The industrialized world is governed by industrial democracies. They consistently create results that cannot be produced by agrarian and nomadic societies. Industrialized economies proliferate solutions made possible by centralized controls, applied metrics and systematized efficiencies. Mass production joins co-dependently with mass consumption. The lifestyles in these democracies are materialistic and addictive. The harm to the planet and the disruption of communities are regarded as insignificant: a small price to pay for all this manufactured splendor.The inability to educate effectively is built into the industrial paradigm. Individual attention is inefficient and too costly. Allowing each student to develop uniquely is a quality control breakdown that lets deviant and defective components out of the factory. Giving the student freedom to explore independently is a regression to nomadic and agrarian (primitive, uncivilized, peasant) paradigms.
The perpetuation of industrial democracies lies in the conformity produced by "big business" delivering textbooks and standardized tests. The unyielding devotion to classrooms, tests, grades and certification is built into every post-agrarian democracy's need for industrialized education. Without that, the jobs would be filled by "a bunch of farmers" who have no clue how to vote in elections about sophisticated, technological and industrial issues.We are currently in a transition to networked democracies. Corporations will see their charters rewritten as the principles of Capitalism 3.0 (PDF)take hold. Centralized production and distribution facilities will be replaced by distributed and democratized methods. Journalism and broadcast media are currently undergoing that change from consolidation by conglomerates to citizen rejuvenation by Web 2.0. Democracies will evolve into more direct participation with less centralized representation that gets tainted by industrial lobbyists. Quality control will be emergent from the networked, leaderless, distributed participation.
The new institutions that emerge will fit William Strauss's and Neil Howe's model of a "first turning". A preliminary disintegration is a necessary part of the process. Dave Pollard provides a constant supply of insights into this fourth turning. His recent "A crooked broker society" characterizes much of this darkness before the dawn. As Dave says:
It is evidence of a culture in the terminal stages of decline and disintegration.All this leads me to the following conclusions:
- It is futile to reform education. It will change naturally when we shift to networked democracies.
- The democracies will change as the economies, systems and premises of capitalism change.
- These changes have been initiated by technologies, but will take hold when the next generation takes them for granted as they come into power.
- The ways industrialized democracies have governed and educated their citizens will not make sense to children raised in the freedoms of vast networks.