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for Modernization

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Tone Modernization Club, Beijing

China Center for Modernization Research

Chinese Academy of Sciences



Science and Modernization

Prof.  Chuanqi He

Tone Modernization Club, Beijing 

China Center for Modernization Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences


According to the “Theory of Second Modernization”, there are four eras in the history of human civilization. They are the Tool Age, Agriculture Age, Industrial Age and Knowledge Age, and each era includes four phases, which are the Start Stage, Developing Stage, Mature Stage and Transition Stage. The First Modernization is the process and changes of the transferring from the Agriculture Age to the Industrial Age, from the Agriculture Economy to the Industrial Economy, from the Agriculture Society to the Industrial Society and from the Agriculture Civilization to the Industrial Civilization. The Second Modernization is the process and changes of the transferring from the Industrial Age to the Knowledge Age, from the Industrial Economy to the Knowledge Economy, from the Industrial Society to the Knowledge Society and from the Industrial Civilization to the Knowledge Civilization (fig.1). At present, we are in the process of the transferring from the Industrial Society to the Knowledge Society.

Science is the engine of the development of the society, and innovation is the spirit of the progress of the civilization. Science and innovation promoted the transferring of the human society.

1. Science and the First Modernization

The process of the First Modernization took about 210 years (1763-1970). Between the 14th to 17th century, the Renaissance, Science Revolution and Awaken Motion promoted the development and distribution of science and scientific spirit, which is the foundation of the Industrial Revolution. The first Industrial Revolution took place in the period of 1763 to 1870. The second Industrial Revolution took place in the period of 1871 to 1913, and science had the direct impacts, such as the new industries of chemical, electric and the internal combustion engine were based on sciences. The modern universities, research institutes and laboratories in the industry not only pushed the progress of science and technology, but also speeded the process of the modernization.

2. Science and the Second Modernization

The Second Modernization will take about 130 years (1971-2100). After the World War II, many developed countries increased the input of the R&D and enhanced the scientific education. Since 1970’s, the First Information Revolution (Personal Computer) and the Second Information Revolution (Internet) occurred, the knowledge economy (New Economy) emerged, scientific research and education became the components of the knowledge industries. Science and high education is the engine of the modernization.

3. The case studies of the role of science in the modernization

In the process of the First Modernization, science and education had the direct impact in many countries such as UK and Germany etc.. In the process of the Second Modernization, science and high education promoted the progress in some countries such as USA and Finland etc..