REAP THE WHIRLWIND: Industrial Society Uncontrolled by Karl-Henrik Pettersson

REAP THE WHIRLWIND: Industrial Society Uncontrolled

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This little doomsday book by a member of the Swedish Ministry of Industry is laced with self-contradictions. Pettersson claims that ""man is suited to small units,"" and deplores ""vast organizations,"" but then recommends cartel structures to supersede ""uncontrolled"" industry. He advocates a 25% reduction in the use of natural resources, yet observes that Sweden must expand basic industry by 10% annually to survive. He asserts that the crux of world crisis is the exhaustion of fossil fuels, then explicitly denies this, stating that ""the political and economic structure is out of date."" Pettersson contends that the present rate of Swedish industrial investment is so high that if companies continue their level of innovation, new plants and equipment ""would be obsolete"" before they are even installed; at another point, however, he admits that the average age of buildings and machinery when replaced is 40 years, thus refuting his own picture of frenzied modernization. No mention is made of thermonuclear fusion power as an energy solution, although Swedish physicists are highly advanced in this field. The omission is compounded by Pettersson's definition of resources as fixed substances, without considering how they reflect the technological level at any given time. The book is geared primarily to a Swedish audience, with predominantly Swedish examples; it reiterates a familiar point of view without contributing new depth, except as a gauge of the state of mind of Swedish officials. In the last depression, Sweden got by with steel sales to the German war industry, but this time Pettersson foresees plain austerity.

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 1975
Publisher: Atheneum