Catalogue


Visions of the future [electronic resource] : the distant past, yesterday, today, tomorrow /
Robert Heilbroner.
imprint
New York : New York Public Library : Oxford University Press, [1996, c1995]
description
ix, 133 p.
ISBN
019510286X (pbk.), 9780195102864
format(s)
Book
More Details
added author
imprint
New York : New York Public Library : Oxford University Press, [1996, c1995]
isbn
019510286X (pbk.)
9780195102864
restrictions
Licensed for access by U. of T. users.
general note
Based on a series of lectures.
catalogue key
8569294
 
Includes bibliographical references.
A Look Inside
About the Author
Author Affiliation
Robert Heilbroner is Norman Thomas Professor (Emeritus) at the New School for Social Research.
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Publishers Weekly on 1994-11-28:
In this short, stimulating essay, eminent economist Heilbroner argues that humanity's expectation of a future measurably better than the past became widespread only with the rise of capitalism and its handmaiden, technology, beginning around 1700. By contrast, from the emergence of Homo sapiens to the dawn of the modern European nation-state, he contends societies preached acceptance of the status quo. Since roughly 1950, in Heilbroner's estimate, optimism about the future has given way to pessimistic resignation, partly because of decline in real incomes and growing political unrest. Predicting that capitalism will be the principal socioeconomic system in the 21st century, he ponders ways to prevent structurally or technologically induced unemployment. Given the requisite political will, he maintains, the U.S. could undertake a massive government-led program to create jobs and rebuild slums, while coordinated international efforts could stabilize population growth and eradicate poverty worldwide. Sadly, he surmises, the requisite political will is missing. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Appeared in Library Journal on 1995-01:
Economist Heilbroner's premise is that there are several ways of looking at the future. In the 100,000-year-long distant past, which ended in the 17th century, there was no vision of a better future. In yesterday's world (the two and a half centuries that followed), the idea of progress evolved, promising a better life for all. In today's world, however, the dangerous and dehumanizing consequences of scientific and technological change and a socioeconomic order (capitalism), less trustworthy than when it first evolved, have created great anxiety about the future. For a better tomorrow, Heilbroner believes that humankind must preserve the earth, stabilize the size of the population, abolish war, and give human nature the educational and cultural support it deserves. This is a thoughtful analysis, gracefully written. Recommended for most libraries.-Harry Frumerman, formerly with Hunter Coll., CUNY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Reviews
Review Quotes
"An elegant and slim volume that deals with nothing less than the expectations about the future held by pre-capitalist societies, by the world of the capitalist transformation (from 1700 to the recent past) and by the world today."--The New York Times Book Review
"An elegant and slim volume that deals with nothing less than theexpectations about the future held by pre-capitalist societies, by the world ofthe capitalist transformation (from 1700 to the recent past) and by the worldtoday."--The New York Times Book Review
"A thoughtful analysis, gracefully written."--Library Journal
"A useful contrast between Yesterday and Today."--Future Survey
'A worldly philosopher's provocative broad-brush perspective on what the morrow could bring.' Kirkus Reviews
"A worldly philosopher's provocative broadbrush perspectives on what the morrow could bring."--Kirkus Reviews
"A worldly philosopher's provocative broadbrush perspectives on what themorrow could bring."--Kirkus Reviews
"For those of us groping for ways to evaluate what's happening in our brave new world, [Heilbroner] makes a worthwhile contribution."--Business Week
"For those of us groping for ways to evaluate what's happening in ourbrave new world, [Heilbroner] makes a worthwhile contribution."--BusinessWeek
"Heilbroner takes us through the history of humanity, as seen from the perspective of the West, at an exhilarating pace....Punchy and thought-provoking."--Nature
"Mr. Heilbroner's thesis is positively charming in its oversimplification of complex history....Yet if Mr. Heilbroner's thesis seems simple...his substantiation of it is a wonder of elegant synthesis....[A] stimulating little book."-- The New York Times "A worldly philosopher's provocative broad-brush perspectives on what the morrow could bring."-- Kirkus Reviews "For those of us groping for ways to evaluate what's happening in our brave new world, [Heilbroner] makes a worthwhile contribution."-- Business Week "Mr. Heilbroner's thesis is positively charming in its oversimplification of complex history....Yet if Mr. Heilbroner's thesis seems simple..., his substantiation of it is a wonder of elegant synthesis....It is not comfort that one takes away from this stimulating little book. It is instead a sense that one has watched a series of stop-action photographs of human history and that one has seen nothing less than the span of civilization from its dawning to whatever form of twilight awaits."