The invention of the steam engine by Thomas Newcomen and John Calley in 1705, followed by the improved steam engine by James Watt in 1764, caused a period of turmoil throughout the world. Many processes could be done differently, and we had to rethink all known economical models. We had to reinvent society. So, we reinvented the political and governmental structures of our countries; the financial, as well as the educational, structures; and the value creation process, with its organizational management thinking. Money as a barter converter – a facilitator – always played a role throughout the ages, but during the Industrial Revolution, the modest use of money was thrown overboard. The establishment needed lots of money fast to industrialize the world. Afterwards, this period was called a revolution: the Industrial Revolution.
Industrialization has brought us plenty of good stuff. We reinvented society. By giving money a larger role in the process of bartering product and services, economic value could be up- scaled. Education, institutionalized as an industrial process, gave more people access to education, and thus encouraged prosperity. By using steam engines in an efficient way, organizational management was introduced. Economic science entered a new stage. Organizational knowledge divided organizations into compartments, like human resources, sales and marketing, and purchasing, so new jobs and disciplines were developed. In Western Europe, political structures for a better democracy were introduced. Unions, suffragettes claiming women’s emancipation (and thus, voting rights), and political parties: they all demanded a portion of the prosperity cake. This whole process didn’t go flawlessly. Industrialization also created the possibility to fight mechanized global wars with millions of casualities, and created bubbles – so financial crisis, as well. The Amercian Wall Street crash of 1929, also known as Black Tuesday, was a financial crisis like never seen before, and created a 10 year depression throughout the Western world. It was only concluded when the industry turned into a war industry, with World War 2 as its “marketplace”.
So the Industrial Revolution was a period of time in history comparable to the turmoil we experience presently. However, we “invented” two steam engines: the Web and the 3D printer. Society is transferring to a new era, which I have called Society 3.0. So, it is up the the global Society 3.0 citizen to reinvent our social and economic systems. That is where the opportunity lies – an opportunity to get us out of this turmoil. Not an easy journey, as the establishment is resisting; however, their inability to show us the way out and guide us to this new era shows that the industrial system, with its political and economic systems, is really at its end.
So, it is up to us. Let’s move!
This text of this blog also appears in the book Society30, the English and Updated Version.
picture steam engine :https://www.kshs.org