Bibliographical Entries are drawn from educational, epistemological, critical, social change and peripheral approaches to the future as well as those that create the possibility for envisioning alternative futures.
Macrohistorical entries focus on the causes, mechanisms and stages of social change. Critical and interpretive entries point out how modernity has framed the future in univocal ways making alternative futures – gender, cultural, spiritual – all but fugitive. Critical entries problematize the present thus allowing new futures to emerge.
Entries from Asia and Africa stress the values and issues needed to create futures authentic to their traditions.
Finally, there are entries that explore the field and discourse of futures studies itself as well as those that give us some ideas of what the future might be like.
As with all bibliographies, entries are often based on personal preferences even as they claim objective knowledge.
This list is intended as a point of departure not as a conclusion of a journey.
Nicholas Albery, Stephen Evans and Stephanie Wienrich. World’s Best Ideas. London, Institute for Social Inventions, 1998, 300 pages.
Endless ideas on how to create a better world. Albery does not stop his creativity with this book. There is also DIY Futures, Creative Speculations (A compendium of social innovations, 250 provocative ideas, projects and speculations) and How to Save the World. Each book has short pity sections, packed with new and old ideas. This is futures qua practical actions.
Roy Amara, “The Futures Field,” The Futurist (February, April and June 1981).
A useful if overly empiricist reading of futures studies. Develops characteristics of futurists and maps the field with variables such as tools, organizations, objectives. His key contribution is the division of futures into the possible, probable and preferable. Also attempts to develop a criteria of the work of futurists. His section on the futures of futures studies entirely missed the development of non-Western and critical as well as interpretive futures studies.
Arjun Appadurai, “Disjuncture and Difference in the Global Economy,” Public Culture (Vol. 2, No. 2, 1992), 1- 24.
A fresh look at the intersection of culture, finance, politics and self. Less concerned with center/periphery structures than with cultural flows, particularly the creation of new diasporas.
J. Scott Armstrong, Long-Range Forecasting: From Crystal Ball to Computer. New York, John Wiley and Sons, 1970.
Still the best book on quantitative forecasting methods. Many abstracts of empirical studies. A must sourcebook for basic forecasting.
Yogesh Atal and Eleonora Masini, eds. The Futures of Asian Cultures. Bangkok, UNESCO, 1993.
The best book on Asian futures with contributing articles from Ashis Nandy, Susantha Goonatilake, Zia Sardar, Yogesh Atal, and others. An analysis of the impact of the West on Asia at global and personal levels. Assessment of the sources of cultural vitality in Asia.
Anandamitra Avadhutika, The Spiritual Philosophy of Shrii Shrii Anandamurti. Denver, Ananda Marga Publications, 1981.
Outstanding exegesis of Anandamurti’s spiritual philosophy, including spiritual stories, the theory of layers of the mind (from the body to the superconscious). More rewarding reading than a library of New Age literature.
Anandarama Avadhutika. Neo-Humanist Education. Mainz, Gurukul Publications, 2000.
Beautiful, inspiring book on education for children based on gender partnership, ecological sustainability, alternative futures, planetary spirituality. Lovely photos, packed with short essays on how to really create a better world. Amgk.email@example.com
Gunaprakashananda Avadhuta, Togo: A Proutist Approach for Solving the Problems of Lowered Living Standards, Unemployment and Rural Poverty. Lome’ Togo, PROUT Research Institute, 1991.
A comprehensive report on how to transform poverty in Africa. It was commissioned by the Togan President but used by the opposition once he rejected it. Concern for spiritual, cultural, and economic variables.
Rudreshananda Avadhuta, Microvita: Cosmic Seeds of life. Berlin, Ananda Marga Publications, 1989.
A new theory of life, arguing that life is both physical and mental, that microvita both create atoms and molecules and can be used to heal and spread ideas.
Rudreshananda Avadhuta, “Microvita: Unifying Science and Spirituality,” New Renaissance (Vol. 4, No. 1, 1993).
Attempts to unify science and the spiritual through the theory of microvita. Fascinating hypothesis, even if the approach is not entirely critical enough.
Tadbhavananda Avadhuta and Jayanta Kumar, The New Wave. Calcutta, Proutist Universal, 1985.
Examines Indian history, particularly the figures of Shiva and Krishna, with an eye of creating a new spiritual vision for future. Critical approach to major philosophical schools in Indian and European philosophy. Outstanding historical, philosophical and futures approach to social theory.
Richard A. Ball, “Crime Problems of the Future,” World Futures (Vol. 21, 1985).
Argues that with the breakdown of integrated, crime will become increasingly problematic. Who commits the crime if we are many selves, none of them real? Develops historical reading of crime.
Roland Barthes, Critical Essays trans. Richard Howard. Evanston, Ill., Northwestern University Press, 1972.
Among many postmodern writers who begin to deconstruct self and text creating the possibility for new futures.
Ravi Batra, Muslim Civilization and the Crisis in Iran. Dallas, Venus Books, 1980.
Creative interpretation of Muslim civilisation using Khaldun and Sarkar. Could have gained from using Islamic categories of the real.
Ravi Batra, The Downfall of Capitalism and Communism. London, MacMillan Press, 1978. First Edition. Second edition, Dallas, Venus Books, 1990.
One of the few writers to accurately predict the total collapse of communism. Convincing macrohistory of Western, Russian and Hindu civilisation. A future vision of a spiritual renaissance in the early part of the next century.
Wendell Bell, Foundations of Futures Studies. Two volumes. New Brunswick, New Jersey, Transaction Books, 1997.
The first volume takes a post-positivist position in explicating futures studies. While perhaps overly American in its epistemological lineage for my taste, still it is clear writing. Bell traces and develops the field step by step, such that even a cynic would be impressed. The second volume examines questions of ethics and the good society. Once again: clean, insightful and exhaustive writing. Places futures studies on the academic map in the West. Only a Yale Professor could have done so. Your bookshelf would be incomplete without these two volumes.
Clement Bezold, Julio Frenk and Shaun McCarthy, eds. 21st Century Health Care in Latin American and the Caribbean. Mexico City, Institute for Alternative Futures and Fundacion Mexican para la Salud, 1993.
Half the book is in English and half in Spanish. The entire book is about health futures, exploring genomics, complementary health, pharmaceuticals, globalization and information sciences. Scholarly and great trend analysis. Goal is to create a world health system that leads to health for all.
John Billingham et al, Social Implications of the Detection of an Extraterrestrial Civilization. Mountain View, California, SETI Press, 1994.
Output of workshops held in the early 1990s. Good summary of what might happen with Contact. As Nasa writes: what is at stake is the chance to gain a new perspective on humanity’s place in nature, a new level of discussion on the meaning and nature of life (At the very least).
Robert Brown, The Nature of Social Laws. Oxford, Cambridge University Press, 1984.
Investigates the nature of social laws. What are the assumptions behind the desire of grand thinkers to argue that the social is law-like?
James MacGregor Burns, Leadership. New York, Harper and Row, 1978.
Develops a theory of leadership. Who are leaders and who are followers? Importance of leaders in shaping the future.
Joseph Campbell, The Hero With A Thousand Faces. New Jersey, Princeton University Press, 1968.
Surveys the journey of the Hero–the struggle, the challenges, the betrayals and the ultimate victory. Metaphor for the self and for the challenges facing society.
Diane Campbell-Hunt and Kay Harrison, Unesco Cultural Futures. Wellington, New Zealand Futures Trust, 2000.
Great Resource for school children on how to create multicultural futures. All about creative ways to understand and design the future. A beautiful tool. www.futurestrust.org.nz
Roslie Capper, Amy Brown and Witi Ihimaera, in conversation. Vision Aotearoa. Wellington, New Zealand, Bridget William Books, 1994.
Visions of the future of New Zealand (Aotearoa) from Maori and Pakeha perspectives. Good story telling. Begins the futures visioning discourse there. “Vision has power, because through vision, you can reach beyond the ordinary.”
Kieth Chandler, “Modern Science and Vedic Science: An Introduction.” Modern Science and Vedic Science (Vol. 1, No. 2, 1987).
