FUTURE TENSE by Ian Morrison


Preparing for the Business Realities of the Next Ten Years
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 A panoramic audit--more notable for length than depth--of the forces that could shape the business world, and middle-class lifestyles, over the next decade or so. Consultant Morrison (president of the California-based Institute for the Future) and his associate focus on seven developments deemed to be producing fundamental, even convulsive, change in the commercial climate. These range from the arguably obvious (the aging of America's baby-boom generation, advances in technology) through the ominously psychological (social insecurity, the quest for accountability). By way of example, the authors observe that an older, wiser (i.e., better-educated) work force is making increasingly complex demands on employers at the same time that US industry is downsizing or restructuring and institutions (schools, political parties, the military) have less influence with their traditional constituencies. While Morrison and Schmid concede that no one can predict precisely what lies ahead, they assert, plausibly enough, that those who review the possibilities will be in a better position to exploit opportunities or at least avoid pitfalls. The authors offer soothing, if general, counsel on how best to respond to the challenges of a premillennial era. For- profit enterprises are enjoined to genuinely care for the hired help, view knowledge as more precious than capital, and enhance their strategic vision; individuals are directed to consider the rewards of anticipatory initiative. However, absent from the welter of short-take wisdom on leveraging resources, self-realization, the information revolution, and other trendy topics is any systematic evaluation of bioscience, drug abuse, nationalism, terrorism, and allied agents of instability. Nor do Morrison and Schmid address the problems attendant to retaining a competitive edge with a domestic work force whose lower echelons are increasingly illiterate and innumerate. At best, a sketchy guide for those seeking perspectives on potentially earthshaking swings in the socioeconomic order on the eve of the 21st century.

Pub Date: June 23rd, 1994
ISBN: 0-688-12351-1
Page count: 356pp
Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1st, 1994