War and Anti-War: Survival at the Dawn of the 21st Century

War and Anti-War: Survival at the Dawn of the 21st Century

by Alvin Toffler, Heidi Toffler
     
 

Are we plunging into a decade of bloody wars? Can they he prevented? In this highly original new book, Alvin and Heidi Toffler, two of the world's leading social thinkers and futurists, train their sights on a subject that has haunted humanity since history began: war and peace. Their premise is that the way we make wealth is the way we make war - that today's…  See more details below

Overview

Are we plunging into a decade of bloody wars? Can they he prevented? In this highly original new book, Alvin and Heidi Toffler, two of the world's leading social thinkers and futurists, train their sights on a subject that has haunted humanity since history began: war and peace. Their premise is that the way we make wealth is the way we make war - that today's revolutionary changes in business are being mirrored in the world's armies and the future of war itself. What is needed, they say, is a parallel revolution in the way we make peace. War and Anti-War describes how the U.S. military went from drug-drenched defeat and demoralization in Vietnam to high performance in the Gulf - a story with lessons for many businesses today as they, too, restructure in preparation for the twenty-first century. When America is groping for new strategies, when its defense industries are in crisis, and when peacemakers are being outsmarted and outgunned around the world, this book tells us why we seem bent on violence - and what to do about it. The forms of war, the Tofflers tell us, have changed throughout history: the agrarian age gave us the hoe and the sword, the industrial age gave us mass production and mass destruction. Tomorrow, as information and knowledge become the core of advanced economies, they say, we will see the triumph of "software over steel." Just as the theories of military strategist Carl von Clausewitz foreshadowed the industrialized war of the past two centuries - the bloodiest form of war ever - this book lays the basis for the "knowledge strategies" that will increasingly dominate military thinking from now on. The "smart bombs" used in the Gulf War provided only a pale hint of a not-too-distant world in which chameleon camouflage changes to match any terrain ... in which robots might make key military decisions... in which precision genetic weaponry can be programmed to attack a specific ethnic or racial group ... in which "virtual reality" weapons are

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The husband-and-wife team who collaborated on Future Shock present a chilling look at possible future wars. As set out in their earlier collaboration, The Third Wave (1980), the Tofflers' scenario portrays a world once bisected into First Wave (agrarian) and Second Wave (industrial) powers changing drastically as the U.S., Europe and Japan move toward a Third Wave economy that creates and exploits electronic information and advanced technology. The result on the battlefield, they claim, is the potential for more wars dominated by ``knowledge strategy'' and featuring high-tech weaponry such as battlefield robots, pilotless combat aircraft, omniscient surveillance satellites, non-lethal weapons like sleep-inducing agents, and by low-cost ``niche warfare'' using special forces. The Tofflers sketch a preventive strategy for peace that includes the sharing of information technology to halt weapons proliferation and the creation of a ``rapid reaction contingency broadcasting force'' capable of beaming news anywhere in the world. (Oct.)
Library Journal
Joined by wife Heidi, Alvin Toffler ( Future Shock , LJ 7/70; The Third Wave , LJ 4/1/80; Powershift , LJ 11/1/90) here turns to the subject of war. Seeing the phenomena of war as related to the level of technology and production in society, they focus on the ``Third Wave'' form of war, as exemplified by the Gulf War. Taking way too much credit for their own influence on the thinking of military strategists, the Tofflers discuss how the new production technology has transformed war from the ``Second Wave'' warfare (i.e., the Vietnam-era military) to a new era of ``smart bombs'' and ``intelligent'' weapons systems. In addition, they argue that new forms of war require new forms of thinking about peace. Despite its occasional glibness, the Tofflers' work is recommended as a stimulus to thinking about the future of global military and political conflict. Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 5/15/93.-- Richard B. Finnegan, Stonehill Coll., North Easton, Mass.
John Mort
The Tofflers divide the contemporary and future horizons into three "waves." The first is agricultural; the second, industrial. The third--made much of by many writers--is the emerging structure grouped around the development, possession, and transfer of knowledge--in a word, high technology. Future conflicts will come because of the clash of these hierarchies--as second-wave nations attempt to become third wave, for instance. The Tofflers analysis of the Gulf War is intriguing in this regard: Saddam Hussein fought a second wave-style war and so, to an extent--with saturation bombing--did the U.S. and its allies. But it was smart bombs--and M-1 tanks that could, while moving, hit their targets 9 times in 10--that turned the war into a rout. The Tofflers follow with a discussion of future warfare, notable for its absence of front lines; the possibility of virtual combat (where humans control the engines of destruction from a distance); regional nuclear incidents; and the extralegal menace of powers that are not states, such as drug cartels. The Tofflers feel, also, that our methods of pursuing peace are as outmoded as second-wave war; they cite the mixed effectiveness of the UN, a second-wave bureaucracy, as an example. The Tofflers are upbeat and argue earnestly for peace, but their blueprint for war, sadly, is more convincing. This is a welcome synthesis of thoughts about war, high tech, and nationhood; it's no more profound or cutting edge than Newsweek, but it's lucid and will bring readers up-to-date.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780316850247
Publisher:
Little, Brown and Company
Publication date:
10/01/1993
Edition description:
1st ed
Pages:
302
Product dimensions:
6.48(w) x 9.55(h) x 1.19(d)

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