We may notbe able to predict the future with accuracy, but only a tour peril do we ignore imaginative forecasts. Allan Goodman charts the future as historians map the past and in the process uncovers trends that counter conventional wisdom about persistent world problems such as ethnic conflict, environmental degradation, and economic injustice. Just as very few anticipated the fall of the Berlin Wall and the vast changes that followed, many will resist Goodman's vision of a society in which people and robots work side by side and an international polity focuses on the principles of cooperation, interdependency, multilateralism, and interculturalism rather than on conflict models of the nation-state. Looking at the interaction of four central tendencies—democratization, technological expansion, regional integration, and the obsolescence of war—the author sketches a picture of a future imbued with ideas, populated by "ordinary heroes," and governed by the power of vision. Throughout, Goodman's own extraordinary vision is highlighted in breaks from the text to featured previews of news headlines for the 1990s, a series of special information boxes, and a provocative list of 100 inventions/discoveries for the twenty-first century. Challenging and engaging for specialists, students, and general readers alike, A Brief History of the Future is sure to spark the investigation, indignation, and (the author hopes most of all) imagination that the future requires.
Introduction -- The Forecast -- The Impact of the Idea of Freedom -- The Real Revolution: Communications and Other Technologies of Freedom -- Prospects for Regional Integration and Conflict Resolution -- The Obsolescence of War -- Circa 2000 -- Conclusions -- : What Happened, 1981-1990