Monday, 27 June 2011

Review: 1975: And the Changes to Come

1975: And the Changes to Come by Arnold B Barach & the Kiplinger Washington Editors. (1962)

 Predicting the future is a tricky business and more than one profit has ended up with egg on his face instead of laurels on his brow. That's one of the things that makes it fun and it's also one of the reasons why looking back at old predictions is a valuable historical tool.  A correct prediction is dull and tells us very little, but an incorrect prediction is like a machine that breaks down; what went wrong tells you much more than what went right.  In the prediction stakes, 1975 is remarkable for being one of the more sober looks ahead.  Inspired by a 1960 article in Kiplinger magazine, 1975 is author Arnold B Barach and the Kiplinger editors attempt to take a serious look at the world of the near future.  The reason?  To give the public

They do a credible job.  Not only do we have the gee-whiz technology stuff illustrated with many rare photos of mock ups and prototypes, but the chapters delve into questions of population statistics, demography, education, consumerism, suburbanisation, transportation, atomic power, and space flight.  There's even a chapter on the best investments for the next decade.  Much of the analysis is sober and matter of fact and shows that the concerns of the 21st century had their precursors in the 1960s and that fears of big government were just as great then as they are now.  The only thing that's changed is the scale of the threat, which is something of a blessing when you think about it.

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