Sunday, August 29, 2004

How much the community matters to business

I haven't heard much about Alvin Toffler lately. He is probably fairly old. I tend to hear more about futurists -- I would call them 'trend watchers' -- such as Faith Popcorn and Marian Saltzman in recent years. Toffler was big in the 70s and 80s when he published the books Future Shock and The Third Wave. He apparently runs a business consultancy that "help[s] companies and governments create their future in the fast emerging "Third Wave" economy." As explained on their site:

The Third Wave Information Society is more than just technology and economics. It is not just "digital" and "networked." Painful social, cultural, institutional, moral, and political dislocations accompany our transition from a brute force to a brain force economy. The Third Wave helps explain why so many industrial-era institutions, from giant corporations to governments, are dinosaurs gasping for their last breath. It is why America is suffering from simultaneous crises in everything from education system, the health system, and the family system to the justice system, and the political system. They were designed to work in a mass industrial society. But America has left that behind.

Apparently, Toffler likes to ask executives what it would cost them in real cash if none of their employees had ever been toilet-trained, in order to point out the enormous debt that corporations owe to communities, parents, networks and teachers, the kind of work, in other words, that women most often do.