Mark Storm on A Time Between Worlds
Are we at a point of inflection like the Enlightenment? Let's hope so.
In Post scriptum (2022, week 12), Mark Storm has looked into the liminal time we are in — a time between worlds — where by 'worlds' he means epochs of human civilization.
This discussion ranges beyond the normal boundaries of the future of work, but work is enmeshed in the larger world, and as that world is subjected to new pressures, so too do we feel those pressures in work culture. As the world changes, so too does work.
Being between worlds
Emerge published an interview with Zak Stein, a futurist, educator and the author of several books, including Education in a Time Between Worlds, a series of essays on the future of schools, technology and society. He is also co-founder of The Consilience Project.
According to Stein, we are in a historical moment of profound transformation, in which the old world is passing away, and the new world hasn’t emerged yet. A time between worlds, as he calls it. “This relates to the idea by the historian and economist Immanuel Wallerstein, who saw broad historical patterns of what he called ‘world system transformations’, in which the whole modality of human existence, from economics to culture, changes. One recent example would be the Enlightenment, and the democratic revolutions that overthrew the ancient regime in Europe and moved us from a certain mode of economic production and cultural thought to a completely novel one,” Stein explains.
Wallerstein's work is The Modern World System, a comprehensive set of ideas that characterize economic history as a transition from the feudal system -- starting in Western Europe and the Americas -- and establishing a new economic/political system, in which today's world is contained:
The Modern World-System
Wallerstein's first volume on world-systems theory (The Modern World System, 1974) was predominantly written during a year at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences (now affiliated with Stanford University). In it, he argues that the modern world system is distinguished from empires by its reliance on economic control of the world order by a dominating capitalist center (core) in systemic economic and political relation to peripheral and semi-peripheral world areas.
Wallerstein rejected the notion of a "Third World", claiming that there is only one world connected by a complex network of economic exchange relationships — i.e., a "world-economy" or "world-system" in which the "dichotomy of capital and labor" and the endless "accumulation of capital" by competing agents (historically including, but not limited, to nation-states) account for frictions. This approach is known as the world-system theory.