"The Third Wave" by Alvin Toffler

download print

About this sample

About this sample


Words: 849 |

Pages: 2|

5 min read

Published: Oct 23, 2018

Words: 849|Pages: 2|5 min read

Published: Oct 23, 2018

The third wave is a book written by sociologist and futurologist by Alvin Toffler in 1980. It is a sequel to the future shock, published in 1970, and the second is a trilogy that was completed with power shift: knowledge, wealth, and violence at the edge of the 21st century in 1990. Since 1993, Toffler has collaborated with his wife Heidi on two other books, war and anti-war: survival at the dawn of the twenty-first century and creating a new civilization: the politics of the third wave (1994). Toffler in his best-selling future shock argues that technological changes since the eighteenth century have occurred so rapidly that many people are experiencing undue stress and confusion because of their inability to adapt quickly to the strategic change.

'Why Violent Video Games Shouldn't Be Banned'?

The book contends that the world has not swerved into lunacy, and that, in fact, beneath the clatter and jangle of seemingly senseless events there lay a starling and potentially hope full pattern and this book is about that pattern and that hope. It divides the story of the evolution of human civilization into three major phases: the agricultural revolution, the industrial revolution, and the information age. Each civilization phase is denoted as a wave in the book and each phase is defined by its own ideology that is impacted by variance in technology, social patterns, information patterns, and Power patterns. The strategic change in these variables brought a new wave in the society pushing back the old one. Through this cyclic pattern, “humanity faces a quantum leap forward. It faces the deepest social upheaval and creative restructuring of all time. Without clearly recognizing it, we are engaged in building a remarkable new civilization from the ground up... what is happening now is nothing less than a global revolution, a quantum jump in history". However, there can be no fixed time for a wave or civilization to survive before it is replaced with the ways of life inconceivable to those who came before. The agricultural revolution took thousands of years to play it out, while the rise of the industrial revolution took a mere three hundred years. Today history is even more accelerative, and it is likely that the Third Wave will sweep across history and complete itself in a few decades. This new civilization, as it challenges the old, will topple bureaucracies, reduce the role of the nation-state and give rise to semi-autonomous economies in a post-imperialist world, heal the breach between producer and consumer giving rise to ‘presume’ economy.

Apparently different in facial makeup, all the three civilizations hold land as the basis of the economy, life, culture, family structure, and politics. In all of them, life was organized around the village and birth determined one's position in life. Division of labor prevailed and a few clearly defined castes and classes arose: nobility, priesthood, warriors, helots, slaves or serfs. In all of them, power was rigidly authoritarian. And in all of them, the economy was decentralized, so that each community produced most of its own necessities. The First Wave: During the First Wave people stayed in one place and developed a sense of cyclical times that repeated it with cycles of moons, crops, and seasons. Everyone worked on the farm and people were generalists able to do many things. First Wave civilization’s population could be divided into two categories; the primitive and the civilized. The primitive peoples lived in small bands and tribes and subsisted by gathering, hunting, or fishing.

Get a custom paper now from our expert writers.

The civilized world, by contrast, was precisely that part of the planet on which most people worked on the soil. Wherever agriculture arose, civilization took root. All societies: primitive, agricultural, or industrial used energy; they made things and distributed those. In all societies, the energy system, the production system, and the distribution system are interrelated parts of the system as a whole. Apparently different in facial makeup, all the three civilizations hold land as the basis of the economy, life, culture, family structure, and politics. In all of them, life was organized around the village and birth determined one's position in life. The Second Wave the Industrial Revolution took three hundred years to mature and since then all Second Wave societies accelerated their economy by using energy from irreplaceable fossil fuels through dipping into the earth's energy reserves i.e. coal, gas, and oil. And all Second Wave societies that built towering technological and economic structures on the assumption that cheap fossil fuels would be endlessly available. A shift to nonrenewable energy sources: coal, gas, and oil made mass production possible. Mass production required giant pools of capital. To encourage investors, the concept of limited liability was introduced and the corporation was created. In one Second Wave country after another, social inventors, believing the factory to be the most advanced and efficient agency for production, tried to embody its principles in other organizations as well. Schools, hospitals, prisons, government bureaucracies, and other organizations thus took on many of the characteristics of the factory; its division of labor, it is hierarchical structure and its metallic impersonality, in other words, bureaucracy.

Image of Dr. Oliver Johnson
This essay was reviewed by
Dr. Oliver Johnson

Cite this Essay

“The Third Wave” by Alvin Toffler. (2018, October 23). GradesFixer. Retrieved May 25, 2024, from
““The Third Wave” by Alvin Toffler.” GradesFixer, 23 Oct. 2018,
“The Third Wave” by Alvin Toffler. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 25 May 2024].
“The Third Wave” by Alvin Toffler [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2018 Oct 23 [cited 2024 May 25]. Available from:
Keep in mind: This sample was shared by another student.
  • 450+ experts on 30 subjects ready to help
  • Custom essay delivered in as few as 3 hours
Write my essay

Still can’t find what you need?

Browse our vast selection of original essay samples, each expertly formatted and styled


Where do you want us to send this sample?

    By clicking “Continue”, you agree to our terms of service and privacy policy.


    Be careful. This essay is not unique

    This essay was donated by a student and is likely to have been used and submitted before

    Download this Sample

    Free samples may contain mistakes and not unique parts


    Sorry, we could not paraphrase this essay. Our professional writers can rewrite it and get you a unique paper.



    Please check your inbox.

    We can write you a custom essay that will follow your exact instructions and meet the deadlines. Let's fix your grades together!


    Get Your
    Personalized Essay in 3 Hours or Less!

    We can help you get a better grade and deliver your task on time!
    • Instructions Followed To The Letter
    • Deadlines Met At Every Stage
    • Unique And Plagiarism Free
    Order your paper now