Mistaken attempt to empirically prove the spiritual. Does not argue for an alternative Vedic science but argues that the Vedas predate the system of modern science. Misplaced concretism. However, far more sophisticated science is at www.tm.org. Stunning experiments on how meditation increases IQ, health and longevity. Some sparse data as to the field effect, ie concentrated meditation leading to social well-being.
Danielle Cliche ed., Cultural Ecology: the changing dynamics of communications London, International Institute of Communications, 1997.
Perhaps the best book out on communication futures. Essays by Kevin Robbins in which he deconstructs the futuristic claims of Bill Gates and Nicholas Negroponte (the net will end class divisions and reduce if not eliminate distance, physical and social) and by Cees J. Hamelin in which he argues that a global conversations of cultures is needed that goes beyond the hype of the information society. Cultural pluralism is the vision and the challenge of the future, not an information society. Kostas Gouliamos argues that the new technologies continue the hegemony of corporatism, reducing civil and national democracy and Gary Marx investigates if the new information technologies are a threat to privacy. Forget the hundreds of books out on the information society, this is the one to get.
Auguste Comte, Positive Philosophy. trans. Harriet Martineau. London, Trubner, 1875.
The book and perspective that has outlined how the moderns think. For Comte there were three stages; the religious, the philosophical and the scientific. Modern futures studies continues this model. Critical futures studies attempts to use the pre- post- and differently-scientific to create alternative futures.
Teilhard de Chardin, The Future of Man. trans. Norman Denny. New York, Harper and Row, 1964.
Grand macrohistory with a spiritual-Christian dimension. Has an evolutionary base to it. Believes we are moving toward a bright religious future, the Omega point.
James Dator, ed., Futures Studies in Higher Education. American Behavioral Scientist. Sage Publications. Special issue. Vol. 42, No. 3, 19938, pages 293-554.
Essays by practitioners on how they teach futures studies.
James Dator, Emerging Issues Analysis in the Hawaii Judiciary. Honolulu, Hawaii Judiciary, 1980.
Short booklet that develops this important futures method. Illustrated with many examples of the life cycle of issues. Easy and humorous reading.
James Dator, “Its Only A Paper Moon,” Futures (December 1990).
Brilliant essay which takes issue to conventional notions of the natural and nature. Even if the real is only a artificial, “only a paper moon,” can’t we still honour it.
James Dator, “The Futures of Cultures and Cultures of the Future,” in Marsella et al (eds.) Perspectives on Cross Cultural Psychology. New York, Academic Press, 1979.
Posits four futures: continued growth, steady state, collapse and transformation. These four visions of the future form the basis for Dator’s approach to futures studies.
Merryl Wyn Davies, Ashis Nandy and Zia Sardar, Barbaric Other: A Manifesto on Western Racism. London, Pluto Press, 1993.
Short, witty and well written exposition of how the West has treated the other. Argues that with the potential end of five hundred years of colonialism, we have the possibility for authentic multicultural futures; a world of many civilizations negotiating the real might be around the corner.
Eric Drexler, Engines of Change. New York, Anchor Press, 1986.
Gives insight into the range of dramatic new nano-technologies that will forever transform economics.
Michael Dudley and Kioni Agard, Man, Gods and Nature. Honolulu, Ka Kane O Ka Malo Press, 1990.
Hawaiian epistemology, the basis of an alternative future for the world. For the Hawaiian, land and history are central; one lives in that episteme, one cannot choose otherwise.
Freeman Dyson, Infinite in All Directions. New York, Harper and Row, 1988.
Encourages one to rethink technologies. A physicist looks at the future, arguing that we need to see space travel through the eyes of biology: why metal, why not, organically grown spaces ships, he asks?
Riane Eisler, Sacred Pleasure. San Francisco, HarperCollins, 1996.
Decent macrohistory, great feminism, very readable. Brings in chaos and complexity to argue that we have moved from a partnership (the chalice) to a dominator (the blade) cultural system, and now through human agency we can move back to a partnership system. Calls for transformative knowledge. An excellent and important book. Also see, Riane Eisler, The Chalice and the Blade. San Francisco, HarperCollins, 1988.
Duane Elgin: A Vision of Hope and Action for Humanity’s Future. New York, William Morrow, 2000.
Elgin asks a simple question: if humanity was a person, what age would he or she be. He concludes that humanity is a teenager: no sense of the future, cliquish, materialistic, impressionistic, self-concerned (and at the same time idealistics). Humanity needs to make the transition from teenager to responsible and caring adult. Also see Elgin’s macrohistorical, Awakening Earth. New York, William Morrow, 1993. (Stage theory, evolution and the role of awakening consciouness)
Duane Elgin with Coleen Drew, Global Consciousness Change: Indicators of an Emerging Paradigm. San Anselmo, California, Millennium Project, 1997.
Continues along the earlier work done in the 1970′s with Oliver Markley and Willis Harmon on indicators that humanity’s image of self, other, nature and future is undergoing a dramatic shift to a more spiritual, ecological and planetary paradigm. Indicators for global consciousness change, global ecological awareness, postmodern values, experiential spirituality and sustainable ways of living are presented. The survey of the many empirical reports is quite useful but the study good have gained by citing and using sources from non-Western cultures. Still, the report provides hope for an alternative future, even if the data is mixed (as the authors do point out).
Mircia Eliade, The Myth of the Eternal Return. New Jersey, Princeton University Press, 1971.
Looks at myth and time from a variety of religious traditions. Very important book in showing the underlying structure of the spiritual worldview.
Amitai Etzioni and Eva Halevey-Etzioini, eds. Social Change. New York, Basic Books, 1973.
Short essays by Comte, Pareto, Hegel, Weber and others. Also discussion of modernization theories.
Frantz Fanon, Black Skin, White Masks. New York, Grove Press, 1967.
A landmark book that shows how the self is constructed by the Other. Shows why futures from non-whites must first deal with the problem of the West. Passionately written.
Kathy Ferguson, The Man Question: Visions of Subjectivity. Berkeley, University of California Press, 1993.
Using genealogy and interpretation, examines praxis, cosmic, and linguistic feminism. Excellent introduction to poststructural textual strategies.
Geoffrey H. Fletcher, “Key Concepts in the Futures Perspective,” World Future Society Bulletin (January-February 1979).
Quick summary of the futures field with excellent quotes from Edward Cornish, John Platt, Rajni Kothari, Lewis Mumford, Willis Harmon, John McCale. Postive, upbeat article that sees futures itself as a new paradigm.
Andre Gunder Frank and Barry Gills, The World System: Five Hundred years or Five Thousand. London, Routledge, 1996.
Are the units of macrohistory, civilizations or worldsystems? Did the world system really start in the 16th century or are world systems much more historical, with the 16th century merely a shift within the framework of the already existing system? The central debate in this book is about continuity and discontinuity in the worldsystem. Outstanding, if a bit overly world-systemesque, book with contributions from Frank, Gills, Amin, Wallerstein, and Abu-Lughod.
Christopher Freeman and Marie Jahoda, World Futures: The Great Debate. London, Martin Robertson, 1978.
Reviews the various global models (quantitative and qualitative). See in particular essays by Sam Cole and Ian Miles on assumptions and methods, and worldviews and scenarios. See also Sam Cole, “Global Models–a review,” Futures (Vol. 19, No. 4, August 1987), 403-430. Excellent review and critique.
Michel Foucault, The Foucault Reader. ed. Paul Rabinow. New York, Pantheon Books, 1984.
A mix of essays which outline archeology and genealogy. A great beginner to understanding one of the most influential thinkers in the late 20th century. Almost every page has insights, of particularly note his essay on “truth and knowledge” and “the death of the author.”
Michel Foucault, The Order of Things. New York, Vintage Books, 1971.
This book, while having little futures, shows how the boundaries of knowledge create and limit the possibility of the future. This is a history of the epistemes, of the peculiarity of knowledge regimes. Foucault believes that “man” will soon cease to exist and other less universal categories will frame us.
Foundation for the Future. Humanity 3000 Seminar No. 2 Proceedings. Bellevue, Foundation for the Future, 1999, 374 pages.
