quite apart from, and sometimes more important than, the directions of change.”
He added, “We who explore the future are like those ancient mapmakers, and it is in this spirit that the concept of future shock and the theory of the adaptive range are presented here — not as final word, but as a first approximation of the new realities, filled with danger and promise, created by the accelerative thrust.”
Correction: July 1, 2016 
An obituary on Thursday about the author Alvin Toffler misidentified the reviewer who wrote in The New York Times that Mr. Toffler, in his book “Future Shock,” “sends flocks of facts and speculation whirling past like birds in a tornado.” He is Richard R. Lingeman, not the mechanical engineering scholar and systems theorist Richard W. Longman.

              Alvin Toffler “The Third Wave”:THE TECHNICIANS OF POWER

The question "Who runs things?" is a typically Second Wave question.
For until the industrial revolution there was little reason to ask it.
Whether ruled by kings or shamans, warlords, sun gods, or saints,
people were seldom in doubt as to who held power over them. The
ragged peasant, looking up from the fields, saw the palace or
monastery looming hi splendor on the horizon. He needed no political
scientist or newspaper pundit to solve the riddle of power. Everyone
knew who was in charge.
Wherever the Second Wave swept in, however, a new kind of power
emerged, diffuse and faceless. Those in power became the
anonymous "they." Who were "they"?
Industrialism, as we have seen, 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 individual. It broke knowledge into specialized disciplines. It
broke jobs into fragments. It broke families into smaller units. In doing
so, 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 specialists whose basic task
was integration. Calling themselves executives or

What Will the Future Be Like? Information Age, Economy, Finance (1995)

administrators, commissars, coordinators, presidents, vice* presidents,
bureaucrats, or managers, they cropped up in every business, in every
government, and at every level of society. And they proved
indispensable. They were the integrators.
They defined roles and allocated jobs. They decided who got what
rewards. They made plans, set criteria, and gave or withheld
credentials. They linked production, distribution, transport, and
communications. They set the rules under which organizations
interacted. In short, they fitted the pieces of the society together.
Without them the Second Wave system could never have run.
Marx, in the mid-nineteenth century, thought that whoever owned the
tools and technology—the "means of production"—would control
society. He argued that, because work was interdependent, workers
could disrupt production and seize the tools from their boses. Once
they owned the tools, they would rule society.
Yet history played a trick on him. For the very same inter-dependency
gave even greater leverage to a new group— those who orchestrated
or integrated the system. In the end it-was neither the owners nor the
workers who came to power. In both capitalist and socialist nations, it
was the integrators who rose to the top.
It was not ownership of the "means of production" that gave power. It
was control of the "means of integration.** Let's see what that has
In business the earliest integrators were the factory proprietors, the
business entrepreneurs, the mill owners and ironmasters. The owner
and a few aides were usually able to coordinate the labor of a large
number of unskilled "hands" and to integrate the firm into the larger
Since, in that period, owner and integrator were one and the same, it is
not surprising that Marx confused the two and laid so heavy an
emphasis on ownership. As production grew more complex, however,
and the division of labor more specialized, business witnessed an
incredible proliferation of executives and experts who, came between
the boss and his workers. Paperwork mushroomed. Soon in the larger
firms no individual, including the owner or dominant shareholder, could
even begin to understand the whole operation. The owner's decisions
were shaped, and ultimately controlled, by the specialists brought in to
coordinate the system. Thus a new executive elite arose whose power rested
no longer on ownership but rather on control of the integration process.
As the manager grew in power, the stockholder grew less important.
As companies grew bigger, family owners sold out to larger and larger
groups of dispersed shareholders, few of whom knew anything about
the actual operations of the business. Increasingly, shareholders had
to rely on hired managers not merely to run the day-to-day affairs of
the company but even to set its long-range goals and strategies.
Boards of directors, theoretically representing the owners, were
themselves increasingly remote and ill-informed about the operations
they were supposed to direct. And as more and more private
investment was made not by individuals but indirectly through
institutions like pension funds, mutual funds, and the trust departments
of banks, the actual "owners" of industry were still further removed
from control.
The new power of the integrators was, perhaps, most clearly
expressed by W. Michael Blumenthal, former U.S. Secretary of the
Treasury. Before entering government Blumenthal headed the Bendix
Corporation. Once asked if he would some day like to own Bendix,
Blumenthal replied: "It's not ownership that counts—it's control. And as
Chief Executive that's what I've got! We have a shareholders' meeting
next week, and I've got ninety-seven percent of the vote. I only own
eight thousand shares. Control is what's important to me. ... To have
the control over this large animal and to use it in a constructive way,
that's what I want, rather than doing silly things that others want me to