-- The New York Times "A thoughtful analysis, gracefully written."-- Library Journal "Robert Heilbroner is...a writer who combines an essentially literary intellectual style with a broad knowledge of and respect for economics....A graceful and learned essay."-- The Washington Post Book World "An elegant and slim volume that deals with nothing less than the expectations about the future held by pre-capitalist societies, by the world of the capitalist transformation (from 1700 to the recent past) and by the world today."-- The New York Times Book Review "The visions that human societies have held about what the future will look like is the rich and complex subject that economist Robert Heilbroner has masterfully limned in his new book."-- The Boston Globe "For those of us groping for ways to evaluate what's happening in our brave new world, [Heilbroner] makes a worthwhile contribution."-- Business Week "A worldly philosopher's provocative broadbrush perspectives on what the morrow could bring."-- Kirkus Reviews
"Mr. Heilbroner's thesis is positively charming in its oversimplification of complex history....Yet if Mr. Heilbroner's thesis seems simple...his substantiation of it is a wonder of elegant synthesis....[A] stimulating little book."--The New York Times "A worldly philosopher's provocative broad-brush perspectives on what the morrow could bring."--Kirkus Reviews "For those of us groping for ways to evaluate what's happening in our brave new world, [Heilbroner] makes a worthwhile contribution."--Business Week "Mr. Heilbroner's thesis is positively charming in its oversimplification of complex history....Yet if Mr. Heilbroner's thesis seems simple..., his substantiation of it is a wonder of elegant synthesis....It is not comfort that one takes away from this stimulating little book. It is instead a sense that one has watched a series of stop-action photographs of human history and that one has seen nothing less than the span of civilization from its dawning to whatever form of twilight awaits."--The New York Times "A thoughtful analysis, gracefully written."--Library Journal "Robert Heilbroner is...a writer who combines an essentially literary intellectual style with a broad knowledge of and respect for economics....A graceful and learned essay."--The Washington Post Book World "An elegant and slim volume that deals with nothing less than the expectations about the future held by pre-capitalist societies, by the world of the capitalist transformation (from 1700 to the recent past) and by the world today."--The New York Times Book Review "The visions that human societies have held about what the future will look like is the rich and complex subject that economist Robert Heilbroner has masterfully limned in his new book."--The Boston Globe "For those of us groping for ways to evaluate what's happening in our brave new world, [Heilbroner] makes a worthwhile contribution."--Business Week "A worldly philosopher's provocative broadbrush perspectives on what the morrow could bring."--Kirkus Reviews
"Mr. Heilbroner's thesis is positively charming in its oversimplification of complex history....Yet if Mr. Heilbroner's thesis seems simple..., his substantiation of it is a wonder of elegant synthesis....It is not comfort that one takes away from this stimulating little book. It is instead asense that one has watched a series of stop-action photographs of human history and that one has seen nothing less than the span of civilization from its dawning to whatever form of twilight awaits."--The New York Times
"Mr. Heilbroner's thesis is positively charming in its oversimplificationof complex history....Yet if Mr. Heilbroner's thesis seems simple..., hissubstantiation of it is a wonder of elegant synthesis....It is not comfort thatone takes away from this stimulating little book. It is instead a sense that onehas watched a series of stop-action photographs of human history and that onehas seen nothing less than the span of civilization from its dawning to whateverform of twilight awaits."--The New York Times
"Robert Heilbroner is...a writer who combines an essentially literary intellectual style with a broad knowledge of and respect for economics....A graceful and learned essay."--The Washington Post Book World
"Robert Heilbroner is...a writer who combines an essentially literaryintellectual style with a broad knowledge of and respect for economics....Agraceful and learned essay."--Washington Post Book World
"The visions that human societies have held about what the future will look like is the rich and complex subject that economist Robert Heilbroner has masterfully limned in his new book."--The Boston Globe
"The visions that human societies have held about what the future willlook like is the rich and complex subject that economist Robert Heilbroner hasmasterfully limned in his new book."--The Boston Globe
1. Preview 2. The Distant Past 3. Yesterday 4. Today 5. Tomorrow Notes Index
