As we, in the advanced countries, move into a post-industrial era I often wonder what its characteristic mode of habitation will be. We have had three so far:
1. Hunter-gatherer Era — most people spent most of their time in small isolated groups in the natural environment, typically of no more than about 150 people;
2. Agrarian Era — most people spent most of their time in even smaller isolated groups — families — in semi-natural environments. They are subsumed in large empires and taxed by powerful military leaders;
3. Industrial Era — most people spend most of their time in larger concentrations in unnatural environments — cities — set within nation-states. The more successful people are increasingly living and working in cities for part of their lives but also tend to have a second homes in semi-natural environments for week-end use or perhaps retire to.
There’s not a lot of choice between living in a natural environment and an unnatural one is there? At present, most of us are stuck most of the time in the middle. On the assumption that nation-states can no longer make war against each other because it’s mutually destructive — and costly to governments (hence no more welfare state either) — can we make a reasonable stab at what our mode of life might be when we’re fully into a post-industrial society?
My suggestion: Most people will be married and raise their families in cities, working there until their children want to be independent and, in turn, complete their specialist education for full-time work before finding partners of their own. Meanwhile the original parents re-locate to the countryside — as close to a natural environment as possible — and join living and (specialized) working groups there of a size tending towards those of communities of the First Era.