Business policies were thus increasingly fixed by the hired managers
of the firm or by money managers placing other people's money, but in
neither case by the actual owners, let alone by the workers. The
integrators took charge.
All this had certain parallels in the socialist nations. As early as 1921
Lenin felt called upon to denounce his own Soviet bureaucracy.
Trotsky, in exile by 1930, charged that there were already five to six
million managers in a class that "does not engage directly in productive
labor, but administers, orders, commands, pardons and punishes." The
means of production might belong to the state, he charged, "But the
state . . . 'belongs* to the bureaucracy." In the 1950's Mi-lovan Djilas, in
The New Class, attacked the growing power of the managerial elites in
Yugoslavia. Tito, who imprisoned Djilas, himself complained about
"technocracy, bureaucracy,
the class enemy." And fear of managerialism was the central theme in
Mao's China.*
Under socialism as well as capitalism, therefore, the integrators took
effective power. For without them the parts of the system could not
work together. The "machine" would not run.
Integrating a single business, or even a whole industry, was only a
small part of what had to be done. Modern industrial society, as we
have seen, developed a host of organizations, from labor unions and
trade associations to churches, schools, health clinics, and recreational
groups, all of which had to work within a framework of predictable
rules. Laws were needed. Above all, the info-sphere, socio-sphere,
and techno-sphere had to be brought into alignment with one another.
Out of this driving need for the integration of Second Wave civilization
came the biggest coordinator of all—the in-tegrational engine of the
system: big government. It is the system's hunger for integration that
explains the relentless rise of big government in every Second Wave
Again and again political demagogues arose to call for smaller
government. Yet, once in office, the very same leaders expanded
rather than contracted the size of government. This contradiction
between rhetoric and real life becomes understandable the moment we
recognize that the transcendent aim of all Second Wave governments
has been to construct and maintain industrial civilization. Against this
commitment, all lesser differences faded. Parties and politicians might
squabble over other issues, but on this they were in tacit agreement
And big government was part of their unspoken program regardless of
the tune they sang, because industrial societies depend on
government to perform essential inte-grational tasks.
In the words of political columnist Clayton Fritchey, the United States
federal government never ceased to grow, even under three recent
Republican administrations, "for the * Mao, leading the world's biggest First Wave nation, repeatedly
warned against the rise of managerial elites and saw this as a
dangerous concomitant of traditional industrialism. simple reason that not even Houdini could dismantle it without serious and harmful consequences."

Free marketeers have argued that governments interfere with
business. But left to private enterprise alone, industrialization would
have come much more slowly—if, indeed, it could have come at all.
Governments quickened the development of the railroad. They built
harbors, 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 aid industry. They drove farmers
off the land and into the industrial labor 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, perform.
For government was the great accelerator. Because of its coercive
power and tax revenues, it could do things that private enterprise could
not afford to undertake. Governments could "hot up" the
industrialization process by stepping in to fill emerging gaps in the
system—before it became possible or profitable for private companies
to do so. Governments could perform "anticipatory integration.*'
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 simultaneously
encouraged the spread of the nuclear family form. By relieving the
family of educational and other traditional functions, governments
accelerated the adaptation of family structure to the needs of the
factory system. At many different levels, therefore, governments
orchestrated the complexity of Second Wave civilization.
Not surprisingly, as integration grew in importance both the substance
and style of government changed. Presidents and prime ministers, for
example, came to see themselves primarily as managers rather than
as creative social and political leaders. In personality and manner they
became almost interchangeable with the men who ran the large
companies and production enterprises. While offering the obligatory lip
service to democracy and social justice, the Nixons, Carters,
Thatchers, Brezhnevs, Giscards, and Ohiras of the industrial world
rode into office by promising little more than efficient management.

