Mankind in Transition
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Mankind in Transition is a book by Masse Bloomfield. Bloomfield was born in Franklin, New Hampshire in 1923 and attended schools in Laconia. He obtained a degree in bacteriology from the University of New Hampshire in 1948 and a Master of Library Science from the Carnegie Institute of Technology in 1951.
For twenty-two years he was Head of the Hughes Aircraft Company Technical Library. While at Hughes, he wrote numerous articles for library journals. He has written several books, including Man in Transition (1993) and The Automated Society (1995).
His volunteer activities include acting as a liaison officer for the U.S. Air Force Academy. After some twenty years of service as a liaison officer, he was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Academy in 2009.
He describes human evolutionary history as a step function of punctuated equilibrium, with long periods of stability interrupted with short periods of transition. He argues that humans are now in a period of transition from a stable agrarian society through a transitional industrial and/or information society becoming a stable automated society. Each stable society has its own social organization. The animal society has a dominant male and everyone else; the tribal society has a chief, a medicine man, hunters and everyone else. The peasant society has a nobility, overseers and peasants in the food production category which also has a military category, a religious category, tradesmen and craftsmen. The transitional industrial society features top executives, managers and workers in many categories.
The technological evolution beginning in the tribal society had hand tools; the peasant society featured a plow, a domesticated animal on dedicated farm land plus a wide range of artifacts and tools; the transition to the industrial society began in England with the steam engine, textile machines and later it was the tractor that forced the peasants off the land and into the cities. Machines and computers dominate production in the industrial society. It is predicted that in the automated society all production will be controlled by computers. The forcing elements in the transition has been productivity. During periods of stability, productivity changes very little from year to year. But in a transitional period as we are experiencing, productivity changes every year. When productivity can no longer increase, we will be completely automated.
He asserts that humanity will develop a stable automated society. Humanity will also evolve into a new biological species in colonies living in distant star systems. The automated society will be one where everyone will have just about everything they want without physical effort. Everyone will be rich in today's terms.
- Accelerating change
- Punctuated equilibrium
- Technological evolution
- The Automated Society
- Bloomfield, Masse. Mankind in Transition; A View of the Distant Past, the Present and the Far Future. Masefield Books, 1993.
- Masse Bloomfield Biography and article archive