What the World Will Look Like If Tomorrow Comes

What the World Will Look Like If Tomorrow Comes

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-4966-6.ch007

Abstract

Throughout its history, the humankind has faced several phase transitions, always caused by some sort of resource crisis and also the necessity for technological modernization of the whole national production system or of its management. These phase transitions have always led to the growth of economic efficiency of the transforming system (though often they also caused crises and market failures). Moreover, the economic system which managed to switch to a new phase faster than others has been always dominating other the rest of more conservative systems. Agrarian, industrial and technical revolutions are the most obvious examples of such phase transitions. Change in a phase and in a system of socioeconomic institutes' functioning today is yet another proof that post-industrial phase transition is already inevitable. This chapter describes the causes for the end of post-industrialism along with its major failures. The latter have been mainly caused by the system's inability to self-limitation and self-corrections, and this, in turn, has been predetermined by such specificity of post-industrialism as globality of information networks, economies' virtualization, intellectualization and personalization of labor, low efficiency of soft technologies in regulation of information flows under the maximum efficiency of information control, transformation of motivation of the Homo economicus and some other reasons.
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“The End Of History” Or “The History Of The End”

The humankind and the forms of society in the process of their evolution have passed several very different forms of social relations and life organization. According to the popular concept of phase transitions (Pereslegin, 2006), any society at a certain stage of its development becomes aware of its resources’ limitedness (especially those of strategic importance, the growth in consumption of which goes in parallel to social progress). Facing this limitedness in resources, the society starts using its accumulated knowledge, skills, local and global experience so that to transform its life principles and thus change the dominating system of social relation with the new ones, more adapted to the conditions of limited resources. Thus, there emerges the so-called phase transition which usually has the following features:

First of all goes the economic crisis. It is developing on the so-called “long waves”, and often it is not noticeable in the short term at all. In any case this economic crisis is related to certain social relations and it determines the reduced efficiency of the already established production relations, it also tends to lower the profitability of all related enterprises. The reasons for worsening economic situation during this phase transition period are related, first of all, to depletion of resources and thus their higher costs, both automatically mean lower consumption rates and lower welfare overall. At certain time land, ferrous metals, coal and oil have been (or are) such depleting resources. Their limitedness is forcing people transform the production processes and form new sectors and branches, less depending from this disappearing resource. However, this phase transition is not like simple restructuring of production for example. First of all, the phase transition is stimulated from the bottom to the top, that is, it goes from consumers up. Secondly, it develops not locally, but always on the global scale.

At this stage of phase transition consumers, most probably, are not fully aware of the necessity for production relations’ transformation, and this transformation is not imposed by producers. Business represents an important component of the society, and this component cannot exist without the society (especially and first of all – without solvent consumers and qualified enough labor force). On the other hand, business, in turn, guarantees the viability of the society (Zinoviev, 2007); and often it is business that becomes the first to be aware of the necessity of phase transition, of the lower role of older resources and of the increasing role of newer resources. And thus, only business is able to increase the cost and the value of this newer resource, and often does that manifold. This happens through implantation of the newer resource into the already existing production processes, and further, on this basis, new patterns and forms of production relations emerge which further correct and adapt the whole system of society’s functioning, thus pushing it to a new phase of development.

The second precondition for the phase transition is the global nature of all related transformations. This means that the priority of new resource is of really global scale, and those sectors (or even national economies) that were quick enough to start using this newer resource first, are rapidly turning into a closed group of winners with truly global competitive advantages. Later, these sectors (or economies) become the place for the development of the most progressive activities and also for the most advanced forms of social interaction.

Another criterion of phase transition is the so-called crisis of management and education, both symbolizing the final stage in economic crisis. On the background of the lowest profitability of production processes, quite visible limits of growth and resource supply and instability of the social system it becomes more and more obvious that radically new mechanisms are requirement in management of all processes, both economic and social.

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