Across the board, therefore, in socialist as well as capitalist industrial
societies, the same pattern emerged—big companies or production
organizations and a huge governmental machine. And rather than
workers seizing the means of production, as Marx predicted, or
capitalists retaining power, as Adam Smith's followers might have
preferred, a wholly new ^—force arose to challenge both. The
technicians of power V seized the "means of integration" and, with it,
the reins of so-j cial, cultural, political, and economic control. Second
Wave I societies were ruled by the integrators,
These technicians of power were themselves organized into
hierarchies of elites and sub-elites. Every industry and branch of
government soon gave birth to its own establishment, its own powerful
"They." Sports . . . religion . . . education . . . each had its own pyramid of
power. A science establishment, a defense establishment, a cultural
establishment sprang up. Power in Second Wave civilization was
parceled out to scores, hundreds, even thousands of such specialized
In turn, these specialized elites were themselves integrated by
generalist elites whose membership cut across all the specializations.
For example, in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe the Communist
party had members in every field from aviation to music and steel
manufacture. Communist party members served as a crucial grapevine
carrying messages from one sub-elite to another. Because it had
access to all information, it had enormous power to regulate the
specialist sub-elites. In the capitalist countries, leading businessmen
and lawyers, serving on civic committees or boards, performed similar
functions in a less formal way. What we see, therefore, in all Second
Wave nations are specialized groups of integrators, bureaucrats, or
executives, themselves inteSuperclass: The Global Power Elite and the World They are Making   grated by generalist integrators.
                                                           THE SUPER-ELITES

Finally, at yet a higher level, integration was imposed by the "superelites"
in charge of investment allocation. Whether in finance or
industry, in the Pentagon or in the Soviet plan-
ning bureaucracy, those who made the major investment allocations in
industrial society set the limits within which the integrators themselves
were compelled to function. Once a truly large-scale investment
decision had been made, whether in Minneapolis or Moscow, it limited
future options. Given a scarcity of resources, one could not casually
tear out Bessemer furnaces or cracking plants or assembly lines until
their cost had been amortized. Once in place, therefore, this capital
stock fixed the parameters within which future managers or integrators
were confined. These groups of faceless decision-makers, controlling
the levers of investment, formed the super-elite in all industrial
In every Second Wave society, consequently, a parallel architecture of
elites sprang up. And—with local variation— this hidden hierarchy of
power was born again after every crisis or political upheaval. Names,
slogans, party labels and candidates might change; revolutions might
come and go. New faces might appear behind the big mahogany
desks. But the basic architecture of power remained.
Time and again during the past three hundred years, in one country
after another, rebels and reformers have attempted to storm the walls
of power, to build a new society based on social justice and political
equality. Temporarily, such movements have seized the emotions of
millions with promises of freedom. Revolutionists have even managed,
now and then, to topple a regime.
Yet each time the ultimate outcome was the same. Each time the
rebels re-created, under then* own flag, a similar structure of subelites,
elites, and super-elites. For this inte-grational structure and the
technicians of power who ruled it were as necessary to Second Wave
civilization as factories, fossil fuels, or nuclear families. Industralism
and the full democracy it promised were, in fact, incompatible.
Industrial nations could be forced, through revolutionary action or
otherwise, to move back and forth across the spectrum from free
market to centrally planned. They could go from capitalist to socialist
and vice versa. But like the much-cited leopard, they could not change
their spots. They could not function without a powerful hierarchy of
Today, as the Third Wave of change begins to batter at this fortress of
managerial power, the first fleeting cracks are nppearing in the power
system. Demands for participation in in.-magement, for shared
decision-making, for worker, con-•umer, and citizen control, and for
anticipatory democracy
are welling up in nation after nation. New ways of organizing along less
hierarchical and more ad-hocratic lines are springing up in the most
advanced industries. Pressures for decentralization of power intensify.
And managers become more and more dependent upon information
from below. Elites themselves, therefore, are becoming less
permanent and secure. All these are merely early warnings—indicators
of the coming upheaval in the political system.
The Third Wave, already beginning to batter at these industrial
structures, opens fantastic opportunities for social and political
renovation. In the years just ahead startling new institutions will replace
our unworkable, oppressive, and obsolete integrational structures.
Before we turn to these new possibilities, we need to press our
analysis of the dying system. We need to X-ray our obsolete political
system to see how it fitted into the frame of Second Wave civilization,
how it served the industrial order and its elites. Only then can we
understand why it is no longer appropriate or tolerable.
Nothing is more confusing to a Frenchman than the spectacle of an
American presidential campaign: the hot-dog gulping, backslapping,
and baby kissing, the coy refusal to cast hat in ring, the primaries, the
conventions, followed by the manic frenzy of fund raising, whistlestopping,
speechmaking, television commercials—all in the name of
democracy. By contrast, Americans find it hard to make sense of the
way the French choose their leaders. Still less do they understand the
tame British elections, the Dutch free-for-all with two dozen parties, the
Australian preferential voting system, or the Japanese wheeling and
dealing among factions. All these political systems seem frightfully
different from one another. Even more incomprehensible are the oneparty
elections or pseudo-elections that take place in the U.S.S.R. and
Eastern Europe. When it comes to politics, no two industrial nations
look the same.
Yet once we tear away our provincial blinders we suddenly discover
that a set of powerful parallels lies beneath the surface differences. In
fact, it is almost as if the political systems of all Second Wave nations
were built from the same hidden blueprint.
When Second Wave revolutionaries managed to topple First Wave
elites in France, in the United States, in Russia, Japan, and other
nations, they were faced with the need to write constitutions, set up
new governments, and design almost from scratch new political
institutions. In the excitement of creation they debated new ideas, new
structures. Everywhere they fought over the nature of representation.
Who should represent whom? Should representatives be instructed how to
vote by the people—or use their own judgment? Should terms of office
be long or short? What role should parties play?
In each country a new political architecture emerged these conflicts
and debates. A close look at these structures reveals that they are built
on a combination of old Wave assumptions and newer ideas swept hi
by the industrial age.
After millennia of agriculture, it was hard for the founders of Second
Wave political systems to imagine an economy based on labor, capital,
e-ergy, and raw materials, rather than land. Land had always been at
the very center of life r self. Not surprisingly, therefore, geography was
deeply embedded in our various voting systems. Senators and
congressmen in America—and their counterparts in Britain and many
other industrial nations—are still elected not as representatives of
lontno «r.~-i <-ias<? or o'-pima.tional, ethnic, sexual, or life-style
grouping, but as representatives of the inhabitants of a particular piece
of land: a geographical district.
First Wave people were tvtvcallv immobile, and it was therefore natural
for the architects of industrial-era political systems to assume that
people would remain in one locality all their lives. Hence the nrwa^nce,
even today, of residency requirements hi voting regulations.
The pace of First Wave life was slow. Communications were so
primitive that it might take a week for a message from the Continental
Congress in Philadelphia to reach New York. A speech by Georse
Washington took weeks or months to filter through to the hinterland. As
late as 1865 it still took twelve days for London to learn that Lincoln
had been assassinated. On the unspoken assumption that things
moved slowly, representative bodies like Congress or the British
Parliament were regarded as "deliberative"—having the tune and
taking the time to think through their problems.
Most First Wave people were illiterate and ignorant. Thus it was widely
assumed that representatives, particularly if drawn from the educated
classes, would inevitably make more intelligent decisions than the
mass of voters.
But even as they built these First Wave assumptions into our political
institutions, the revolutionaries of the Second Wave also cast their
eyes on the future. Thus the architecture they constructed reflected
some of the latest technological notions of their time.