"A useful contrast between Yesterday and Today."--Future Survey"Mr. Heilbroner's thesis is positively charming in its oversimplification of complex history....Yet if Mr. Heilbroner's thesis seems simple..., his substantiation of it is a wonder of elegant synthesis....It is not comfort that one takes away from this stimulating little book. It is instead a sense that one has watched a series of stop-action photographs of human history and that one has seen nothing less than the span of civilization from its dawning towhatever form of twilight awaits."--The New York Times"A thoughtful analysis, gracefully written."--Library Journal"Robert Heilbroner is...a writer who combines an essentially literary intellectual style with a broad knowledge of and respect for economics....A graceful and learned essay."--The Washington Post Book World"An elegant and slim volume that deals with nothing less than the expectations about the future held by pre-capitalist societies, by the world of the capitalist transformation (from 1700 to the recent past) and by the world today."--The New York Times Book Review"The visions that human societies have held about what the future will look like is the rich and complex subject that economist Robert Heilbroner has masterfully limned in his new book."--The Boston Globe"For those of us groping for ways to evaluate what's happening in our brave new world, [Heilbroner] makes a worthwhile contribution."--Business Week"A worldly philosopher's provocative broadbrush perspectives on what the morrow could bring."--Kirkus Reviews"Heilbroner takes us through the history of humanity, as seen from the perspective of the West, at an exhilarating pace....Punchy and thought-provoking."--Nature
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Bowker Data Service Summary
Heilbroner's basic premise is stunning in its simplicity. He contends that throughout all of human history there have really only been three distinct ways of looking at the future.
Long Description
'This is an exceedingly long short book, stretching at least fifty thousand years into the past and who knows how many into the future...' So begins Visions of the Future, the prophetic new book by Robert Heilbroner. Heilbroner's basic premise is stunning in its elegant simplicity. He contends that throughout all of human history there have really only been three distinct ways of looking at the future. In the Distant Past (Prehistory to the 17th century) there was no notion of a future measurably and materially different from the present or the past. In the period he calls Yesterday (1700-1950), science, capitalism, and democracy gave humanity an unwavering faith in the superiority of the future. While Today, we feel a palpable anxiety that is quite apart from both the resignation of the Distant past or the bright optimism of Yesterday.
Main Description
"This is an exceedingly long short book, stretching at least fifty thousand years into the past and who knows how many into the future." So begins Visions of the Future, the prophetic new book by eminent economist Robert Heilbroner. Heilbroner's basic premise is stunning in its elegantsimplicity. He contends that throughout all of human history, despite the huge gulf in social organization, technological development, and cultural achievement that divides us from the earliest known traces of homo sapiens, there have really only been three distinct ways of looking at the future. During a period Heilbroner refers to simply as the Distant Past, stretching from prehistory to the appearance of modern nation-states in seventeenth century Europe, there was no notion of a future measurably and materially different from the present or the past. From the Stone Age to the Bronze,Mesopotamia and Egypt to Greece and Rome, and throughout the Middle Ages, a continuum of cultures and civilizations shared one defining expectation--the absence of any expectation of material progress for the great masses of people. Heilbroner maintains that it was not until the first stirrings of the period he refers to as Yesterday, spanning from roughly 1700 to 1950, that the future entered into human consciousness as a great beckoning force. Capitalism, continually reinvigorated by the seemingly endless forward march ofscience and an evolving sense of democracy, appeared to promise all levels of society some expectation of a future at least somewhat better than the past. It was this unwavering faith in the superiority of the future that separated Yesterday from the age we have now entered, that of Today. While weare still driven towards tomorrow by the same forces that determined the recent past, the lessons of Hiroshima and Chernobyl, the chaos in the former Soviet Union, the stagnation of the West, and the anarchic rage unleashed in our inner cities and in hot spots around the globe have brought on apalpable anxiety that is quite apart from both the resignation of the Distant Past or the bright optimism of Yesterday. In a brilliant conclusion drawing together the threat of nuclear blackmail, global warming and the growing commodification of life represented by video games, voice mail, and VCRs, Visions of the Future issues a call to face the challenges of the twenty-first century with a new resolvestrengthened by the inspiration of our collective past.
