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Visions of the FutureThe Distant Past, Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow$
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Robert Heilbroner

Print publication date: 1996

Print ISBN-13: 9780195102864

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195102864.001.0001

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(p.38) (p.39) 3 Yesterday
Visions of the Future

Robert Heilbroner

Oxford University Press

This chapter argues that Yesterday signifies the onset of “modern” times, a period from c.1750. The changes that separate Yesterday from all that has gone before do not make their presence felt until well into the 19th century. This chapter also cites advancements of technology not only in Europe but also in China. In this period, science rose to a position of extraordinary importance because it began to supplant religion, the central visionary element of the past. Science, broadly interpreted to capitalism, moved via the stepping stone of economics which in turn led to social structures. “Political will” is another source of the dynamism that so sharply separates Yesterday from the Distant Past. This chapter tries to sum up the visions of the future that arose from the extraordinary changes of Yesterday.

Keywords:   Yesterday, science, religion, capitalism, social structures, political will

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