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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.93) 5 Tomorrow
Visions of the Future

Robert Heilbroner

Oxford University Press

This chapter presumes that the forces that have established the differences of Yesterday from the Distant Past, and that still shape Today's world, will continue to exercise their role Tomorrow. Science and technology are sources of unease as we look into the future since it may be used as weapons of mass destruction. It is likely that capitalism will be the principal form of socioeconomic organization during the 21st century but some say capitalism will not last forever. Political prospects are certainly better in the advanced world. Mass political will, largely impotent during the Distant Past, has become the wild card of Today, and perhaps even more so of Tomorrow. Taken together the three forces formed the basis of an utterly new conception of the future as embodying Progress—power over nature, access to and expectations of improved material well-being, and political responsibility.

Keywords:   science and technology, socioeconomic organization, political will, Progress

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