The Information Wave of Civilization

The Information Wave of Civilization

Andrew Targowski (Haworth College of Business, USA)
Copyright: © 2009 |Pages: 34
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-004-2.ch009


This chapter will attempt to analyze the cumulative evolution of labor, intellect (information & knowledge), and politics. In pursuit of this aim, it will analyze the role of information throughout civilization history. Whereas historians reveal the myriad dimensions of social order that remained uncontrollable in the past, modern analysts consciously initiate designs that are not a product of chance—but do so in webs of dispute, ambivalence, and fuzziness of language. There are questions concerning the relevance of history (Henry Ford’s famous aphorism was that history is “bunk”) and the objectivity of information (to the postmodernist philosophers, there is no such thing). These cast doubt on the use of historical data for predicting the future, and also suggest its limitations. In this section, we shall analyze the architectural relationships between intellect, politics, and labor in a historical context, in order to understand the relationships, rules, and eventually laws that govern civilization development. Through such a structural understanding of the past, it may be possible to better predict the future of civilization. Even though this may not be optimal, it is at the very least a satisfactory place and role for historians and our institutions. The architectural approach to a history of civilization is a new layer over quantitative history based on statistical data. In an architectural history of civilization, we seek a “big picture” of “civilization ages and revolutions” to develop some criteria-oriented views of the world and its future predictability. To understand how crises and conflicts of civilization have been driven by technology in recent centuries, such analysis must be undertaken with some optimism about human proactive adaptation, survival, and development. This approach to civilization development should allow humans eventually to “reinvent the future” in a continuous manner. In due course, we should be able to predict the “rate of change” and provide “civilization-bridging solutions” based on original thinking. In the last several centuries, civilization has been driven by its infrastructures (such as bureaucracy, electrical power, vehicle engines). Therefore, we shall look more at the role of information infrastructure, which secures the vitality of the information ecology. The information ecology (environment) is a holistic, human-centered management of information to control development and operations of info-materiel-energy-oriented processes. The first who applied this term are Bruce W. Hasenyager (1996) and Thomas H. Davenport (1997), who emphasize people over machines in the role of handling information.

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