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by Robert L. Heilbroner
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    Robert L. Heilbroner
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    W.W. Norton; First Paperback Edition edition (April 1, 1980)
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    191 pages
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An Inquiry into the H. .by Robert L. Heilbroner. Written in 1953, The Worldly Philosophers has sold nearly four million copies Robert L. Heilbroner (March 24, 1919 – January 4, 2005) was an American economist and historian of economic thought.

An Inquiry into the H. The author of some twenty books, Heilbroner was best known for The Worldly Philosophers, a survey of the lives and contributions of famous economists, notably Adam Smith, Karl Marx, and John Maynard Keynes. Written in 1953, The Worldly Philosophers has sold nearly four million copies-the second-best-selling economics text of all time.

Heilbroner, Robert L. Publication date. The papers of this book made it reflective when scanned. Civilization, Modern - 1950-, Regression (Civilization), Civilisation - 1950-, Régression (Civilisation), Civilization, Modern, Regression (Civilization), Civilization, Quality of Life. inlibrary; printdisabled; ; china.

Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required. Robert L.

That "terrible question" was posed by Robert L. Heilbroner in the original version of An Inquiry into the Human Prospect

That "terrible question" was posed by Robert L. Heilbroner in the original version of An Inquiry into the Human Prospect. Trenchant and unflinching, Professor Heilbroner's look at the sum and substance of our prospects for the remaining years of this century is provocative and indispensable reading for those who prefer not to avert their gaze from the hard realities of our times.

The author of some 20 books, Heilbroner was best known for The Worldly Philosophers: The Lives .

The author of some 20 books, Heilbroner was best known for The Worldly Philosophers: The Lives, Times and Ideas of the Great Economic Thinkers (1953), a survey of the lives and contributions of famous economists, notably Adam Smith, Karl Marx, and John Maynard Keynes. Heilbroner was born in 1919, in New York City, to a wealthy German Jewish family. His father, Louis Heilbroner, was a businessman who founded the men's clothing retailer Weber & Heilbroner. Robert graduated from Harvard University in 1940 with a summa cum laude degree in philosophy, government and economics.

most vividly in Robert Heilbroner’s An Inquiry into the Human Prospect (1974), which argued that human survival ultimately required the sacrifice of human freedom.

Chicago Distribution Center.

Inquiry on the human condition. An Inquiry Into the Human Prospect (Original version). com User, November 19, 1997. This book provides an intriquing critical analysis of the future as seen from the height of the Cold War era.

Heilbroner, Robert . n Inquiry into the Human Prospect: Updated and Reconsidered for the 1980s. The Human Side of Enterprise. New York: McGraw Hill, 1960. New Patterns of Management. New York: McGraw Hill, 1961. The Human Organization. New York: McGraw Hill, 1967.

'Is there hope for man? That "terrible question" was posed by Robert L. Heilbroner in the original version of a book that has become a classic.' - from the back cover of the 'Updated and Reconsidered for the 1980's' trade paperback edition.

energy breath
Let me present three striking theses of Heilbroner and reconsider them from a contemporary perspective:
Thesis One: There are grave doubts whether there is "hope for man?" (p. 8), because of overburdening the planet, destruction of the biosphere, and dangers of "obliterative war" (p. 57). This question seems all the more justified in 2013, because of the potentials of biological weapons produced in "kitchen laboratories", a lot of fanaticism, increasing signs of approaching scarcities of some critical resources, devastating climate changes, and additional developments mentioned below.
2. To assure a long-term future for humanity revolutionary transformations are essential, such as reducing consumerism, decreasing disparities by large scale transfer of resources from rich to poor countries, and controlling dangerous weapons. I agree that radical transformations are essential, though some of the directions proposed in the book are not compelling, with others being more critical.
3. Democratic regimes and capitalist markets will be unable to bring about essential transformations, neither various models of socialism. Instead "an authoritarian, or possibly ...a revolutionary regime" of nation states is essential (p. 24), up to an order "that blends a `religious' orientation with a `military' discipline" (pp. 176-7), with "centralization of power as the only means by which our threatened and dangerous civilization will make way for its successor" (p. 179).
This is the most striking and also shocking thesis of the book. The author expresses dismay at having reached such a conclusion, but insists on it. I admire him for doing so and agree with him in principle. But the subject is dense with dangers and needs careful consideration, taking into account additional emerging fateful issues posed by "human enhancement", escalating kill-capacities, highly "intelligent" robots, 3D printing, nano-technologies, possible synthesizing of multicellular life, space exploration, and more. All these aggravate by orders of magnitude the question "is there hope of humanity?" adding the even more vexing question "and what about evolving into a post-homo-sapiens species?"
Therefore, for instance, constraining parts of science and technology and the diffusion and uses of their products, strictly enforced worldwide by a strong global regime, is likely to become essential.
This book is superior to many of the current publication on global issues. Minor prediction errors, such as on energy scarcities (e.g., pp.69 ff.), do not weaken the main messages of the book. It deserves pondering by all worried about the future of humanity.

