Five Epochs of Civilization: World History as Emerging in Five Civilizations
Based on the idea that communication technologies are a primary shaping force of civilizations, "Five Epochs of Civilization" presents a new scheme of world history. It identifies five epochs of historical experience and associates each with a civilization focused on particular institutions. These are:
-- Civilization I focused on government, ending in large political empires
-- Civilization II focused on religion, ending in the three world religions
-- Civilization III focused on commerce and education within the nation state
-- Civilization IV focused on the media of news and entertainment
-- Civilization V focused on the internet and beyond
The communication technologies which triggered these changes in culture (and their approximate dates of introduction) include: ideographic writing (3100 B.C.), alphabetic writing (800 B.C.), printing (1450 A.D.), electronic recording and broadcasting (1920 A.D.), and computer networks (1990 A.D.).
McGaughey includes separate narratives for each of the four civilizations that have appeared to date in a developed form plus 'imaginative and plausible speculations concerning a possible fifth, computer-based civilization'.
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