Stunning debate between geneticists, social scientists and futurists. Three questions are posed to leading thinkers: 1. What are the threats to the survival of humanity? What are the opportunities that offset or mitigate the threats? What are the emergent priorities to ensure the survival of humanity? Beautiful put together. Also see, The Evolution of Human Intelligence, 294 pages. And, edited by Allen Tough, When SETI Succeeds: The Impact of High-Information Contact. www.futurefoundation.org.
Anthony Galt and Larry Smith, Models and the Study of Social Change. New York, John Wiley and Sons, 1976.
Outstanding if dated overview of models of social change, particularly of the contrast between dialectical and equilibrium models. Discussion of exogenous and endogenous drivers of change.
Johan Galtung, Economics in Another Key. London, Polity Press, 1997.
A range of theories that go beyond criticizing neo-classical economics to showing how we can create a different type of economics that creates structural, civilizational and individual peace.
Johan Galtung, Essays in Peace Research: Vol. 1-6. Copenhagen, Christian Ejlers, 1988.
The best of Galtung on peace research, political design, nation-states, a structural theory of imperialism and more. Many excellent futures articles as well.
Johan Galtung, There Are Alternatives. Nottingham, Spokesman, 1984
Argues that there are alternatives to industrialism, capitalism, structural violence, traditional economics and economism. A primer for the self-reliance model.
Johan Galtung and Sohail Inayatullah. Macrohistory and Macrohistorians. New York, Praeger, 1997.
Moves towards a general theory of macrohistory through a comparative analysis of twenty macrohistorians. Included are such thinkers as Ibn Khaldun, Comte, Vico, Marx, Hegel, Ssu-Ma Chien, Sarkar, Toynbee, Weber and Sorokin. For each thinker there is a diagram which presents their macrohistory. The relationship between micro and macrohistory is explored as is between macrohistory and world politics. Numerous perspectives on what we can learn from macrohistory in understanding the future.
Johan Galtung, Tore Heiestad Eric Rudeng, “On the last 2500 Years in Western History: And Some Remarks on the Coming 500,” in Peter Burke, ed. The New Cambridge Modern History. Vol 13. Companion Volume, London, Cambridge University Press, 1979.
Compares the decline of the Rome and the West. Useful in gaining distance from the present by moving to history. Shows underlying structures in society as well as new forces that challenge these historical structures.
Johan Galtung, “Visioning a Peaceful World”, in Glenn Paige and Sarah Gilliat, Buddhism and Nonviolent Global Problem-Solving. Honolulu, University of Hawaii, 1991.
In this essay, Galtung uses a four fold division of power–military, economic, political and cultural to investigate the possibilities for peace in the near future. Attempts social design of global institutions to ensure a peaceful world including a global house of NGO’s, a people’s assembly and a house of world commerce. Abolition of war is similar to the struggle against slavery and colonialism. “We live in their utopia, which then proved to be a realistic utopia.” Brilliant and creative essay.
Martha Garrett et al, eds., Studies for the 21st Century. Paris, Unesco, 1991, 642 pages.
Everything you every wanted to know about how nations see the details of the future. A useful if somewhat boring resource. Still, crucial reading and great editing.
Jerry Glenn and Theodore Gordon, eds., 1997 State of the Future: Implications for Actions Today. Washington D.C., American Council for the United Nations University, 1997.
An important first step towards developing a global early warning system. Over 200 thinkers contributed to this effort. Eighteen issues are presented. These are spelled out through cross-impact analysis and scenario development. Dissenting positions are also presented. A very useful annotated bibliography concludes the report. While one might expect this report to be heavily Western and litany biased, in fact, the editors to a good job to move out of this position. Hopefully, future editions will be even more authentically global. A very useful book. Well done and solid future research.
Joshua Goldstein, Long Cycles. New Haven, Yale Press, 1988.
Empirical data on all sorts of economic cycles and their connection to social and political phenomena.
Michel Godet, From Anticipation to Action. Paris: Unesco, 1993, 277 pages.
Detailed account of scenario building from the European perspective.
Susantha Goonatilake, Toward a Global Science: Mining Civilizational Knowledge, Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1998.
Writes about science without the blinders of Eurocentrism. Useful resource.
Susantha Goonatilake, The Evolution of Information: Lineages in Gene, Culture and Artefact. London, Pinter, 1991.
Serious review of the literature of genetics, self-organizing theory, and social sciences through the lense of information theory. Evolution is the flow of the genetic, the social and the exosomatic. As these streams interact with the environment through proteins, limbs, technology as well as information itself, a flow of history comes into being.
Sandra Harding, The Science Question in Feminism. Milton Keynes, Open University Press, 1986.
Brilliant provocative book that undoes science. The question posed is” is it possible to use for emancipatory ends sciences that are apparently so intimately involved in Western, bourgois, and masculine projects?
Willis Harmon, Global Mind Change: The Promise of the Last Years of the 20th Century. Indianapolis, Knowledge Systems, 1988.
Drawing from Sorokin, this easy to read book, argues that we are entering a new mindscape, one that is global, spiritual/material. Harmon argues for a new science not based on cartesian divisions.
William Halal, “World 2000,” Futures (Vol. 25, No. 1, Jan/Feb 1993), 5-21.
Ambitious attempt to create a model of the future based on an international dialogue. Trends chosen are neither hyper-optimist not doomsday. In addition to global trends, includes critical issues such as leap to global order, alleviating the North-South Gap, managing complexity, reconciling economic interests and achieving sustainable development as well as strategies to realize the “global drive to maturity.” Well thought out.
Bernard Hamm and Pandurang Muttagi, eds., Sustainable Development and the Futures of Cities. Trier, Germany, Center for European Studies, 1998.
How to create sustainable cities is the driving question for this edited book. What are the planning implications for megacities? Are there are any bright futures out there for the futures of cities?
Wendy Harcourt ed., Women@internet: Creating New Cultures in Cyberspace. London, Zed, 1999.
Explores the gendered politics and futures of cyberspace from a multiplicity (what else) of perspectives. Excellent introduction to the emerging reality and field of cyberspace. Explores the possibilities for women in empowering themselves via cyberspace as well as the realities of technological power.
David Harvey, The Condition of Postmodernity. Oxford, Basil Blackwell, 1989.
Excellent introduction to postmodernity: the death of the author, metanarratives and the grand unity of modernity. Easy to read, well written, and excellent comparison of enlightenment and postmodern discourses. As might be expected, unable to include third world critiques of the postmodern.
Hazel Henderson, “From the Fossil Fuel era to the Age of Light,” Foresight (Vol. 2, No. 4, August, 2000).
Part of a special issue on the futures of energy/oil. Henderson. Argues we are moving to a solar age, a shift that can be grasped by OPEC, allowing it to play a lead role in global energy futures.
Hazel Henderson, Building a Win-Win World: Life Beyond Global Economic Warfare. San Francisco, Berret-Koehler Publishers, 1996.
Henderson continues her rethinking of economics arguing that economists are still the “thought police” of this century. Looks at globalism, the information economy, and efforts at new social and wealth indicators. Positive and inspiring without being mushy new agish.
David Hicks, Educating for the Future: A Practical Classroom Guide. Surrey, World Wide Fund for Nature, 1994.
How to teach futures to young people, practical support for teachers, lots of easy exercises, great graphics and charts. Tons of classroom activities. Inspiring and multi-layered and for many educational levels.
Samuel Huntington, The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order. New York: Touchstone, 1996, 367 pages.
Extreme realist position. Uses the lense of realism to understand culture.
Frank Hutchinson, Educating Beyond Violent Futures. London, Routledge, 1996.
Just a beautiful book that combines futures studies with peace studies and educational theory. Brings in numerous charts and pictures. As Elise Boulding says in the introduction: this book has had the courage to open the doors in young peoples hearts that formal education has all too often slammed shut. Chapter titles include, for example, “Resisting gendered and violence condoning images of the future in young people’s media.”
Sohail Inayatullah and Jennifer Gidley, eds. , The University in Transformation. Westport, Ct.Praeger, 2001.
Explores the futures of the University based on four trends: globalization, multiculturalism, virtualization and politicization. Chapters drawn by futurists, educationalists and political scientists from around the world.
