ANTICIPATORY DEMOCRACY: People in the Politics of the Future by Clement--Ed. Bezold

ANTICIPATORY DEMOCRACY: People in the Politics of the Future

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Anticipatory democracy is a term coined by Alvin Toffler (Future Shock), and has two seemingly self-evident components: in the belief that society has reached a rate of change at which we stumble along passively and blindly from crisis to crisis, anticipatory democracy--A/D, as it is annoyingly known to the initiated--aims to start planning for possible futures and to do so with maximum participation by all citizens. This anthology collects material on various efforts at institutionalizing this project, ranging from such groups and committees as ""Goals for Dallas"" (established in 1965), to worker participation at Western Electric, to the ""Electronic Town Meetings"" of the ""Constitutional Network"" in Hawaii. The 20 contributors--academics, business people, planners, politicians, public-interest activists--are an enthusiastic lot who believe that ""A/D is an idea whose time has come."" But, on investigation, ""A/D"" turns out to be less an idea than a public relations catchword. Utilizing opinion-research techniques and computer models of future trends, the projects oriented toward articulating future goals wind up conducting popularity polls (and who isn't in favor of improved education, transportation, balanced growth, etc., anyway?). Presumably, people will feel less alienated from government because they get to choose between equally inane and empty ""futures"": do you prefer ""Agricultural Washington,"" ""Balanced Washington,"" ""Urban Washington,"" or ""Northwest Lifestyle?"" As pervasive as the demagoguery is the wide-eyed fascination with the democratic potential of electronic communications, holding out the long-promised threat of opinion buttons on TV sets. Another effort by would-be technocrats to substitute technology for politics.

Pub Date: Oct. 26th, 1978
Publisher: Random House