Professor Yehezkel Dror
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
I am a business student here in the United States and had to read this for a class. It is a good book but I would say it is an acquired taste and preaches more than a little.
I understand that Heilbroner changed his position over time, but Marxism is dead and there is good reason for it. And I can't get past his longing for it when I read his works.
If you read many of the writings of Robert Heilbroner......they have been highly predictive of our current state. He was independent of Wall Street so both his praise and warnings of capitalism are highly credible and their breadth of perspective make them more valid and less determined by political bias. To test this statement....read a Heilbroner book, say on capitalism, and then read a similar text written more recently. Since Heilbroner's writing doesn't serve readily the purposes of politics.....many so called "economists" skirt his writings and themes in supporting their self-serving perspectives. As an academic, the reader should not make that same mistake. Heilbroner discussed the genesis of such concepts as, "The absorption capacities of the environment," as imminent economic topics before his contemporaries and long before they became political quagmires....again Robert Heilbroner is an economist of vision....independent of politics.
This book was written in the 1970's, so it isn't surprising that it has a quality of despair due to the energy crisis, the political effects of the Vietnam war and the social turmoil of the time. The 20 year later updates that the author has added after each chapter greatly add value to his original text, so be sure "updated for the 90's" is the subtitle of the edition you get. In contrast to another reviewer, I'd say the final chapter stands far above the specifics of the rest and would be worth reading now or at any time in the future.

The question is: can humanity survive the coming decades when pressures will come to bear that cannot be avoided? This is an extremely important question to those who live under capitalism (more of us all the time) which admits to no end to growth. The environment will increasingly resist efforts to grow the wealth of humanity as a whole as it is already challenged by the growth in the wealth of individuals (how many cars can be packed on a road when so many want bigger vehicles?) Societies of those accustomed to expecting and demanding more, knowing no limitation on freedom of action other than the need to accumulate money to buy things, will not receive limitations gladly. What would it mean to face the fact that at some point a generation must realize that, no, their children cannot live better than they do? Will one kind of social or political system be better suited to the future than others? Heilbroner's fears are that we will put current desires and comforts ahead of any concern for the future of our kind and will live life to the max until we hit a wall. He cites none other than Adam Smith writing of how self interest puts the slightest threat to one's own well-being far beyond horrors to great numbers of others on the other side of the world. At what point will those without stop tolerating a lopsided distribution of wealth? When limitations start to bite, will democracy hold up or will a "strong leader" be called forth to take control over a multitude bickering for pieces of the pie? to say that growth can continue endlessly is to ignore this and that's exactly what world leaders are doing in the 21st century.

Technology, in this book, is seen for the undoubted good that it has done. But it also steps up the level of consumption and presents new problems that did not present themselves at lower levels of technology. For example, agricultural output has increased due to artificial fertilizer, but now we have the "dead zone" in the Gulf of Mexico. A new car pollutes far less due to tech advances but there are so many more cars. In this way, technology can never be our savior because it simply changes the nature of the threats we face. Only if we were to use a tech advance to work its magic without our lurching to even greater levels and variety of consumption would it truly be a savior. Can we ever set a limit on ourselves voluntarily before we lose our freedom to choose to do so? Technology has always seemed to save us, but that's an illusion. It has only given us a series of life-preservers that we continue to overload, in the belief that yet another will be thrown to us by science. We stoutly resist a hard look at ourselves and move on to the next higher level of lifestyle.

The easy out is to label books like this as "gloom and doom" and say that the tide will rise and lift all boats. Nobody will have to do without anything at any time in the future if we just keep on growing. More people can always have more. But we all know there is no perpetual motion machine, particularly one that endlessly operates faster and over a wider field than it did before. But to question the way we live is to admit that something must change and that raises anxiety, so the question is left unaddressed, expecially if things are good...and for those in power all over the world, things are definitely good.

Heilbroner is quick to admit that he doesn't have the answers, but he courageously asks the questions we need to ask and soon. His last chapter is very moving and can't help but make a reader wonder what we are doing to the future by living heedlessly. If it is rational to value something you may have today far beyond a great multiple of that something in the distant future (as economists tell us) then will rationality save future generations of the creature that possesses it?

Heilbroner's productive life was in the 20th century, but he has left us a wake-up call, and a challenge in this book.