Sohail Inayatullah, Alternative Futures: Methodology, Society, Macrohistory and the Long-Term Future. Taipei, Tamkang University Press, 2000, 63 pages.
Essay on Causal Layered Analysis, the alternative futures of the univeristy, and the long term future of humanity. Part of the Tamkang Chair lecture series delivered in 1999.
Sohail Inayatullah, “Deconstructing and Reconstructing the Future”, Futures (Vo. 22, No. 2, 1992).
Argues that there are three approaches to the future. Empirical which privileges empiricism and experts; interpretive which while sensitive to the meanings culture give to the future, relativizes the real; and the critical which deconstructs the future. Examines the politics of information asserting that decisionmaking rarely changes by having better forecasts.
Sohail Inayatullah, “Painfully Beyond East and West: the Futures of Cultures”, In Context (Summer 1988), 50- 53.
A very personal essay on the difficulties many experience when they are no longer part of any single culture. Becoming less defined by a particular culture is fraught with pain and struggle but the results are the seeds for a new post-nation, post-territorial global culture.
Sohail Inayatullah, “Rethinking Science,” IFDA Dossier 81 (April-June 1991).
Drawing from post-structural studies argues for a non-Western science. Draws largely from P.R. Sarkar’s alternative science of society. Also critical of misplaced concretism (the formula for the distance from Earth to Heaven, for example), that is, inappropriate non-Western sciences. Develops a multi-dimensional theory of temporality (linear, cyclical and spiral types).
Sohail Inayatullah, guest editor, “The Futures of South Asia,” Futures (November 1992). Includes essays on Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, the Himalayan region and Bangladesh. Essays examine images of the region’s futures and the problems with creating futures in an area dominated by history and nation-state politics. Contributions from QK. Ahmad, Sankaran Krishna, Zia Sardar, B.M. Sinha, Barun Gurung, Nandini Joshi, Shivani Chakravorty and others.
Sohail Inayatullah, guest editor, special issue titled, “What Futurists Think,” Futures (July/August 1996).
Over 50 essays by a diverse range of futurists on their visions of the future, the methods they use to forecast and create the future, as well as the trends they believe are shaping the future. Each futurist also reveals why they became interested in the futures field. Expanded in CD-ROM format as (with over 100 entries The Views of Futurists: Visions and Methods – The Knowledge Base of Futures Studies – Vol. 4 (Melbourne, Foresight International, 2001).
Vuokko Jarva, “Toward Female Futures Research,” in Mika Mannermaa, Sohail Inayatullah and Rick Slaughter, eds., Coherence and Chaos in Our Uncommon Futures. Turku, Finland Futures Research Centre, 1994.
Attempts to develop an epistemology for feminist futures research. Argues that futures studies is the next wave, largely humanistic in its orientation. Female futures research is enabling not problem-solving. A great beginning but suffers from lack of literature review of both critical feminist studies and critical futures studies.
Julian Jaynes, The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind. Boston, Houghton Mifflin, 1982.
Argues that what the ancients took to be gods was actually different aspects of the mind speaking. The ancients did not have a unified self as we do now. Rationality has it limits, believes intuition is the next development of the mind.
Chris Jones, The Politics and Futures of Gaia. Doctoral dissertation. University of Hawaii, 1989.
Takes seriously the Gaia Hypothesis and develops scenarios for Cosmic Gaia, Spiritual Gaia, World Gaia, among others. Fantastic futures studies and excellent social theory.
Earl Joseph, “Anticipatory Sciences Research: The Shape of Alternative Futures,” Futurics (Vol. 3, No. 1, 1979).
Short piece but important in that Joseph maps out various alternative futures. Worth looking at as he enriches with his numerous spatial metaphors.
Tony Judge, Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential. 4th edition. Bruxelles, Union of International Associations, 1994.
This latest volume of the mammoth classification scheme shifts to chains of problems. Through links and cross-links challenges us to move out of our conventional categories and embrace complexity. In fact, it is a metaphor for human thinking itself. Also see their new CD-ROM.
Tony Judge, “The Aesthetics of Governance in the Year 2491,” Futures (May 1991).
Outstanding essay that examines the contribution of poetry, painting, dance and other arts as meaningful ways to create conferences and other meetings. Why script articles and conferences, why not find other ways to create meaningful communication. Judge desires to bring back drama and excitement into learning and communication. To paraphrase Judge, “the shocking feature of our era is that those involved in policymaking have lost the art of dancing.” Judge broadens the scope of policymaking and futures studies. A must read for anyone who attends meetings, makes policies, or writes.
Herman Kahn, The Next Two Hundred Years. New York, Quill, 1976.
Hyper-optimism. Believes that we should be patient and not be convinced by doomsday sayers. We are in the period of the great ascent. The industrial revolution still has two hundred years more to go before a world of 15 billion people an a world per capital of 20,000US$ (1975 dollars) is reached. Some parts quite inspiring but weak at understanding underdevelopment. Still, more inspiring than “end of world” forecasts.
Michio Kaku, Visions: How Science Will Revolutionize the 21st Century and Beyond. Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1998.
Parts of it are typical hyper upbeat. But some chapters are stunning. Especially noteworthy is the chapter, “Toward a Planetary Civilization,” in particular the distinction between Type 0, 1, 2 and 3 civilizations (based on the type and scale of energy used). Definitely worth reading, bordering on brilliant macrohistory.
Draper Kauffman, Teaching the Future. Palm Springs, ETC, 1976.
One of the originals on futures methods particularly as applied and used in American high school settings.
Ibn Khaldun, The Muqaddimah: An Introduction to History . Trans. Franz Rosenthal (Princeton, Princeton University Press, 1967).
The founder of sociology writing in the 14th century. A must ready for understanding deep social patterns. Heavily influenced Comte, Weber, and others.
Rushworth Kidder, Shared Values for a Troubled World. San Francisco, Jossey-Bass Publishers, 1994.
Easy to read interviews with famous and not-so-famous “men and women of conscience” including Oscar Arias, Muhammad Yunas, John Gardner and others. Important book in the creation of a post postmodern global ethics.
Tae-Chang Kim,” Toward a New Theory of Value for the Global Age,” in Tae-Chang Kim and James Dator, Creating a New History for Future Generations. Kyoto, Institute for the Integrated Study of Future Generations, 1994.
Outstanding essay that develops the idea of future generations. Kim conducts a grand questioning of modern Westernism; Monism; Rationalism; Centricism; logicism; Anthropocentrism; Patriarchy; and Technologism. Argues for a global family person. “People who view themselves as members of the global family believe also that past, present, and future generations are also family members of our home, Earth.
Leopold Kohr, The Overdeveloped Nations. New York, Schocken Books, 1978.
Brings into the focus the necessity of size in visioning the future. Believes that societies after a certain size begin to degenerate. Human touch is lost, decisions get made based on structure instead of other variables.
Thomas Kuhn, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 1962.
Science has never been the same since this book. Historicized science making it less universal and essential. Brought the language of paradigms into conventional thinking.
Krishan Kumar, Utopia and Anti-Utopia for Modern Times. Oxford, Basil Blackwell, 1987.
The classic book on utopias. However, while exhaustive in its treatment, it remains Eurocentric, defining utopias in western terms, and not seeing non-western nominations of preferred future as utopian. Still, a classic.
George Thomas Kurian and Graham T.T. Molitor, Encyclopedia of the Future. Two Volumes. New York, Macmillan Library Reference, 1996.
Massive 1115 page project. Lots of interesting facts, the global statistics page is outstanding. Decent range of topics but ultimately the project fails (although certainly a good beginning). It is missing any clear conceptual scheme, entries are just randomly thrown in. India is mentioned but not Malaysia (among the leaders in futures activities). An entry for cosmetics but not for chaos theory. It is very much US based with bibliographic citations from other nations having been thrown out. Of the list of “One hundred must influential futurists,” all but one (Yoneji Masuda) are from the West. Does the future not exist elsewhere? Perhaps not. If this was called, Towards a data base for American Futures Studies it would be quite good but as it stands now, it would give the undergraduate a distorted and myopic view of futures studies. Still, I ordered one for the University Library.
