Tuesday, April 27, 2004

I am continuing my quest to find the most obscure Pelican book. I found 'Inventing the future' last week by Dennis Gabor. He was writing in the 50s about the future of the world and it is quite interesting reading. He realised that the cold war was not a struggle between ideologies but really about a power struggle between USSR and USA. He comes up with other quite interesting things including this paragraph about industrialisation: ( whilst commenting on whether the whole world will someday look like California)

In the last quarter of the nineteenth century the great industrialist Werner von Siemens sent one of his brothers to the Caucasus to mine the
rich copper deposits. But the people in that valley were happy,
they did not want to go underground, until one of the engineers
had an idea. He opened a shop in which beautiful dresses,
fabrics, and trinkets were displayed - but they could only be
had for money! It did not take long before the women nagged
their men into the mines.
There are some good reasons why the whole world will never
look like a Californian suburb. There is even hope that some
time it will again be diversified. A few little paradises may
survive unharmed until then, if they were artificially protected,
like big-game reservations. But for the overwhelming majority
of the world's population, once industrialization has started
there is no stopping and no return.

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