The businessmen, intellectuals, and revolutionaries of the early
industrial period were virtually mesmerized by machinery. They were
fascinated by steam engines, clocks, looms, pumps, and pistons, and
they constructed endless analogies based on the simple mechanistic
technologies of their time. It was no accident that men like Benjamin
Franklin and Thomas Jefferson were scientists and inventors as well
as political revolutionaries.
They grew up in the churning cultural wake of Newton's great
discoveries. Newton had searched the heavens and concluded that the
entire universe was a giant clockwork operating with exact mechanical
regularity. La Mettrie, the French physician and philosopher, in 1748
declared man himself to be a machine. Adam Smith later extended the
analogy of the machine to economics, arguing that the economy is a
system and that systems "in many respects resemble machines."
James Madison, in describing the debates that led to the United States
Constitution, spoke of the need to "remodel" the "system," to change
the "structure" of political power, and to choose officials through
"successive filtrations." The Constitution itself was filled with "checks
and balances" like the inner works of a giant clock. Jefferson spoke of
the "machinery of government."
American political thinking continued to reverberate with the sound of
flywheels, chains, gears, checks and balances. Thus Martin Van Buren
invented the "political machine" and eventually New York City had its
Tweed machine, Tennessee its Crump machine, New Jersey its Hague
machine. Generations of American politicians, right down to the
present, prepared political "blueprints," "engineered elections," "steamrollered"
or "railroaded" bills through Congress and the state
legislatures. In the nineteenth century in Britain, 'Lord Cromer
conceived of an imperial government that would "ensure the
harmonious working of the different parts of the machine."
Nor was this mechanistic mentality a product of capitalism. Lenin, for
example, described that state as "nothing
more than a machine used by the capitalists to suppress the workers."
Trotsky spoke of "all the wheels and screws of the bourgeois social
mechanism" and went on to describe the function of a revolutionary
party in similarly mechanical phrases. Terming it a powerful
"apparatus," he pointed out that "as with any mechanism this is in itself
static . . . the movement of the masses has ... to overcome dead
inertia. . . . Thus, the living force of steam has to overcome the inertia
of the machine before it can set the flywheel in motion."
Drenched in such mechanistic thinking, imbued with an almost blind
faith in the power and efficiency of machines, the revolutionary
founders of Second Wave societies, whether capitalist or socialist, not
surprisingly invented political institutions that shared many of the
characteristics of early industrial machines.

