This book is not about “things to come.”
It is not about the “next century.”
Its thesis is that the “next century” is already here, indeed that we are well advanced into it.
We do not know the answers.
But we do know the issues.
The courses of action open to us can be discerned.
And so can those which, however popular, will be futile, if not counterproductive.
The realities are different from the issues on which politicians, economists, scholars, businessmen, union leaders still fix their attention, still write books, still make speeches.
The convincing proof of this is the profound sense of unreality that characterizes so much of today’s politics and economics.
And thus, while this book is not “futurism,” it attempts to define the concerns, the issues, the controversies that will be realities for years to come.
Some of the toughest problems we face are those created by the successes of the past—the success of the welfare state, for example; the success of this century’s invention of the fiscal state; the success of the knowledge society.
Some of the greatest impediments to effectiveness are the slogans, the commitments, the issues of yesterday, which still dominate public discourse, still confine our vision.
Also, some half-forgotten lessons of the past are becoming relevant again.
The nineteenth-century experiences of Austria-Hungary and of the British in India with the impact of economic development on nationalism and colonialism mean a great deal for the future of the Russian Empire, for instance.
This explains why a good deal of history is included.
This is an ambitious book that casts its net over a wide range of subjects.
Written in the United States by an American, it does not confine itself to American topics; it deals fully as much with government, society, and economy in Japan, in Western Europe, in Russia, and in the Third World of developing countries.
Yet the book may also be faulted for not being ambitious enough.
The impacts of technology on arms and defense; on the function and limits of government; on schools and learning are frequently discussed.
No chapter as such is however devoted to technology per se.
This subject, I felt, is abundantly discussed in a spate of works.
While highly important, technology is hardly “news” any more.
An even greater limitation: this book deals with the “surface,” the “social super-structure”—politics and government, society, economy and economics, social organization and education.
The foundations—world view and values and the shifts in both—are mentioned often, but are discussed only in a few short pages at the very end.
And there is no discussion of the spiritual agonies and moral horrors: the tyranny and brutal lust for power; the terror and cruelty; the naked cynicism, that have engulfed the world since the West’s descent into World War I. For this I lack both authority and competence.
This book does not focus on what to do tomorrow.
It focuses on what to do today in contemplation of tomorrow.
Within self-imposed limitations, it attempts to set the agenda.
Toward unimagined futures
The End of Economic Man: The Origins of Totalitarianism (1939) There’s still lots to learn here!!!!
The Future of Industrial Man (1943)
The New Society: The Anatomy of Industrial Order (1950)
Landmarks of Tomorrow (1957)
The Age of Discontinuity (1968)
The New Realities (1988)
Post-Capitalist Society (1993)
Managing in the Next Society (2002); Last section originally published earlier in The Economist (http://economist.com/surveys/displaystory.cfm?story_id=770819)
“The greatest danger in times of turbulence is not turbulence; it is to act with yesterday’s logic”. — Peter Drucker
The shift from manual workers who do as they are being told — either by the task or by the boss — to knowledge workers who have to manage themselves ↓ profoundly challenges social structure …
“Managing Oneself is a REVOLUTION in human affairs.” … “It also requires an almost 180-degree change in the knowledge workers’ thoughts and actions from what most of us—even of the younger generation—still take for granted as the way to think and the way to act.” …
These pages are attention directing tools for navigating a world moving toward unimagined futures.
It may be a step forward to actively reject something (rather than just passively ignoring) and then figure out a coping plan for what you’ve rejected.
Your future is between your ears and our future is between our collective ears — it can’t be otherwise. A site exploration starting point
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