Boom or Gloom? The Great Debate

  • John Gribbin


Over the past few years the great debate about world futures — where are we going, and how are we going to get there — has thrown up two completely contrasting ‘world views’. One view, labelled a ‘doomsday’ scenario and with proponents sometimes referred to as ‘the prophets of doom’ sees the world as we know it more or less inevitably falling apart and crashing about our ears, as unrestricted growth of population, runaway pollution and overexploitation of limited resources runs riot. This is certainly a pretty gloomy view: but it isn’t, in fact, the worst thing that could happen, since there remains the almost unmentionable, in polite society, threat of all-out nuclear war. An even more dramatic possible end for civilisation as we know it. So I choose a more modest name for the eco-catastrophe doomsayers, the ‘prophets of gloom’. The real doomsday stuff certainly is not going to be ignored in this book, and will be discussed fully in Chapter Two. But here I want to concentrate on the contrast between those prophets of gloom and the other extreme view presented by the opposed school of thought, those superoptimists best described as the ‘prophets of boom’.


Internal Combustion Engine World System Great Debate Future World Future Debate 
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Copyright information

© The Science Policy Research Unit, University of Sussex, and John Gribbin 1979

Authors and Affiliations

  • John Gribbin
    • 1
  1. 1.Science Policy Research UnitUniversity of SussexBrightonEngland

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