The Art of Conjecture

The Art of Conjecture

The Art of Conjecture

The Art of Conjecture

Excerpt

It has become customary that commissions of experts meet to reply to questions like the following: what will be the population of the country, or even of our planet,SUPSUP SUPSUP in 10, 15 or 25 years, or indeed at the end of the century? What will be its composition in age categories, its regional distribution, its concentration of urban agglomerations? In what proportion will production have increased, what modifications will its composition and utilizations have undergone? How will the consumption of energy have been augmented, and in what forms? And equally for raw materials: where will these natural resources be obtained, and with what changes in the channels of trade?SUPSUP SUPSUP

Such questions are habitually classified under the headings of demographic and economic forecasts.SUPSUP SUPSUP They naturally give rise to others, commonly called social forecasts. Thus one will examine the explosion of the cities caused by the swelling of the manpower supply, their extension and the specialization of administrative, commercial, industrial and residential zones, the growing volume of the daily flow of transportation resulting from the separation of place of domicile and work. One will look for what changes in the structure of the job market will be entailed in the assumed progress in production and what corresponding changes may be expected in the structure of job qualifications, itself tied to progress in education. One will wonder to what new rhythm the discipline of work will be reduced and in what proportions the different forms of reduction will take place: shortening of the work week, lengthening of annual vacations, beginning work at a more advanced age, longer life after retirement; one will wonder what use will be made of this leisure time, important for the amount of consumption, but determinant especially of . . .

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