ES.256 | Spring 2008 | Undergraduate

The Coming Years


1 The recent past and the near future

Top 87 Bad Predictions about the Future

Major Trends Reshaping Global Context

2 Techniques in futurology

Meadows, Donella, Jorgen Randers, and Dennis Meadows. A Synopsis to Limits to Growth: The 30-Year Update. White River Junction, VT: Chelsea Green, 2004. ISBN: 9781931498586. (PDF)

Senge, Peter. M. Chapter 4 and Appendix 2 in The Fifth Discipline: The Art & Practice of the Learning Organization. New York, NY: Broadway Business, 2006. ISBN: 9780385517256.

3 Historigraphic theories: class struggle, cycles, and paradigm shifts

Strauss, W., and N. Howe. “Cycles in History,” and “A Fourth Turning Prophesy.” Chapters 4 and 10 in The Fourth Turning. New York, NY: Broadway Books, 1997. ISBN: 9780767900461.

FutureWatch Timeline (PDF - 1.1MB)

4 Catastrophic change, power laws, and fractals Buchanan, M. “Causa Prima,” and “A Question of Numbers.” Chapters 1 and 11 in Ubiquity: Why Catastrophes Happen. New York, NY: Three Rivers Press, 2002. ISBN: 9780609809983.
5 Disasters and collapses: nuclear war, global warming, peak oil, bioterrorism Mason, C. “Running out of Fuel: The Coming Energy Crisis,” and “Climate: How Long to Tipping Point.” Chapters 2 and 4 in A Short History of the Future: Surviving the 2030 Spike. Sterling, VA: Earthscan, 2006. ISBN: 9781844073467.
6 The singularity The Law of Accelerating Returns
7 World changing, revelations, and revolutions

Marx, Karl, and Friedrich Engels. The Communist Manifesto. The Communist League, February 21, 1848.

Paths Toward an Anti-Capitalist Liberation

8 Future politics National Intelligence Council, “The Contradictions of Globalization,” and “Rising Powers: The Changing Geopolitical Landscape.” Chapters 1 and 2 in Mapping the Global Future. Washington, D. C., December 2004. (PDF - 7.3MB)
9 Society in motion Toffler, A. “Things: The Throw-Away Societ,” “Places: The New Nomads,” and “People: Away Society.” Chapters 4-6 in Future Shock. New York, NY: Bantam Press, 1984. ISBN: 9780553277371.
10 Science and technology Brockman, John, ed. The Next Fifty Years: Science in the First Half of the Twenty-First Century. New York, NY: Vintage Books, 2002. ISBN: 9780375713422.
11 Economics and demographics Shapiro, R. J. Chapters 2 and 7 in Futurecast: How Superpowers, Populations, and Globalization will Change the Way You Live and Work. New York, NY: St. Martin’s Press, 2008. ISBN: 9780312352424.
12 Describing the future Stephenson, N. Chapters 1-6 in Snow Crash. New York, NY: Bantam Spectra, 2000. ISBN: 9780553380958.
13 Memetics

Csikszentmihalyi, M. “Memes vs. Genes: Notes from the Culture Wars.” In Speculations. Edited by John Brockman. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1990. ISBN: 9780138262150.

Gladwell, M. “The Three Rules of Epidemics.” Chapter 1 in The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference. Boston, MA: Back Bay Books, 2002. ISBN: 9780316346627.

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