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Copyright © 2002 -
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The Big Answer


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America Beyond 2001

a book by Oliver W. Markley and Walter R. McCuan, eds.

(our site's book review)

The editors present various perspectives on the future.

Christopher J. Check argues for the restoration of the nuclear and traditional family to preclude the dysfunctionality in our culture, as evidenced in the tragic statistics of the social dysfunction and family dysfunction now rampant in American society. He says that information technology can benefit those who concur with his restoration goals, by allowing families to stay home and telecommute to work. (PSBs in MCs are also a way for information technology to facilitate the evolution of better functionality in families.)

The Tofflers also saw the possibility of family strengthening and unification through electronic cottages—a term they popularized, which could help homes to once again be the center of society. Their electronic expanded family idea (in which friends or apprentices become part of a household to the benefit of both the business functioning and the family functioning) and Dytchwald’s matrix family ideas dovetail with others’ futurist thinking where the relatively resourceless nature of current family lifestyles is transformed for the better.

Toffler's electronic expanded family idea has friends or apprentices becoming part of a household to the benefit of both the business functioning and the family functioning
Toffler's electronic expanded family idea has friends or apprentices becoming part of a household to the benefit of both the business functioning and the family functioning

Claudia Wallis argues that loosely-knit clans will be the future family norm. Unlike Check, she expects traditional families to decline, and educational success to continue to deteriorate. So there won’t be qualified workers for jobs. (In truth, America will simply have to do more of what it already does a lot of: hire foreign workers who can get the job done overseas at less cost, or attract foreigners who are qualified to come to the U.S. to work. This says good things about the future American economy, but bad things about the average American worker and the wages s/he may have to settle for if s/he continues to take low-paying jobs since s/he’s not qualified for the better ones. Is s/he wise enough to belay the foolish grumbling about foreigners and get the education and knowledge needed to thrive in the global economy?)

border crossing; we NEED foreigners since Americans often don't have the right knowledge for American jobs
Border crossing; we NEED foreigners since Americans often don't have the right knowledge for American jobs

Tom Forester seems to say that the Information Age is a sham—where is it? He doesn’t see much of anything. Of course, he wrote about this in 1992—a lot has happened in the meantime. It is now 2013—only fools miss seeing the Information Age. It is everywhere. He even takes shots at Alvin Toffler for being wrong about the importance of electronic cottages, but, of course, Forester is the one who is mistaken, not Toffler. The gradual increase in this type of lifestyle is simply a fact of life in the modern world.

The Tofflers see the world trisected into three types of civilizations, in First, Second and Third Wave modes. Those who see this and plan accordingly (which most U.S. political and business leaders have not yet done) will be able to advance their interests effectively. Others, failing this, will stumble along. They point out that: “Thus it is Third Wavers who fill the ranks of the ever more numerous and potent grass-roots organizations. It is Third Wavers who dominate the electronic communities proliferating around the Internet.” And it is grassroots movements, not bureaucrats and political heroes engaged in social engineering, who will evolve the solutions to the important societal problems in our Third Wave future.

Grassroots movements, not bureaucrats and political heroes engaged in social engineering, who will evolve the solutions to the important societal problems in our Third Wave future
Grassroots movements, not bureaucrats and political heroes engaged in social engineering, who will evolve the solutions to the important societal problems in our Third Wave future