Richard Lamm, Megatraumas: America at the Year 2000. Boston, Hougton Mifflin, 1985.
We know we are in trouble when in the preface the author praises Naisbett’s Megatrends for enlarging the categories from which we see the world. The scenarios in this book are excellent, however, as might be expected world peace comes through the folly of the irrational others, in this case nuclear war between the fanatical Pakistani and Indians. Uses the language and tools of futures studies but remains singular in its view of the future. Simplistic and a worthy example of shallow political analysis and futures studies.
Erwin Laszlo, Evolution ‑‑ The Grand Synthesis, 211 pp. Boston: Shambhala Publications Inc, 1987.
This is a basic textbook for anyone interested in evolutionary futures studies. Articulates extensive and intensive dimensions of evolution.
Irwin Laszlo, “Footnotes to a History of the Future.” Futures (Vol. 20, No. 5, 1988).
Overviews linear and cyclical theories of change. There are upward and downward spirals. Believes that the evolutionary model is the most rewarding. The future is bright because information will allow us to better navigate the future.
Robert Lawlor, Voices of the First Day: Awakening in the Aboriginal Dreamtime. Vermont, Inner Traditions, 1991.
Brilliant, synthetic, inspiring work on Aboriginal ways of knowing. Sensitive and revealing. Makes links with other civilizations.
Harold Linstone, “What I Have Learned: The Need for Multiple Perspectives,” Futures Research Quarterly (Spring 1985), 47-61.
Describes his earlier work in the military (Linstone’s first forecasting study was in 1959 for Hughes Aircraft) as well as his recent three level approach of futures: the organizational, the technological and the individual. Important map of futures by the editor of Journal of Technological Forecasting and Social Change.
Peter Lorie, The Millennium Planner, London, Boxtree, 1995.
Beware it is that time again. This book is marketed as a personal planner. Great, great photos but the accounts of Nostradumus, Malachy, Edgar Cayce and Jean Dixon are not critical enough. Moreover only Western millennium prophecies are covered (Serbian, Native American Indian, Tibetan, Muslim prophecies would have enriched this book). Many more of this type to come in the next few years.
Graham H. May, The Future is Ours. London, Adamantine, 1996.
This is an excellent book particularly useful as a text for advanced undergraduates or MBA students. May manages to bring together three important strands in futures studies: forseeing, managing and creating. He surveys the entire futures field, describes and assesses numerous futures methods and does this while remaining grounded in case studies. This is a solid book. His last chapter on social paradoxes is also worth reading. While not an entry into critical futures studies, he is certainly aware of the epistemological debates and thus his book is not a unidimensional forecasting or planning primer.
Peter Manicas, A History and Philosophy of the Social Sciences. Oxford, Basil Blackwell, 1989.
Great philosophical storytelling. Tells the history of the social sciences, what turns were taken, what was missed. How the modern social sciences developed this century. Great reading leaving one with valuable insights into Herder and Hegel, Comte and Marx, among others.
Lynn Margulis and Dorion Sagan, Origins of Sex: Three Billion Years of Genetic Recombination. New Haven, Yale University Press, 1986.
Background for understanding the world at the cellular level. What this means for human survivability (the cooperative metaphor) is discussed.
O.W. Markley, “Changing Images of Man, Part I and II,” Renaissance Universal Journal (Vol 1, Nos. 3 and 4, 1976).
Outstanding essay by Mark Markley, Duane Elgin, Joseph Campbell and others on the importance of image in understand social relations. Images influence social policy and governance in general. Traces the image of economic man in contemporary society and analyses the cost of this image and what happens when there is a gap between society and this image. Argues that an emerging image “reinstates the transcendental, spiritual side of man. It denies none of the conclusions of science …but rather expands its boundaries. Brilliant stuff for the 1970′s. Part of a Stanford Research Institute project. A great entry into humanistic futures. The entire Fall 1976 issue of Renaissance Universal is devoted to Values and the Future with essays from Hubbard, Henderson, Etzioni, Lappe and Collins.
Eleonora Masini, ed. Visions of Desirable Societies. Oxford, Pergamon Press, 1983.
Useful for the richness of essays. Contributions from Dator, Nandy, Markovic, among others. The task is to enivision utopias from different historical and cultural positions.
Eleonora Masini, Why Futures Studies? London, Grey Seal, 1994.
An excellent introductory book on futures studies. Quick reading and well thought out. Uses the work of other futurists in explaining futures studies. Takes a philosophical approach to the future.
Eleonora Masini and Albert Sasson, eds. The Futures of Cultures. Paris, Unesco, 1994.
Essays from well known futurists on the futures of cultures from African, Asian, American, South American, and European perspectives. Culture is not easy to define but we must ask basic questions. How resilient are culture? What are peripheral culture? Where are the sources of new cultures? Is it possible to have a dialog among cultures?
Magoroh Maruyama and James Dator, eds. Human Futuristics. Honolulu, Social Science Research Institute, 1971.
Excellent anthropological essays on futures research including contributions from Elise Boulding and Margaret Mead. Attempts to balance culture, self and politics.
Harold McCarthy, “An Outline of Philosophy.” Honolulu, Department of Philosophy, University of Hawaii, 1973.
Remains the best overview of different philosophical positions: dualism, vs. empiricism. vs. theism vs. existentialism and more. Excellent essays as well on Marxism, Zen, and Pragmatism. Captivating reading and a great summary of tensions and contradictions within each philosophical tradition.
Phil McNally and Sohail Inayatullah, “The Rights of Robots: Technology, Law and Culture in the 21st Century,” World Peace Through Law Centre: Law/Technology and in Futures (Vol. 2, No. 2, 1988).
Takes a political view of rights as hard fought conceptual and technological struggles. As artificial intelligence technology develops and as our models of life change (partly through the adoption of more Asian perspectives), robots may one day be seen as living. Strong legal and rights analysis.
Fatima Mernissi, Women and Islam. Oxford, Basil Blackwell, 1991.
An excellent book on gender struggles within a civilization. An important book for the reimagination of Islam project.
Mihajlo Mesarovic and Eduard Pestel, Mankind at the Turning Point. New York, E.P. Dutton, 1974.
Global and regional model of the future. More useful than Limits to Growth as data is disaggregated by region. Conclusion is that current crisis are not temporary, that solutions can be only developed in a global context, solutions must go beyond economistics and that cooperation rather than confrontation can resolve current global problematique. While civilizationally uninformed, still for 1975 very impressive. Even makes a please for solidarity with future generations.
Graham Molitor, “Emerging Economic Sectors in the Third Millennium: Introduction and Overview of the Big Five,” Foresight (Vol. 22, No. 3, June 2000).
Part one of a five part essay on the next 1000 years. Easy to read long term forecasts. Molitor is founder of the s-curve.
Gaetano Mosca, The Ruling Class. trans. Hannah Kahn. intro. Arthur Livingston. New York, McGraw-Hill, 1939.
Uses the idea of social forces to analyze history. Social forces include the military, the church, business. Useful historical and political approach. Absolutely necessary in understanding and designing future societies.
Ashis Nandy, Science, Hegemony and Violence. Delhi, Oxford Publishing Press, 1993.
Critical of the reductionist science and the scientific technocratic State. A third world contribution to the post-development, post-Western/modern futures project.
Ashis Nandy, The Tao of Cricket. Delhi, Penguin, 1989.
Cricket will never be the same after this book. Insights into the futures of games. Looks at the premodern in the modern, at Victorian culture and the Indian response to England. For Nandy, cricket is an Indian game accidentally invented in India. If cricket becomes part of State, quick time, and commercialism, that is, the battle to win, than India will have lost, as it will have entered a unilinear theory of history and future.
Ashis Nandy, Tradition, Tyranny, and Utopias, Delhi, Oxford University Press, 1987.
A classic already, examines how yesterday’s utopias are today’s nightmares. The base for an alternative to postmodernism and development. Each page full of insights.
John Naisbitt, Megatrends: Ten New Directions Transforming Our lives. New York, Warner Books, 1984.
