October 22, 2006

James Martin on the meaning of the 21st century

Author James Martin has published a new book, The Meaning of the 21st Century. The book's tagline reads, "An urgent plan for ensuring our future."

Be sure to read this scathing review by Bryan Appleyard in the Times Online. Appleyard writes:
In essence, as Martin rightly shows, the solutions - technical, social and political - to all our problems are quite clear and have been for at least 30 years. But they have not been implemented and that means that the real problem, the intractable problem, lies elsewhere. It is, in a nutshell, the plain fact that there is absolutely no prospect of people overcoming enough of their differences even to start to save the planet. We have known what harm is caused by the destruction of the rainforests but loggers still do it. We know burning fossil fuels will one day fry the planet, but we are burning more than ever. We know that religious fundamentalism can be twisted into murderous nihilism, now more than ever.

Martin, with his technophile, progressive, conventional mind, is not, therefore, a reliable anatomist of the future. In the most basic sense, he just doesn't understand the problem. Or perhaps, beyond all the "awesomes" and the "depth interviews", he does, and he knows that to understand is to despair. In that case, this book is, indeed, a press release, a document of consoling distraction to be read as we gallop into the flames..."
Here's a description of the book from the publisher:
James Martin tells us that we are living in a turning point in human history. "We are traveling at breakneck speed into an era of extremes- extremes of wealth and poverty, extremes in technology, extremes of globalism. If we are to survive, we must learn how to manage them all." Although we now face huge challenges and conflicts, the scientific breakthroughs of the twenty-first century will provide new hope for our future. The best strategy, Martin believes, is to discover how to use our intelligence and technology to transform the world before we destroy the planet and ourselves along with it.

Drawing from his decades of experience as one of the world's most widely respected authorities on the impact of technology on society, James Martin- known as the "Guru of the Information Age"-proposes provocative, feasible solutions for some of the world's thorniest problems. Martin, convinced that our enormously complex plight is imminent, endowed the James Martin 21st Century School at Oxford University to help find real-life solutions.

The Meaning of the 21st Century is the culmination of years of research and extensive interviews with experts in a wide range of fields. A ringing call to arms and a pragmatic blueprint for change, it is a book that's essential reading for everyone.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous7:50 PM

    The book might be worth reading...however...I'll wait for the pb or a remainder'd hb...(wink)


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