The structures they hammered and bolted together were based on the
elemental notion of representation. And in every country they made
use of certain standard parts. These components came out of what
might be called, only half facetiously, a universal represento-kit
The components were:
1. Individuals armed with the vote
2. Parties for collecting votes
3. Candidates who, by winning votes, were instantly transformed into
"representatives" of the voters
4. Legislatures (parliaments, diets, congresses, bunde-stags, or
assemblies) in which, by voting, representatives manufactured laws
5. Executives (presidents, prime ministers, party secretaries) who fed
raw material into the lawmaking machine in the form of policies, and
then enforced the resulting lawsVotes were the "atom" of this Newtonian mechanism. Votes were
aggregated by parties, which served as the "manifold" of the system.
They gathered votes from many sources and fed them into the
electoral adding machine, which blended them in proportion to party strength or mixture, producing as
its output the "will of the people"—the basic fuel that supposedly
powered the machinery of government.
The parts of this kit were combined and manipulated in different ways
in different places. In some places everyone over the age of twentyone
was permitted to vote; elsewhere only white males were
enfranchised; in one country the entire process was merely a facade
for control by a dictator; in another the elected officials actually wielded
considerable power. Here there were two parties, there a multiplicity of
parties, elsewhere only one. Nevertheless, the historical pattern is
clear. However the parts might be modified or configured, this same
basic kit was used in constructing the formal political machinery of all
industrial nations.
Even though Communists frequently attacked "bourgeois democracy"
and '^arliamentarianism" as a mask for privilege, arguing that the
mechanisms were usually manipulated by the capitalist class for its
own private gain, all socialist industrial nations installed similar
representational machines as soon as possible.
While holding forth a promise of "direct democracy" in some far-off
post-representational era, they relied heavily in the meantime on
"socialist representative institutions." The Hungarian Communist Ott6
Bihari, in a study of these institutions, writes, "in the course of election
the will of the working people makes its influence felt hi the
governmental organs called to life by voting." The editor of Pravda, V.
G. Afanasyev, in his book The Scientific Management of Society
defines "democratic centralism" as including "the sovereign power of
the working people ... the election of governing bodies and leaders and
their accountability to the people."
Just as the factory came to symbolize the entire industrial technosphere,
representative government (no matter how denatured) became
the status symbol of every "advanced" nation. Indeed, even many nonindustrial
nations—under pressure from colonizers or through blind
imitation—rushed to install the same formal mechanisms and used the
same universal represento-kit.
Nor were these "democracy machines" restricted to the national level.
They were installed at state, provincial, and local levels as well, right
down to the town or village council.
 To-day in the United States alone there are some five-hundred thousand
elected public officials and 25,869 local governmental units in
metropolitan areas, each with its own elections, representative bodies,
and election procedures.
Thousands of these representational machines are creaking and
grinding away hi nonmetropolitan regions, and tens of thousands more
around the world. In Swiss cantons and French departments, in the
countries of Britain and the provinces of Canada, in the voivodships of
Poland and the republics of the Soviet Union, in Singapore and Haifa,
Osaka and Oslo, candidates run for office and are magically
transmuted into "representatives." It is safe to say that more than one hundred
thousand of these machines are now manufacturing laws,
decrees, regulations, and rules in Second Wave countries alone.*

Alvin Toffler's The Third Wave at Google Doc

Darkbird18 have been a true believe in The Third Wave because it the only book I have read so far that makes any since on The Information Age are “The Third Wave”! In this chapter Toffler talks about the “Power Elite” and how they control the corporations, the governments and us by means of internal power groups.

1 comment:

Charles Wharry (Darkbird18) said...

This is Toffler great works of how our system was set up. The Machine is still in play but the Information will soon rule and those who control the machine will control the Information in the Information Age. To read more click on this link and the whole book will be there for you to study.

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