This statement represents the cumulative wisdom and innovation of many
dozens of people. It is based primarily on the thoughts of four
“co-authors”: Ms. Esther Dyson; Mr. George Gilder; Dr. George Keyworth;
and Dr. Alvin Toffler. This release 1.2 has the final “imprimatur” of no one.
In the spirit of the age: It is copyrighted solely for the purpose of
preventing someone else from doing so. If you have it, you can use it any
way you want. However, major passages are from works copyrighted
individually by the authors, used here by permission; these will be duly
acknowledged in Release 2.0. It is a living document. Release 2.0 will be
released in October 1994. We hope you’ll use it is to tell us how to make
it better. Do so by sending e-mail to [email protected]; faxing 202/484-9326 or
calling 202/484-2312; sending POM (plain old mail) to 1250 H. St. NW, Suite
550 Washington, DC 20005.

(The Progress & Freedom Foundation is a not-for-profit research and
educational organization dedicated to creating a positive vision of the
future founded in the historic principles of the American idea.)

Click here for some opening remarks from our own David Gelernter and
Gary Chapman.

The central event of the 20th century is the overthrow of matter. In
technology, economics, and the politics of nations, wealth–in the form of
physical resources–has been losing value and significance. The powers of mind
are everywhere ascendant over the brute force of things.

In a First Wave economy, land and farm labor are the main “factors of
production.” In a Second Wave economy, the land remains valuable while the
“labor” becomes massified around machines and larger industries. In a Third
Wave economy, the central resource–a single word broadly encompassing data,
information, images, symbols, culture, ideology, and values–is actionable

The industrial age is not fully over. In fact, classic Second Wave sectors
(oil, steel, auto-production) have learned how to benefit from Third Wave
technological breakthroughs–just as the First Wave’s agricultural
productivity benefited exponentially from the Second Wave’s

But the Third Wave, and the Knowledge Age it has opened, will not deliver on
its potential unless it adds social and political dominance to its
accelerating technological and economic strength. This means repealing Second
Wave laws and retiring Second Wave attitudes. It also gives to leaders of the
advanced democracies a special responsibility–to facilitate, hasten, and
explain the transition.

As humankind explores this new “electronic frontier” of knowledge, it must
confront again the most profound questions of how to organize itself for the
common good. The meaning of freedom, structures of self-government,
definition of property, nature of competition, conditions for cooperation,
sense of community and nature of progress will each be redefined for the
Knowledge Age–just as they were redefined for a new age of industry some
250 years ago.

What our 20th-century countrymen came to think of as the “American dream,”
and what resonant thinkers referred to as “the promise of American life” or
“”the American Idea,” emerged from the turmoil of 19th-century
in.dustrialization. Now it’s our turn: The knowledge revolution, and the
Third Wave of historical change it powers, summon us to renew the dream and
enhance the promise.