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What the Future Holds: Insights from Social Science
     

What the Future Holds: Insights from Social Science

by Richard N. Cooper (Editor), Richard Layard (Editor)
 

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Predicting the future is notoriously difficult. But systematic analysis leads to clearer understanding and wiser decisions. Thinking about the future also makes social scientists focus their research into the past and present more fruitfully, with more attention to key predictors of change.

This book considers how we might think intelligently about the future.

Overview

Predicting the future is notoriously difficult. But systematic analysis leads to clearer understanding and wiser decisions. Thinking about the future also makes social scientists focus their research into the past and present more fruitfully, with more attention to key predictors of change.

This book considers how we might think intelligently about the future. Taking different methodological approaches, well-known specialists forecast likely future developments and trends in human life. The questions they address include: How many humans will there be? Will there be enough energy? How will climate change affect our lives? What patterns of work will exist? How will government work at the local, national, and world level? Will inflation remain under control? Why have past forecasts been so bad? The book concludes with a discussion of the intellectual and historical context of futurology and a look at the accuracy of predictions that were made for the year 2000.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
The discovery and explanation of phenomena and behavior are the crucial elements of science. The key to the success of any science rests with its ability to predict future behavior and events accurately. Editors Cooper (Harvard; Economic Stabilization and Debt in Developing Countries) and Layard (London Sch. of Economics; East-West Migration) here provide a collection of well-written chapters on a variety of subjects, with the purpose of encouraging more academic research and more public debate on the topic of futurology the study of foretelling the future. Predicting the future is difficult in any science, but the social sciences in particular face a more extreme challenge owing to the large number of variables that seemingly can never be completely "controlled." Many wonderfully complicated theories are presented here that will surely stimulate readers who possess a thirst for analytical and deductive theoretical challenges. Highly recommended for all academic and large public libraries. Tim Delaney, Canisius Coll., Buffalo Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
From the Publisher
"...[This book]serves a useful purpose by stimulating human responses to avoid possible disasters." Foreign Affairs

New Scientist
[T]here are valuable lessons here.

Foreign Affairs
...This book serves a useful purpose by stimulating human responses to avoid possible disasters.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780262032940
Publisher:
MIT Press
Publication date:
01/01/2002
Pages:
289
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.00(d)

What People are Saying About This

Joseph S. Nye
Predicting the future is impossible. Surprise is inevitable, yet we cannot plan our lives without predictions. This book provides an essential understanding of both the limits and the disciplines that we need to face the future more effectively.

From the Publisher
"How do we look in the eyes of others? After 9/11, the question is more crucial than ever, and What Does the World Want from America has assembled an interesting set of answers."—Joseph S. Nye, Jr., Dean, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University

Thomas C. Schelling
This book demands close reading. The editors have selected important, insightful essays.

Meet the Author

Richard N. Cooper is Maurits C. Boas Professor of International Economics at Harvard University.

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