This year the realities of economic unrest from industrial disruption became a crisis for many, a reversal of disastrous proportions. You might not know it yet, but everything changed in 2020 ... for everyone. Welcome to the next phase of the Fourth Industrial Revolution! (#4IR)
But what are Industrial Revolutions?
What’s happening now, as in every Industrial Revolution that has come before, is cyclical. Seen in America’s three previous Industrial Revolutions, history repeats itself as tech innovation leads to industrial disruption, which yields economic unrest and, ultimately, warfare.
Industrial Revolutions - A Predictable Path
During the First Industrial Revolution, for example, the cotton gin changed agriculture forever by accelerating cotton’s replacement of hemp production in America, aiding the shift of the North from rural to urban and contributing to the divide that ultimately led to the Civil War. Innovations such as steam power and railroads further influenced North-South divisions during the First Industrial Revolution and were key to the North’s success in winning the Civil War in 1865.
As new forms of manufacturing emerged, society expanded and industrial cities with specialized functions such as steel, textiles, or tools, became the norm. For the first time in America, some types of animal and human labor were substituted by mechanical labor and tech innovation became a hallmark of the States with inventions such as the steam boat, spinning jenny, cotton gin, telegraph, weaving loom and railroads.
Following the Civil War, the pace of industrialization in the States hastened towards a second Revolution. This “Age of Invention” saw communication, transportation and industrial production innovations from famous inventors such as Thomas Edison, Alexander Graham Bell and Henry Ford. The telephone, typewriter and motion picture changed the way we communicate and impacted cultures around the world; manufacturing and production continued to advance with the introduction of electricity, the electric generator and refrigerators; the automobile created a new American culture of connectivity; mass production and assembly lines changed the planet forever and directly influenced the outcome of World War II (1939-1945).
While the Second Industrial Revolution offered new opportunities for leisure that made the American Middle Class a possibility, this “Gilded Age” also saw industrial disruptions such as the monopolies of Carnegie Steel and Rockefeller’s Standard Oil that led to the working class largely transitioning from a rural to an urban society. Many found themselves in deplorable housing conditions and living in slums plagued by disease even before the Great Depression brought wide-sweeping global economic unrest and the second World War.
During the Third Industrial Revolution, world-wide production networks, advanced manufacturing, integrated circuits and global communication capabilities such as the Internet led to new levels of business efficiencies never before seen. Referred to as a “Digital Revolution,” this third great wave of invention saw economic transformation set off by advances in computing and IT that opened a great divide between the skilled, wealthy few and the rest of Society. Further, the minimization of labor and transportation costs, combined with the automation of many manufacturing processes, destroyed the fragile American Middle Class and impoverished small-scale farmers, previously the back-bone of the American economy.
Globalization as an outcome of trade liberalization and lower transport costs was an obvious influencer both of and towards the Cold War, the Korean War, the Vietnam War and America’s continuous war in the Middle East.
What Comes Next?
The US Federal Debt-to-GDP Ratio is 136.68% for an assigned debt-per-taxpayer of $214,322. Considering the cycles of past Industrial Revolutions it seems clear what comes next for global economies - change. “You can’t know where you’re going if you don’t know where you’ve been.” Fortunately, we know where we’re going because we have been here before … several times.
Although where we are now in the cycle, exactly, is open to debate, what is clear is that in 2020 we entered a new phase in the Fourth Industrial Revolution. #4IR thought leaders of the past envisioned automation as the ultimate industrial disruptor to bring massive change and global unrest. They were wrong. What we see instead is the rise of blockchain technologies, cryptocurrencies and decentralized organizations as people around the world take control of their political and financial sovereignty.
For those of us prepared, change is a catalyst for explosive growth rather than economic unrest. This Fourth Industrial Revolution is your chance to achieve financial independence with new opportunities, thought processes, and ways of life limited only by one’s creativity. We’re excited you’re taking the journey with Divi!