ERIC Number: ED233951
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1983-Mar
Reference Count: 0
The Politics of Scarcity: A Consideration of Futurist Models of Boom and Doom.
Johnston, Barry V.
The works of 20 futurists and their predictions for the year 2000 and beyond are examined according to four perspectives: Malthusianism, Utopianism (based on theories of William Godwin), Marxism, and social structuralism. Futurists may be grouped into one of the categories according to their theories about the interdependent problems of population, food, natural resources, and energy. Malthusians suggest that the population size should be reduced, argue that we have already depleted easily exploitable natural resources, and believe that nuclear energy will provide the energy base of the future. Utopians advocate moving more land into production through intensive agricultural techniques, accept the idea that sufficient supplies of basic minerals exist, and argue that supplies of conventional energy sources are adequate for a long range transition if change is required. Marxists attribute food crises to maldistribution and overconsumption of resources, argue that less developed countries are deprived of their own natural resources through the consumption of developed nations, and acknowledge that politics influences cost and supply much more than the issue of finite resources. Social structuralists argue that not only population growth but also its distribution exacerbates food shortages. They also argue that simpler life styles are less resource intensive and more conducive to use of soft energy paths, such as solar, wind, and biomass energy. Appendices provide charts which depict the positions of various authors on these issues. (KC)
Publication Type: Information Analyses; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Godwin (William); Interdependence; Malthus (Thomas Robert); Scarcity
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Southwestern Social Science Association (Houston, TX, March 16-19, 1983).