AN INCOMPLETE GUIDE TO THE FUTURE by Willis W. Harman

AN INCOMPLETE GUIDE TO THE FUTURE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Futures research"" has generated such opposing views as the limited growth philosophy of the Club of Rome and Herman Kahn's cheery contention that continued technological expansion will provide all the (technological) fixes we need. Willis Harman, professor of engineering-economics and director of Stanford Research Institute's Center for Study of Social Policy, also seems an optimist. His prescription for the future is radically different from Kahn's, however. He affirms the need for passage from the current state to a harmonious ""transindustrial society."" This will depend on fundamental changes in the values and goals of individuals, corporations, governments. His shift in the paradigm would have an individual working with nature, espousing an ""ecological ethic"" and seeking self-actualization in the best spiritual-humanistic psychology tradition. Otherwise he envisions no way out of four major dilemmas: current growth (at the expense of resource depletion and waste); work-roles (under- or unemployment and the meaninglessness of work); distribution (the growing gap between rich and poor); and control (the technological machine getting out of hand). He sees signs that a shift is possible in the various political and environmental movements, in the turning toward mysticism and the increasing respectability of ESP and the like. Here the skeptic must part company. Harmon's professorial prose serves him well enough in analyzing the status quo, but his passage to transindustrial society seems more devout wish than realistic projection.

Pub Date: Oct. 20th, 1976
ISBN: 0393950069
Publisher: San Francisco Book Co.--dist. by Simon & Schuster