SOCIAL SPECULATIONS: Visions for Our Time by Richard -- Ed. Kostelanetz


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Another collection of more and less visonary essays (after Beyond Left and Right, 1968) assembled in the belief that change has become the definitive feature of our age and that conventional social and political thought is no longer relevant. Kostelanetz insists that we must imagine beyond immediate problems and present feasibility, so his selection can't fairly be criticized on those grounds, whatever one may feel about the argument. The vision that emerges is a technological utopia with conveyor-belt transportation, domed or underground cities, robot servants, home computer libraries, etc., and the tone is set by Buckminster Fuller's statement that automation is the antidote to extinction from overspecialization. At the wilder extreme there are weightless playlands off the moon (Isaac Asimov) and anti-matter incinerators (Theodore H. Gordon); more gratifyingly sober are such contributors as Fritz Baade and S. Fred Singer who address themselves to food supply and weather prediction. Herman Kahn and a host of scientists and technocrats dispassionately sketch a broad range of possibilities in between. The categories here are History, Environment, Technology, and Cities; and the reading list is extensive. A promised sequel will take up the human side -- politics, economics, education, etc. -- which we would certainly like to hear more about.

Pub Date: Jan. 6th, 1970
Publisher: Morrow