I don’t like this book but everyone else seems to think that it describes current and emerging trends (Industrial to Information, national to world economy, centralization to decentralization, representative to participatory democracy, north to south, either/or to multiple option). If it was written as a particular vision of the future it might be more palatable, but as it reads now it is futures kitch. Rick Slaughter’s “Looking for the Real ‘Megatrends” Futures (October 1993) is far more insightful. He argues that the trends are half true, ambiguous and a brochure for liberal capitalism. Slaughter also overviews trend reports by Faith Popcorn, Marvin Cetron and Owen Davies. Slaughter believes we need to design our own trend analysis systems instead of buying the used futures of others.
New Internationalist, Special Issue. Back to the Future (No. 269, July 1995).
Editor Vanessa Baird commissioned novelists, poets and essayists capable of big thoughts instead of big thinkers who could write stories and poems about what they say in the future. Outstanding stuff. See Eduardo Gaeleano’s poem on the right to dream, when “cars will be run over by dogs.” Strong environmental, cultural and social justice approach. Excellent trend analysis as well. Compare to Wired’s Scenarios.
Sally Neal, Business Brief Series, Queensland Government, Department of Primary Industries, 2000.
Easy to read, surprisingly charming set of 5 reports on social, economic, political, environmental and technological trends. Useful for corporations as well as a good introduction for young people.
David Nivison, The Life and Thought of Chang Hsueh-Cheng. Stanford, Stanford University Press, 1966.
A different interpretation of the Tao in history and future. Is the Tao metaphor or is a part of the force that changes history? What is the Confucian vision of utopia? A few excellent chapters about this important 18th century Chinese thinker.
Jan Nolin, “Communicating with the future: Implications for nuclear waste disposal,” Futures (Vol. 25, No. 7, September 1993), 778-791.
Ask the serious question, can we transmit a message about nuclear waste–warnings or instructions–to be received thousands of years from now? Also: can we ensure that crucial information will be available and intelligible at a critical moment? What an excellent avenue for exploring futures. Can knowledge survive through various cultural and historical contexts or is all knowledge context based such that any communications with the future will be incomprehensible?
Erzebet Novaky and Tamas Kristof, eds., Youth for a Less Selfish Future. Papers of the Budapest Futures Course. Budapest, Department of Futures Studies, 2000.
Excellent book on how young people around the world see the future and how young people should be taught the future. How pessimism can be overcome and how young people can learn to read the media – especially in terms of the image of the future received – critically. Based on the World Futures Studies Federation futures studies course.
Levi Obijiofor, ed. “The Futures of Human Rights and Democracy,” Futuresco (No. 5, June, Paris, Unesco, 1996.
This is perhaps the best edition of the Unesco Futuresco series. It is comprised of review articles by Michael Marien, Zia Sardar, Alfred Auer, and Hans Holzinger and Agnes Poirer. Included selected annotated bibliography from around the world. Sardar’s piece is particularly noteworthy.
Odera Oruku, Sage Philosophy: Indigenous Thinkers and the Modern Debate on African Philosophy. Nairobi, Acts Press, 1991.
Oruku interviews local African sages and analyzes their comments on self, community and future. Attempts to locate and compare their discourse to the larger debate on the relative influences of Islam, the West on African philosophy. Argues that the future of Africa must be based on its multiple traditions.
Vilfredo Pareto, The Rise and Fall of the Elites. Intro. Hans Zetterburg. New Jersey, The Bedminster Press, 1968.
Believes that political history is but the circulation of elites. Good societies are those that create conditions for rapid circulation. All revolutions lead to elitism.
John Platt, “Social Traps,” American Psychologist (Vol. 28. no. 8, 1973)
Perhaps overly Skinnerian influenced but Platt still helps show ways out of situations that where the long term is sacrificed for the short term. The focus is on structures not on consciousness. Social traps are situations where we find ourselves caught and there is no easy way out, where short term individual goals damage long term individual and societal goals. The tragedy of the commons is the classic example.
John Platt, The Step to Man. New York, John Wiley, 1966.
Places structure at the forefront of social and political design. Platt’s chapter on “The Federalists and the Design of Stabilization” is of particular importance. Sees the idea of checks and balance as a stabilization feedback. Examines issues of good vs. evil, centralization of power, federalism vs. regionalism from the perspective of social design. Asks “what would be the requirements for a peace-keeping system among a hundred sovereign states today.” Answers with: modifiability, stabilization
Fred Polak, The Image of the Future. trans. Elise Boulding. San Francisco, Jossey-Bass, 1973.
Believes that the image of the future pulls nations and civilizations. Those nations that have a vision of the future rise, other decline. A very important book on the future.
Karl Popper, The Poverty of Historicism. New York, Basic Books, 1957.
Argues against use patterns, long waves and structures to understand social change.
Buddha Prakash, “The Hindu Philosophy of History.” Journal of the History of Ideas (Vol. 16, No. 4, 1958).
Takes seriously the classic Indian division of the golden, silver, copper and iron ages. Uses this methapor of history to analyse the present and to suggest emerging futures.
Hari Shankar Prasad, ed. Time in Indian Philosophy. Delhi, Indian Books, 1992.
740 pages of all you wanted to know about time and Indian philosophy. Chapters in German are a bit tough going if you don’t speak German but otherwise just lovely. Opening essay on the problem of time is an excellent summary of the book.
Betty Reardon, Women and Peace: Feminist Visions of Global Security. New York, SUNY Press, 1993.
Brings together futures studies, peace studies and women’s studies. Chapter on women’s visions of peace is excellent. The case study of backcasting is particularly useful.
Dane Rudhyar, Astrological Timing. New York, Harper and Row, 1969.
Long wave theory of history and the future using astrological cycles. Even if one is skeptical of this method, the insights that come from this view of mind, self and history are often far deeper than what emerges from conventional psychological theory, Freud or Skinner. Believes we are in the midst of a grand transformation, the first of many to come in the next centuries.
Edmund Ryden, ed. Human Rights and Values in East Asia. Fujen Catholic University, 1998.
Are human rights universal? Who speaks for Asian values and are East Asian values different from Western values. What of the rights of robots? Should there be an Asian Human Rights Court? These and other questions are pursued in this book.
Edward Said, Orientalism. New York, Vintage Books, 1979.
Deconstructs Orient/Occident distinctions and shows how the Orient was socially constructed by the West. Those in the Orient see themselves through the eyes of the imperialistic Other.
Elisabet, Sahtouris. EarthDance: Living Systems in Evolution. New York: iuniverse.com, 2000. 403 pages.
Presents a view of evolution from the gaian perspective. Inspiring and well-written.
Samporn Sangchai, “Some Aspects of Futurism,” Futures Research Working Paper 4. Honolulu, Hawaii Research Center for Futures Study, 1974.
An old but worthwhile reading piece from this Thai futurist. Numerous typologies. Of particular value are his alternative orientations that attempt to locate inner mystical activities in futures studies, as Sangchai says, “the mind can be both positivistic and mystical.”
Zia Sardar, Thomas Khun and the Science Wars. Cambridge Books, Icon, 2000.
Another great book by Sardar. In this, he summarizes the debates in regard to normal and postnormal science.
Zia Sardar, Postmodernism and the Other: The New Imperialism of Western Culture. London, Pluto, 1998.
Devastating critique of postmodernism. Argues that while it claims pluralism, it does so in the western context of liberal secularism.
Zia Sardar, ed. Rescuing all of our Futures: The Futures of Futures Studies. Twickenham, UK: Adamantine Press, 1999, 258 pages
Seeks to decolonize the field. Takes a non-western critical view of the future and futures studies. Chapters by Milojevic on feminist futures, Masini on rethinking Futures Studies, May on future surprises, Jan Nederveen Pieterse on global futures, Nandy on dissent and much more. One of the best books out on the field, as valuable as Slaughter’s Knowledge base Series.
Zia Sardar, “Paper, Printing and Compact Disks: The Making and Unmaking of Islamic Culture,” Media, Culture and Society (Vol. 15, 1992), 43- 59.
Examines the history of information and argues that CD-Rom will liberate the Quran from the hands of the few to the interpretations of the many. One of many of outstanding essays by Sardar. All a must read for a non-Western polemic.
