Review of [The Unprepared Society : Planning for a Precarious Future], by Donald N. Michael.

by Yehezkel Dror

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Michael's book deals with the problem of the relations between images of the future and present planning issues. After defining the need to develop social institutions for forecasting, the author provides contrasting vantage points for viewing the future. He then discusses the problems associated with long-range planning. The reviewer finds that the author does not consider here the possibilities provided by modern policy sciences for dealing with uncertain futures, such as sequential decisionmaking, contingency planning, etc. The reviewer also takes issue with his proposition that social values can be taught, that such values do prepare future policymakers for the decisionmaking they will encounter, and that such persons would achieve leadership positions. However, these issues enhance the value of the book, and it is recommended for those interested in the subject, particularly as a focal point for related discussions. (Prepared for publication in Futures.)

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