It used to be those who know vs. those who work.
In other words, it would be capitalists vs. workers, or for Karl Marx it might be proletariat vs. bourgeoisie.
That was how the society functioned. Those who had means to education were from families of those who know, and they would obtain more knowledge, therefore became those who know. Those who work scarcely had the opportunity to know, and their natural talents would slowly get buried from the exhaustion of having to work all day. I wonder how many talented people the society had missed back then…
Today in most matured societies, everyone had the equal access to education to a certain point. Everyone is educated to a certain level and acquires decent knowledge. It is a great thing, however it has broken down the social balance between those who know and those who work (put aside the debate whether this kind of balance is morally correct or not), and created a new social conflict ; those who know and enjoy the privileges of education VS. those who know but have to work despite their level of education.
It is no longer a conflict between social classes (those who know vs. those who work) but a conflict within a social class (those who know).
Education does not divide people anymore – almost everyone is educated -, and this new type of society is what is called Knowledge Society. In this new society, there is no way that the old system of capitalism (capitalists and workers) will work, since there is no distinction made by the level of education. There needs to be a new system, new equilibrium in the society of those who know.
How can we manage to find one?
I don’t know. But we can ask our ancestors who lived through social transitions, or anticipated new social changes. They might give us some advice of what to do, provide hints of where we are heading and offer deeper insights on humanity as a whole.
Thats is why I am currently reading Post-Capitalist Society by Peter F. Drucker. What an intelligent man…