Zia Sardar, Islamic Futures: The Shape of Ideas To Come. London, Mansell, 1985.
Forecasts how the future might be if based on Islamic cosmology. Believes that creative futures that are more wholistic and ecologically sensitive can emerge from Islam.
Zia Sardar and Jerome Ravetz, Complexity: Fad or Future. Guest Editors of Special Issue of Futures (Vol. 26, No. 6, 1994).
Excellent articles explaining and situating complexity theory. Takes a critical view of complexity as yet another grand narrative. Excellent piece by Peter Allen on evolution, particularly, how we evolve from risks and mistakes.
Zia Sardar and Jerome Ravetz, Cyberspace: To Boldly Go. Guest Editors of Special Issue. Futures (Vol. 27, No. 6, 1995).
Sees Cyberspace as extension of Westernization. Investigates how digitalization will impact our being and our image of humanity. “Physical and material worlds have been conquered and rendered fluid, now it is turn of consciousness.” “The future will be shaped by two kinds of generations, one experiencing more intoxicating powers while for the other deeper and deeper hopelessness.” Essays on virtual nature and ecological consciousness, democracy and religion. Yet another outstanding issue of Futures. Also available as Cyberfutures. London, Pluto Press, 1996.
P.R. Sarkar, PROUT in a Nutshell, Vols. 1-25. Calcutta, Ananda Marga Publications, 1988-1994.
A compilation of Sarkar’s provocative works. Essays on this alternative social and economic theory, Prout, which contends to be a new vision for the coming centuries. Essays look at economic democracy, spiritual liberation, water shortages, language, farming, cooperatives.
P.R. Sarkar, Proutist Economics: Discourses on Economic Liberation. Calcutta, Ananda Marga, 1992.
A series of essays that take seriously concepts from Indian philosophy for deriving an alternative economics. Based on ideas such as prama, dynamic balance, economic democracy and limits to capital accumulation. Supports high technology, however, in contrast to other spiritual economic perspectives.
P.R. Sarkar, The Liberation of Intellect. Calcutta, Ananda Marga Publications, 1982.
Argues that we need to relocate the intellect outside of the self, race, nation, and humanism and embrace plants, animals, humans and inanimate life. Compelling series of essays.
Wendy Schultz, Futures Fluency: Explorations in Leadership, Vision and Creativity. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Hawaii, 1994.
Among the best primers on futures studies. Shows how futures studies can help develop leadership. For Schultz, vision is the key. Very easy reading and a must read. Great cartoons and quotes as well. A total delight.
Wendy Schultz, Clement Bezold, and Beatrice Monahan, Reinventing Courts for the 21st Century: Designing a Vision Process. State Justice Institute, Institute for Alternative Futures, and Hawaii Research Centre for Futures Studies, 1993. Prepared under a grant from the State Justice Institute.
An easy to follow guidebook for visioning futures thinking within the court system, but useful for futures activities in any setting. Numerous activities and excellent summaries make this essential reading.
Peter Schwartz, The Art of the Long View. New York: Doubleday, 1996
Detailed exploration of the future – from a business and organizational view. The how to do scenario guide for every modern planner. However, missing an analysis of epistemology and power.
Michael Shapiro and James Der Derian, eds. International/Intertextual Relations. Massachusetts, Lexington Books, 1989.
Begins the process of creating a post-neorealist politics. Very important for understanding how and why our images of the future include outdated notions of power and State.
Michael Shapiro, Reading the Postmodern Polity. Minneapolis, University of Minnesota, 1992.
A series of critical essays that use literary sources to undermine modernity. Kafka, Ulysses, Don Delilo, Babette’s Feast all become data for this deconstruction of the modern world. Less concerned with providing evidence, Shapiro aims to disturb our conventional understandings of politics.
Rupert Sheldrake, A New Science of Life. London, Blong and Briggs, 1981.
Argues for the existence of morphogenetic fields that help the spread of ideas. Basically a post-empirical view of life. Creative.
Chen Shui-Bian, The Son of Taiwan. Taipei, Taiwan Publishing Company, 1999.
Most leaders use the future for politics. Chen Shui-Bian is different. He offers a compelling vision of Taiwan – an inclusive, green, high tech island. This is a beautiful book by one of Asia’s new leaders.
Sulak Sivaraska, Seeds of Peace: A Buddhist Vision for Renewing Society. Berkeley, California, Parallax Press, 1992.
Uses the basis of Buddhism in creating an alternative future: self-reliance, humanistic, concern for the other, justice and peace are some of the concepts that emerge from the Buddhist eight-fold path. There must be inner and outer transformation. Self-reliance instead of dependency. Capitalism and Buddhism cannot co-exist for Sivaraska. Excellent examination of Buddhist mythology as well.
Richard Slaughter, Futures for the Third Millenium: Enabling the forward view. Sydney: Prospect Media, 1999.
This work offers a comprehensive description of futures studies, focussing particularly on critical theory and transpersonal futures.
Richard Slaughter, Futures Concepts and Powerful Tools. Melbourne, Futures Study Centre, 1990
An epistemologically informed discussion and presentation of futures methods and concepts. Useful at undergraduate and graduate levels.
Richard Slaughter, Futures: Tools and Techniques. Melbourne, Futures Study Centre, 1995.
The best book around on how to teach futures. Complex ideas elegantly presented.
Richard Slaughter, guest editor, “The Knowledge Base of Futures Studies,” Futures (April 1993).
This special issue intends to develop a core understanding of futures studies, to aid in developing an interpretive community. Excellent articles by Martha Garrett on scenario construction, Tony Judge on metaphors, Peter Moll and Rolf Homann on Western futures organizations. Also includes ten mini essays on futures studies. Expanded to become
The Knowledge Base of Futures Studies (Melbourne, DDM, 1996). A three volume set with essays by Zia Sardar on multicultural futures, James Dator on alternative futures, Ivana Milojevic on feminist futures research, Hazel Henderson on sustainability, Clem Bezold on visioning methods, Sam Cole on Global Models, and many others. Perhaps the best book out on futures studies.
Richard Slaughter, ed. New Thinking for a New Millennium. London, Routledge, 1996.
Good beginners guide to futures studies, brings together essays by Wendell Bell, James Dator, Nicholas Alberry, Jane Page (education systems as agents of change: an overview of futures education), Francis Hutchinson, and many others.
Godwin Sogolo, Foundations of African Philosophy. Ibadan, Ibadan University Press, 1993.
Necessary framework needed to begin to explore African futures.
Pitirim Sorokin, Social and Cultural Dynamics. Boston, Porter Sargent, 1957.
Still one of the best analysis of cultural, social and economic patterns. After the current age of chaos, Sorokin believes a bright integrated spiritual/material future is ahead.
Bonnie Spanier, IM/Partial Science: Gender Ideology in Molecular Biology. Bloomington, Indiana University Press, 1995.
Argues that biology is skewed by various gender biases. Spanier exposes the impact of sexual ideology about the “building blocks of life,” seeing the name of, for example, bacteria as re inscribing traditional models of dominant/subordinate relationships. Forces one to rethink the college and high school biology we all learned.
Oswald Spengler, The Decline of the West. trans. Charles Atkinson. New York, Alfred Knopp, 1972.
Argues for an approach to science that is interpretive. Cultures are Spengler’s unit. All cultures, like organisms, follow a lifecycle of birth, growth and decay. Believes he has discovered the truth of social change. However, he is not a positivist as he believes truth is shallow and deep. Creative macrohistory and useful as a way of examining alternative futures.
Joseph Stalin, Dialectical and Historical Materialism. New York, International Publishers, 1970.
Most likely not written by Stalin. This short book develops the Marxian historical laws of transformation (from quantitative to qualitative, unity of opposites; and change is dialectical). Much of recent evolutionary thinking, complexity and chaos theory derive their thinking from these laws of dialectics, even as they deny this historical link.
Bart van Steenbergen, “Global Modeling in the 1990s: A critical evaluation of the new wave,” Futures (Vol. 26, No. 1, Jan/Feb 1994), 44-56.
Argues that recent global models have lost the track and are dominated by economistic paradigms. Solidarity with the South is no longer a concern and while the language of sustainable development is adopted it is done so only as rhetoric. Excellent reviews of modeling in the past 30 years.
