Alvin Tofler, who died on Monday, was a 1970’s Futurist. His first book ,’Future Shock, a multi-million copy best seller, dealt with the impact of the post-industrial, and the birth of the techno/information age. Tofler wrote with optimism about the promise of the techno-age yet he and his wife and co-author Heidi, were dystopian about the dangers of the changes. He wrote “The roaring current of change was producing visible and measurable effects in individuals that fractured marriages, overwhelmed families and caused confusional breakdowns”
As a young man Tofler was a Marxist. After graduating university he and his wife Heidi, moved to Cleveland to work on the assembly line in factories. The Toflers knew the tedium and conformity of early 50’s America but as he put it – “The problem is not whether man can survive regimentation and standardisation. The problem … is whether he can survive freedom.”
Tofler predicted that faced with new freedoms, rather than face uncertainty, people might entrench and choose fundamentalism and science itself will be reduced to Scientism.
I think this week has proved him right.