Every production phase or civilization or other human invention goes through a so called transformation process. Transitions are social transformation processes that cover at least one generation. In this article I will use one such transition to demonstrate the position of our present civilization and its possible effect on stock exchange rates.
When we consider the characteristics of the phases of a social transformation we may find ourselves at the end of what might be called the third industrial revolution. Transitions are social transformation processes that cover at least one generation (= 25 years). A transition has the following characteristics:
- it involves a structural change of civilization or a complex subsystem of our civilization
- it shows technological, economical, ecological, socio cultural and institutional changes at different levels that influence and enhance each other
- it is the result of slow changes (changes in supplies) and fast dynamics (flows)
Examples of historical transitions are the demographical transition and the transition from coal to natural gas which caused transition in the use of energy. A transition process is not fixed from the start because during the transition processes will adapt to the new situation. A transition is not dogmatic.
Four transition phases
In general transitions can be seen to go through the S curve and we can distinguish four phases (see fig. 1):
1. a pre development phase of a dynamic balance in which the present status does not visibly change
2. a take off phase in which the process of change starts because of changes in the system
3. an acceleration phase in which visible structural changes take place through an accumulation of socio cultural, economical, ecological and institutional changes influencing each other; in this phase we see collective learning processes, diffusion and processes of embedding
4. a stabilization phase in which the speed of sociological change slows down and a new dynamic balance is achieved through learning
This article was published in March 2011 in a magazine entitled “Hermes,” for the Flemish Association for Teachers of Science and History and Culture in June 2011 in the journal of economic education of the VECON, Association of Teachers in the economic\social subjects in the Netherlands.
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