Tony Stevenson and June Lennie, “Anticipating Applications for Digital Video Communications: Two Scenarios for Australia,” Technology Studies (Vol. 2, No. 1, 1995).
Introduces futures studies and brings the futures approach to the communications field. Advocates a collaborative, co-evolutionary approach to anticipating the appropriate forms and uses for digital video communications. Outstanding and useful essay.
Christopher D. Stone, Should Tree Have Standing: Towards Legal Rights for Natural Objects. Los Altos, William Kaufmann, 1974.
Through the analysis of a California legal decision, argues that the best way to protect the environment, since it cannot litigate for itself, is to give nature legal rights. As Stone argues, successive extension of human rights as been, heretofore, a bit unthinkable. Excellent analysis. US Supreme Court opinions on a case also presented.
Majid Tehranian, “Communication and Theories of Social Change: A Communitarian Perspective,” Asian Journal of Communication (Vol. 2, No. 1, 1991).
Brilliant summary of communication studies and excellent synthesis of critical theory communication theory and futures. Argues for an ecological, spiritual, communitarian perspective of the future.
William Irwin Thompson, At the Edge of History. New York, Harper and Row, 1971.
Critical of the rationality of planning, of attempts that try to consciously plan the future. Thompson revokes myth and the unconscious. Unites macrohistory, mythology, and visions of the future. Examines the structure of four stages in Plato, Vico, Blake, Marx, Yeats, Jung, and Mcluhan. The future, like Being, is always more than we can ever know.
William Irwin Thompson, Pacific Shift. San Francisco, Sierra Club 1985.
Argues that we have always exported our problems to the other but have now created a global polity where this is increasingly difficult to do. Also investigates the shift of global culture to the Pacific. Imaginary Landscape: Making Worlds of Myth and Science, New York, St. Martin’s Press, 1989 continues his mixture of cosmology, science, poetry and a cultural history of consciousness. Dazzling writing.
William Irwin Thompson and David Spangler, Reimagination of the World. Sante Fe, New Mexico, Bear and Company, 1991.
A critical look at the new age and new age visions of the future. Both writers examine the mistakes they made in their personal journeys as well as in their writings. Maintain a mythic approach to the transformation of society and consciousness.
Alvin Toffler, The Adaptive Corporation. New York, McGraw-Hill, 1985
My favorite Toffler book. He uses his sweeping history of agricultural to industrial to information to understand the changes corporations are undergoing. But while he makes persuasive arguments for the need for corporations to reduce size and hierarchy, issues of power, control, the nature of the world capitalist system are often passed over. Still excellent reading.
Allen Tough, Crucial Questions About the Future. Lanham, MD, University Press of America, 1991.
Does not try to colonize our mind about what the future can be; rather Tough asks questions which leader to inquiry. He leads the reader to question his or her own assumptions of the future and provides pathways to alternative futures. An excellent introductory text. Quick and easy reading.
Dada Vedaprajinananda, ed. New Renaissance: Holistic Education, Preparing for the 21st Century (Vol. 6, No. 3, 1996).
Special issue of the magazine New Renaissance devoted to spiritual, transpersonal, women, third world, early childhood, and multicultural and futures education.
Eric Voegelin, The New Science of Politics. Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 1987.
In this classic study, Voegelin, author of numerous books on order and history, examines the thrust to modernity. He argues that the moderns have misunderstood Christian eschatology in creating the stages of ancient, classical and modern. Modernity misunderstands the cycle, that there is a time to be born and a time to die. Blames the tragedies of the last hundred years on this mistake, of beliefs that history can end: as Marxism, Nazism or capitalism. A short book.
W. Warren Wagar, A Short History of the Future. Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 1999, third edition.
Generally, books that develop scenarios on the future are boring. They are idiosyncratic and one rarely learns anything about society or technology. It is better they should have gone all the way and written science fiction. However, Wagar does not disappoint. A short history of the future presented three possible futures: A world socialist government based on integral humanism; A small is beautiful, communitarian future; and the opening future, Earth, inc. Of course, generally Western-centric but what else is new.
Barbara Walker, The Crone: Woman of Age, Wisdom and Power. San Francisco, Harper and Row, 1985.
Argues that the wrinkles on an aging woman should be seen as part of her wisdom instead of a face in need of plastic surgery. Looks at global futures based on ancient feminist myths.
Paul Wallace: Agequake: Riding the Demographic Rollercoaster Shaking Business, Finance and Our World. London, Nicholas Brealey, 1999, 266 pages.
Stunning book that makes the claim that it is underpopulation and not overpopulation which will be the major problem of the 21st century. This is especially so in OECD nations. Populations are like supertankers, hard to turn around, but once they do, it is full steam ahead. Forecasts age wars, and argues that nations with low birth-rates, such as Germany and Italy, will flounder unless they allow increased immigration. Our mean age has been historically 20, it is now set to move to 40-50.
Immanuel Wallerstein, The Politics of the World Economy: The States, the Movements, and the Civilizations. London, Cambridge University Press, 1984.
Sees the world as one economic (a single division of labor) and cultural system and examines the efforts of the social movements to transform the system. Looks at the tension between the economic, which is global, and politics, which remains bounded by the nation-state.
Immanuel Wallerstein, “World System and Civilization,” Development: Seeds of Change (1/2, 1986)
Examines the futures of the world system, concluding that the world capitalist system will transform into a world socialist system, that will be global and egalitarian. Wallerstein’s other categories are mini-cultural systems and empires. The former get subsumed by the latter and the latter are not stable. It is only the world capitalist system that has managed to consume all opposition. But like other systems before it, it, too, will transform.
R.B.J. Walker and Saul Mendlovitz, Contending Sovereignties. Boulder, Lynee Rienner Publishers, 1990.
Critical of conventional political science and international relations, examines new forms and shapes of sovereignty. Argues that International Relations Theory itself is part of the problem in the task of creating better futures as it privileges an economistic view of social relations. Neo-realism closes not opens the discussion on sovereignty.
Burton Watson, Ssu-Ma Chien: Grand Historian of China. New York, Columbia University Press, 1958.
Excellent interpretation of the ancient Chinese philosopher Ssu-Ma Chien. Does the Tao operate in history, what are the stages in history? For Ssu-Ma Chien, it was the sage-king that intervened when the tao degenerated. History and future are thus cyclical with the rise and fall of the Tao. When wisdom and learning separate, then society degenerates. A futurist from long ago.
Paul Wildman and Sohail Inayatullah, “Ways of Knowing, Civilization, Communication and the Pedagogies of the Future,” Futures (Vol., 28, No. 8, October 1996), 723-740.
Examines through case studies of teaching futures studies in multi-cultural settings the many ways human know their worlds. Argues for multi-layered approaches in the pedagogy of the future.
Wired, “Scenarios: the Future of the Future,” Wired (Special issue, 1995).
Clever and often humorous writing on scenarios. A good read and easy to read. Scenario on plague years particularly well written.
Lee Kuan Yew, “The Vision of Asia,” The Muslim (20 March 1992), 1.
A short essay but well worth reading. The key to wealth for poor nations is: have a view of religion that is this-world based, have an external technological dynamo that helps start the process, have strong leadership but create consensual politics, terminate feudal land owning practices and invest and save. Finally: export and export.
www.futurefoundation.org [Website of the Foundation of the Future – focused on 1000 year forecasting]
www.ru.org [Website of New Renaissance – focused on preferred futures]
www.worldfutures.org [Website of the World Futures Studies Federation]
www.wfs.org [Website of the World Future Society]
www.ed.tku.edu.tw/develop/jfs [Website of the Journal of Futures Studies]
www.camfordpublishing.com [Website the journal Foresight]
www.metafuture.org [Website of Sohail Inayatullah and colleagues, including, Ivana Milojevic, Marcus Bussey, Alan Fricker, Tony Stevenson and David Wright]
www.aboutfutures.org [Website of Richard Slaughter]
www.futurist.com [Website of Glen Hiemstra]
www.futurists.net.au [Website of The Futures Foundation]
www.others.com [Website of Zia Sardar and friends]