This trichotomy of economic periods, which Toffler has announced elsewhere
as his own invention, is in fact so commonplace in the history of ideas that it
is hardly repeated anymore in intellectual work; the division of history into
three basic periods reflecting the chief means of production is at the heart
of Marx, for example, and has become the bedrock of materialist philosophy
ever since. But the “authors” of the “Magna Carta” don’t have enough
intellectual rigor to sustain their opening materialism, because the terms
that they lift from Marx (such as “factors of production”) very quickly
evaporate into a murky mist where material production seems no longer
relevant–instead, we’ll all be consumers and producers of knowledge, whatever
that means. Control over the basic necessities of human reproduction, such as
food, space, shelter, and a modicum of technologies used to make life
tolerable, like health care, doesn’t seem to impress the authors as
particularly important. It’s almost as if they’re saying we’re not only
passing into a new economic era but into a new evolutionary period as well,
one in which we’ll all live inside our heads, instead of on our stomachs and
feet. (Marx himself, in critiquing Hegel’s idealism, said that he had stood
Hegel back up on his feet, whereas before he’d been standing on his head. The
“Magna Carta” “authors” need the same kind of reversal.)


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