What the Future Holds: Insights from Social Science

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 ...

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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.

The MIT Press

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

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

The MIT Press

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.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780262532044
  • Publisher: MIT Press
  • Publication date: 4/1/2003
  • Pages: 289
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.75 (d)

Meet the Author

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

Richard Layard is Director of the Centre for Economic Performance at the London School of
Economics.

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Table of Contents

1 Introduction 1
2 The River and the Billiard Ball: History, Innovation, and the Future 17
3 The Future of Population 29
4 The Future of Energy from the Perspective of the Social Sciences 77
5 Modeling Climate Change Impacts and Their Related Uncertainties 123
6 The World of Work in the New Millennium 157
7 Threats to Future Effectiveness of Monetary Policy 179
8 The Architecture of Government in the Twenty-First Century 209
9 The Cybernetic Society: Western Future Studies of the 1960s and 1970s and Their Predictions for the Year 2000 233
Contributors 261
Index 263
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