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Utopia or Bust

The grand narrative of the long century between 1870 and 2010 was about technological triumph, coupled with social-organizational failure. Now, the politics of economic governance has gotten even messier, opening up the possibility that we will end up with the worst of all possible worlds.

BERKELEY – My book on the economic history of the twentieth century, published last fall, did not include a chapter on the question of the future or “what we should do next,” because my frequent co-author, Stephen S. Cohen, convinced me that whatever I wrote would come to look outdated and silly within six months. He was right: such arguments are better left to commentaries like this one. So, if I had written a final chapter looking to the future, what should I have said?