Main Description
"This is an exceedingly long short book, stretching at least fifty thousand years into the past and who knows how many into the future." So begins Visions of the Future , the prophetic new book by eminent economist Robert Heilbroner. Heilbroner's basic premise is stunning in its elegant simplicity. He contends that throughout all of human history, despite the huge gulf in social organization, technological development, and cultural achievement that divides us from the earliest known traces of homo sapiens, there have really only been three distinct ways of looking at the future. During a period Heilbroner refers to simply as the Distant Past, stretching from prehistory to the appearance of modern nation-states in seventeenth century Europe, there was no notion of a future measurably and materially different from the present or the past. From the Stone Age to the Bronze, Mesopotamia and Egypt to Greece and Rome, and throughout the Middle Ages, a continuum of cultures and civilizations shared one defining expectation--the absence of any expectation of material progress for the great masses of people. Heilbroner maintains that it was not until the first stirrings of the period he refers to as Yesterday, spanning from roughly 1700 to 1950, that the future entered into human consciousness as a great beckoning force. Capitalism, continually reinvigorated by the seemingly endless forward march of science and an evolving sense of democracy, appeared to promise all levels of society some expectation of a future at least somewhat better than the past. It was this unwavering faith in the superiority of the future that separated Yesterday from the age we have now entered, that of Today. While we are still driven towards tomorrow by the same forces that determined the recent past, the lessons of Hiroshima and Chernobyl, the chaos in the former Soviet Union, the stagnation of the West, and the anarchic rage unleashed in our inner cities and in hot spots around the globe have brought on a palpable anxiety that is quite apart from both the resignation of the Distant Past or the bright optimism of Yesterday. In a brilliant conclusion drawing together the threat of nuclear blackmail, global warming and the growing commodification of life represented by video games, voice mail, and VCRs, Visions of the Future issues a call to face the challenges of the twenty-first century with a new resolve strengthened by the inspiration of our collective past.
Main Description
"This is an exceedingly long short book, stretching at least fifty thousand years into the past and who knows how many into the future." So beginsVisions of the Future, the prophetic new book by eminent economist Robert Heilbroner. Heilbroner's basic premise is stunning in its elegant simplicity. He contends that throughout all of human history, despite the huge gulf in social organization, technological development, and cultural achievement that divides us from the earliest known traces of homo sapiens, there have really only been three distinct ways of looking at the future. During a period Heilbroner refers to simply as the Distant Past, stretching from prehistory to the appearance of modern nation-states in seventeenth century Europe, there was no notion of a future measurably and materially different from the present or the past. From the Stone Age to the Bronze, Mesopotamia and Egypt to Greece and Rome, and throughout the Middle Ages, a continuum of cultures and civilizations shared one defining expectation--the absence of any expectation of material progress for the great masses of people. Heilbroner maintains that it was not until the first stirrings of the period he refers to as Yesterday, spanning from roughly 1700 to 1950, that the future entered into human consciousness as a great beckoning force. Capitalism, continually reinvigorated by the seemingly endless forward march of science and an evolving sense of democracy, appeared to promise all levels of society some expectation of a future at least somewhat better than the past. It was this unwavering faith in the superiority of the future that separated Yesterday from the age we have now entered, that of Today. While we are still driven towards tomorrow by the same forces that determined the recent past, the lessons of Hiroshima and Chernobyl, the chaos in the former Soviet Union, the stagnation of the West, and the anarchic rage unleashed in our inner cities and in hot spots around the globe have brought on a palpable anxiety that is quite apart from both the resignation of the Distant Past or the bright optimism of Yesterday. In a brilliant conclusion drawing together the threat of nuclear blackmail, global warming and the growing commodification of life represented by video games, voice mail, and VCRs,Visions of the Futureissues a call to face the challenges of the twenty-first century with a new resolve strengthened by the inspiration of our collective past.
Unpaid Annotation
A prophetic vision of the shape of things to come, from one of America's most eloquent economists. Heilbroner gives a penetrating historical overview of how we have thought about the future through the ages, and issues a clarion call to face the challenges of the 21st century with a new awareness and resolve strengthened by the inspiration of our past.
Table of Contents
Previewp. 3
The Distant Pastp. 17
Yesterdayp. 39
Todayp. 67
Tomorrowp. 93
Notesp. 121
Indexp. 129
Table of Contents provided by Syndetics. All Rights Reserved.

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