Beyond Despair: A Policy Guide to the Communications Era

Beyond Despair: A Policy Guide to the Communications Era

Beyond Despair: A Policy Guide to the Communications Era

Beyond Despair: A Policy Guide to the Communications Era

Excerpt

In the mid-nineteenth century England deplored the decline of her yeoman farmers, who were believed to be the backbone of the country. All sorts of efforts were made to stem the tide.

Today, America mourns the loss of its heavy industry, which is believed to be the backbone of the country. All sorts of efforts are being made to stem the tide.

America's efforts today can be no more successful than were those in England more than a hundred years ago. The only relevant question is how long it will take us to recognize that we must change our goals.

Policies currently being proposed derive from the assumption that we have failed to achieve industrial-era goals. The reality, on the contrary, is that our very successes have produced new problems and possibilities which must be handled in ways totally different from those used in the past.

The goals of the industrial era are obsolete. We can no longer afford to strive for maximum economic growth. To do so will worsen water, land, and environmental problems; increase unemployment because of the job-replacing effects of computers and robots; and make the rich countries even more dependent on Third World countries for energy and raw materials.

The overwhelming evidence to support this conclusion is resisted primarily by two groups. First are those who are so caught up in growth processes that they find it difficult to look outside the logic of the industrial system and to perceive any other way in which the socioeconomic system could operate. They take the present patterns for granted and find proposals for fundamental change as incredible as they do disruptive.

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