FUTURE WORLDS by John Gribbin


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Humdrum futurology: science expositor Gribbin, in clear but rather hectoring tones, offers a personal interpretation of recent Science Policy Research Unit (Univ. of Sussex) computer models which attempt to show how we can overcome our current problems and usher in a global utopia. Focusing on war, food, energy, and raw materials, Gribbin seeks a happy medium between the "doomsters" (Club of Rome) and "boomstars" (Hudson Institute), and opts for a relatively high level of economic/technological growth coupled with a more equitable distribution of wealth. On the prospects for war, Gribbin sees disarmament as a necessary prelude to high growth, but he has few ideas on how to achieve it. On population and food, he goes with the "there's enough food, but it's wrongly distributed" set, and assumes that population will level off as the Third World becomes more developed and better fed. On energy, he favors a mix of off and coal, sensibly used, along with developed solar, hydroelectric, wind, and geothermal power (he backs off on nuclear energy for the usual reasons). As for raw materials, a recycling-and-make-do-with-less approach will see us through, he thinks. And he offers three political models by which rich nations might acceptably aid poor ones. In paying minimal attention to pollution, environmental degradation, water resources, and cities, he is generally less balanced and readable than Barbara Ward, and he disparages Herman Kahn--whose revised views are broadly similar to Gribbin's own. Gribbin, then, has nothing much new or startling to say, and adds statistics and diagrams enough to bore even a computer. So it's dull fare--likely to disappoint even steady Gribbin readers.
Pub Date: June 1st, 1981
ISBN: 0306407809
Page count: 232pp
Publisher: Plenum
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1st, 1981


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