Techno-Cultural Evolution: Cycles of Creation and Conflict

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Potomac Books, Inc., 2007 - Science - 288 pages
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Evolution has long shaped human behavior. Yet just recently have we learned that evolution based on natural selection is not the continuous process Darwin assumed. It is instead a two-part process of change and stability called punctuated equilibrium, with natural selection operating mainly on the frontiers of change. Taking account of biology's latest understanding of evolution, it becomes clear that culture evolves by a similar process. This is important because over the past 30,000 years most human evolution and the behavioral changes that go with it have occurred in our cultures-not in our genes. Knowing the process by which culture evolves clarifies the origin of many of our current problems, both within and between cultures. The author contends that new technology drives cultural evolution much as mutations change our DNA. The problem is that technology is now coming at us so fast that it is inducing "circuit overload" in cultures all over the world, leading to conflict. Techno-Cultural Evolution, which builds on the insights of such bestsellers as Jared Diamond's Guns, Germs, and Steel and Collapse, explains how this process works--and what it means for all of us.
 

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Contents

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
PREFACE
INTRODUCTION
PART IFROM RISEN APE TO HUMAN TECHNOCULTURE
1THE FROCA PROCESS OF CULTURAL EVOLUTION
2CLIMATIC CRISIS AND THE RISEN APE
3THE ICE AGES AND A BIGGER BRAIN
4TECHNOCULTURE TAKES OVER
15NEW TECHNOLOGIES OPEN INDUSTRIAL FRONTIERS
PART IVOPENING THE AMERICAN FRONTIER
16AMERICAS NEW FRONTIER
17CLASHING FOUNDER EFFECTSAND THE CIVIL WAR
18THE HIGHTECH FRONTIER TAKES OVER
19AMERICA ASSOLE SUPERPOWER
PART VTECHNOLOGY AND THEPROSPECTS FOR A METACRASH
20GLOBALIZATION AND ITS DISCONTENTS

PART IIEARLY FARMING TO DESPOTIC CIVILIZATION
5FARMING AS A NEW FRONTIER
A POPULATION EXPLOSION
7SOCIAL CRASH AS INTRATRIBAL ANARCHY
8ADAPTATION THROUGH DESPOTIC CIVILIZATION
9EQUILIBRIUM THROUGH REPRESSED TECHNOLOGY
10EMPIRES EVOLVE TO QUELL INTERTRIBAL WARFARE
THE FALL OF ROME
PART IIIFROM DARK AGES TO ENLIGHTENMENT
12FEUDALISM OPENS NEW FRONTIERS OF TECHNOLOGY
13EUROPE REVIVES TO EXPLOIT COLONIAL FRONTIERS
14DEMOCRACY CHALLENGES DESPOTISM
21RESURGENT HIGHTECH TRIBALISM AND A CRASH OF THE WESTERN ALLIANCE
22TECHNOLOGY AND THE GLOBAL ECOSYSTEM
23A POSTCRASH THEOCRACYFOR A STABLE GLOBAL ECOSYSTEM
24A MORE HOPEFUL SCENARIO
APPENDIX 1 SCIENCE AND EVOLUTION
TOWARD AN INTEGRATED THEORY OF HUMAN BEHAVIOR
NOTES
SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY
INDEX
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Copyright

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About the author (2007)

WILLIAM MCDONALD WALLACE retired from Boeing in 1992 where he was Chief Economist for commercial airplanes.

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