September 10, 2007

Prophecies of Doom and Scenarios of Progress

  • Paul Dragos Aligica

    Senior Fellow, F. A. Hayek Program for Advanced Study in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics
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Aligica, Paul Dragos. Prophecies of Doom and Scenarios of Progress: Herman Kahn, Julian Simon and the Prospective Imagination. New York: Continuum, 2007.

The images of the future and of the environmental and demographic challenges humanity will encounter in the coming decades tend to be framed in the public discourse more often than not from a "doom and gloom," "limits to growth" perspective. The origins of this propensity stem from the successful efforts of an intellectual and political movement that--starting from the mid sixties--tried to impose its pessimistic interpretation of the dilemmas posed by the technological revolution and the economic growth associated to it. This book by Paul Dragos Aligica focuses on the alternative paradigm, the pro-growth intellectual tradition that rejected the prophecies of doom and called for realism and pragmatism in dealing with the challenge of the future. The book uses as a vehicle the work of the two major founders of this alternative approach: Herman Kahn and Julian Simon.