2012-10-02 The Second Great Transition and The Third Great Transition.docx

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Political Science
Political Science 2137
Cameron Harrington

The Second Great Transition and The Third Great Transition October 2, 2012 THE SECOND GREAT TRANSITION – THE INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION THE THIRD GREAT TRANSITION - GLOBALIZATION AND POST-CARBON SOCIETIES? -The third great transition: is it an extension of the industrial revolution or is it a new transition? The 2nd and 3rd (?) Great Transition  the Industrial Revolution: Ideas about progress and economics - leads to a change in energy consumption  devastating consequences on quality of life for humans and their ecosystems  are we in a Third Great Transition?  globalization extended the forces of modernity and the Industrial Revolution to the rest of the world  Paradoxically, many now tell government to simultaneously do 'less' and 'more'. -Industrial RevolutionExpansion of economic way of thinking -government do moregovernment regulation is good -government do lessgovernment regulation is bad -The First Transition: -from hunting and gathering way of life to agrarian lifestyle -emergence of permanent human settlement -creation of civilizations -arts and craftsmen, hierarchy, etc. -changing of labour -longer life span -creation of medicine -compared to hunter-gatherer societyagrarian society has more impact on the environment The First Great Transition Recap: • The move from hunter-gatherer societies to agricultural societies • Between 3000-1000 BCE hierarchical, militaristic established across the world • Two main significances: • basis for all advances in culture and science • increasing coercion and warfare • Babylon, Ancient Mesopotamia -shift in societal norms -transition: emerged into permanent settlement and rise of hierarchy -establishment of political and religious elites (first time in human history) -once you farm, you get good at it and you grow more -surplus of food: we see advances in production of food -abundant food supplythose who control the surplus (establishment of hierarchical society from egalitarian society in pre-agricultural times) -emerged into market place -emergence of ancient Egypt and Chinacivilizations -earlier societies developing innovation, science, culture, and warfare -militarization and increase in cultural and scientific achievements -constant warfareinsecure -empires rising and falling The Second Great Transition • Involved the exploitation of the earth’s (non-renewable) fossil fuels • Societies become dependent on high energy use • As important as the development of agriculture and the rise of settled societies? -Earth has vast but limited fossil fuels -once societies learn to harvest those fuels, it leads to huge dependence on them and it leads to industrialization -has monumental effect on Earth that affects us today and people in the future -transition into industrial society: impact on Earth is much larger than the previous one -first transition: took thousands of years; slow pace -second transition: occurs in decades in countries and hundreds of years around the world -environmental damage *energy* -society needs energy for heating, cooking, cooling -most important thing -but, obtaining it and using it comes with a cost -energy: price of offshore oil high -wood, coal: hard to move (too bulky) can only be available in certain places -constrained how society can use resources -electricity energy: spread around the world; important development around the world Creating theAffluent Society • Since the rise of settled societies the overwhelming majority of the population of the world endured grinding poverty • Last two centuries - things have changed for the better for some (still the minority) • Progress comes at a price - inequality and environmental destruction -fossil fuels: -1. coal -2. natural gas -3. crude oil -fossil fuels harnessed in second transition -impact that has on our way of life: depends -most of human history: lived in poverty, few possessions, bad living lifestyle, short life span, etc. -we are far more wealthy than what the history has been -Industrialization: not spread around the world yet -progress comes with a price: inequality and environmental destruction -impact we have are so huge (environment): whether or not it is sustainable if we spread our way of life to other people Creating theAffluent Society: Pre-industrial societies • The transition from HG societies to agricultural ones changed human relationship to “goods” • Leading up to the industrial revolution, the vast majority of spending was on food • No steady improvement in human condition -”goods” to mobile group doesn’t really exist for them -more goods have to be produced and stored  protecting food sources and food supplies -MiddleAges to mid 7 century: 80% of England’s exports were limited, even for the rich -diet still poor -very little is left over -people live in destitution -over 1000s and 1000s of years, human conditions have improved -change occurring: change in human conception -paradox with all three transitions -as we see humans progress into affluent societies, we see a lot of harm around the world -progress: wealth increases, standard of living rise, population increase, life span increase -are they sustainable Modernity • Modernity: refers to modes of social life or organization which emerged in Europe from about the 17th century onwards and which subsequently became more or less worldwide in their influence • Shipyard of the Dutch East India Company, the first multinational corporation. CA 1750 -spread of modern ideals  the age of reason and the age of science  application of science to practical matters;  Key assumptions:  It is possible to discover all knowledge by scientific/rational method and, in principal, to solve all problems “What is Enlightenment?”: self imposed immaturity -immaturity imposed in lack of resolve, lack of guidance -this encompasses modernity -light of progress, development of the world -modernity: liberating oneself from authority or superstition to rational thought -Kahn: nothing is needed except for freedom -freedom to use reason -progress in society can be spread -rational thought, freedom, knowledge of science can solve all problems -idea of progress: not an endpoint Ways of Thought - Progress • Modernity’s relationship with nature - are humans integral, separate, superior? • Concept of progress new, important • “The perfectability of man is truly indefinite; and that the progress of this perfectability, from onow onwards independent of any power that might wish to halt it, has no limit than the duration of the glove upon which nature has cast us…this progress…will never be reversed as long as the earth occupies its present place in the system of the universe.”- Marquis de Condorcet, 1793 -progress helps answer questions we have such as if humans are integrated with nature, whether humans are separate from nature, or we have something special above nature? -progress and economics -economic way of thinking: how do we put to use the resources? -idea of progress: ingrained in us -not something in humans’minds in the ancient world -no concept of it -history: no direction of it -progress and improvement: noticeably absent until theAge of Enlightenment -rise of scientific knowledge, technological development -history was a progress of movement, not decaying -wave of optimism about future -de Condorcet: progressive view of human and nature Ways of Thought - Economics • Economics grows to have profound impact on the way the world is seen • Modern economies dominated by market forces • Free markets have existed for only a few centuries • Trade expands, wealth accumulates, land and labour now bought and sold -only in the last few centuries when free markets have emerged -hunter-gatherer society: idea of land ownership was foreign to them -agricultural: top-down system; elites redistribute food and goods to people -slow emergence of markets in Europe = becomes more of a reality in 17 /18 centuryth -land bought/sold -labour traded for currency/money; becomes a commodity -trade expands, wealth accumulates, labour bought/sold -nature, in an economic standpoint, needs to be harnessed or for wealth -we can improve our life through Enlightened thought The Story of Energy • Three central phases of the second great transition 1. Increase in textiles, manufacturing, railroads (up to last 1/3 of 19th C) 2. Vehicle production (Early 20th century) 3. Information/communication technologies (1960s-today) • Two central drivers of the second great transition 1. Modernity (progress) 2. Economics -later 1700s: Britain and other European countries have developed significant industrial sectors -raised the standard of living in those industrial society (unequal) -transitioned societies in new ways -need manpower: requires people to move from agricultural sectors of economy to manufacturing -people moved from rural areas (countryside) to urban areas (cities) -majority of people’s standard of living dropped -industrial output in England had been low until mid-1800s -surplus of labours: 50% of work force lived below the subsistence level -about 150 yea
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