What the Tofflers Wrote About Rates of Change

In 2006, futurists Alvin Toffler and Heidi Toffler captured the relative speed of change throughout society with this scale: businesses appear to be adopting new information technologies and adapting to them at 100 miles per hour, with other organizations (such as professional organizations and non-governmental organizations) moving almost as quickly; families in the United States are moving at 60 miles per hour. Schools and other bureaucracies are moving at a mere 25 miles per hour. Political parties and legislative processes are moving even slower, at three miles per hour in the Tofflers’ estimate.

If we accept this scale, then it is reasonable to assume that schools would be adopting and adapting to new technologies faster than they are if it were not for the slowing caused by political actions (such as No Child Left Behind legislation and the Common Core State Standards initiative) undertaken to “fix schools.”

While the rule of law is vital to the survival of democracies and the economies the support democracies as well as the protection of minorities (“mob rule” is generally not  good way to encourage stable societies), there are times when the lag of political and legislative responses makes observers question their attention.

relative rates of change


Toffler, A., & Toffler, H. (2006). Revolutionary wealth. New York: Knopf.