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Why We Need to Pick Up Alvin Toffler's Torch - NY Times
More than 40 years ago, Alvin Toffler, a writer who had fashioned himself into one of the first futurists, warned that the accelerating pace of technological change would soon make us all sick. He called the sickness "future shock," ...

"unless intelligent steps are taken to combat it," he warned, "millions of human beings will find themselves increasingly disoriented, progressively incompetent to deal rationally with their environments."

... it seems clear that his diagnosis has largely panned out, with local and global crises arising daily from our collective inability to deal with ever-faster change. ... It's not just future shock; we now have future blindness.

Schengen is toast!
by epochepoque on Mon Jul 11th, 2016 at 12:30:26 AM EST
Alvin Toffler Saw The Future Before It Arrived

Alvin Toffler, the noted futurist, passed away last week. He was 87. Toffler saw it all before it happened. Through his seminal books, Future Shock (1970) and The Third Wave, (1980)  he accurately predicted the trajectory technology and society would take -- from centralized, mass industrial institutions to de-centralized, "de-massified," customized niches and networks. He saw that knowledge would replace labor and capital as the key driver of wealth creation and called this new era The Information Age. And he worried that the accelerated pace of change could well overwhelm us and precipitate "wave conflict" between different speeds of change. In short, he got the big picture right.

If what he said in the 1970s and 1980s turned out to be right by the first decades of the 21st century, are his prognostications from 2006 about the times ahead panning out now? I interviewed him then about his last book, Revolutionary Wealth, written with his wife and muse Heidi. Below are excepts of that interview in which Toffler talked about the "outside brain" of big data, how companies "outsource labor" to the consumer, desktop manufacturing and the unworkability of the European Union, among other topics.

iPods, cloning, outsourcing, Googling. All these disparate changes and breakthroughs are not only transforming our lives; you argue they are converging into "a new wealth system." How is this new system a departure from the economics we're familiar with? In two ways: First, knowledge is now the key driver of wealth creation, and, second, the radical fusion of production and consumption will lead to the explosion of the "non-money" economy.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Mon Jul 11th, 2016 at 03:11:41 AM EST
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Alvin Toffler, author of Future Shock, dies aged 87
In Future Shock Toffler also speculated that the rising general prosperity of the 1960s would continue indefinitely.

"We made the mistake of believing the economists of the time," Toffler told Wired magazine in 1993. "They were saying, as you may recall, `We've got this problem of economic growth licked. All we need to do is fine-tune the system.' And we bought it" [...]

Toffler, a native of New York City, was born on 4 October 1928 to Jewish Polish immigrants. He graduated from New York University, was a Marxist and union activist in his youth, and continued to question the fundamentals of the market economy long after his politics moderated. He knew the industrial life firsthand through his years as a factory worker in Ohio.

This problem of economic growth... So Toffler did not take planetary limitations seriously. Knowledge economy is infinite, so no worry about nutrition, social satisfaction of presumed knowledge takers.

For the middle and lower classes, prosperity limitations are pressing hard for decades already. They know on their skin that customary American Dream aspirations are neither enough for comfortable future, nor achievable to everyone. That is why they do not trust "rational" progressives. They would rather protect the subsistence they have, even if that looks racist, xenophobic, ignorant.

In the meantime, the 20th century infrastructure is crumbling, and no one seems to care. The global elites must be just busy with managing an inevitable deep decline.

by das monde on Tue Jul 12th, 2016 at 05:33:58 AM EST
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