Social Technology

Social Technology

Social Technology

Social Technology

Synopsis

Mr. Berkow steps out from behind his New York Times reporter's notebook to spin the tales of his life as a pickup basketball player. To the Hoop tells the story of a year in his basketball life, as he resolves to enhance his game and stave off the ravages of time. Berkow is one of the best sportswriters around, so it is no surprise that his basketball odyssey is one of the best sports books of this or any other year. --George Plimpton

Excerpt

This book is concerned with a reappraisal of methodology in the social sciences. It will not only attempt to establish the need for such a reappraisal, but will offer specific proposals for methodological modification of traditional procedures. The practical implementation of these proposals will be illustrated by examples.

It has been remarked that many of the difficulties that beset our world today can be explained by the fact that progress in the social‐ science domain has lagged far behind that in the physical sciences. Moreover, if we contemplate the continuing explosion of knowledge of our physical surroundings—a knowledge that will soon open up to us vast new techniques ranging from molecular to planetary engineering, with eerie implications for human society—we may well take a dire view of the future, unless we assume that the gap between the social and the physical sciences will not persist.

The disasters that may befall us if we fail to narrow this gap are many. Even if international relations do not deteriorate to the point of nuclear war, the despair of economically underprivileged nations and of underprivileged classes within nations may assume such proportions as to make the world a very tense and unpleasant place in which to live. Specifically, the disparity between economically lagging and advanced countries seems to be increasing rather than diminishing at the moment, and, consequently, an explosive situation is developing. Within prosperous countries, such as the United States, there is a distinct and growing threat that increased automation, coupled with an obsolete and aimless system of education, will lead to a restratification of society in which a large middle class may find itself without suitable employment and without adequate means of filling its leisure time enjoyably and constructively.

There are numerous other developments on the horizon, interacting with those already mentioned, that carry seeds of possibly ominous implications. Three are singularly thought-provoking: the restructuring of our cities entailed by automation, new materials, new modes of transportation, and, above all, vastly enhanced means of communication; the trend toward . . .

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