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Opinion: Is America "the land of the future"?1

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PurposeThe purpose of this paper is to consider the view that America is "the land of the future". It argues that, owing to its sponsorship of a model of development that is exploitive and unsustainable, this is no longer the case and that US futurists, in particular, need to consciously re-evaluate their roles and work. Design/methodology/approachThe paper advances a cultural critique of US hegemony. It considers background myths and their role in creating "American exceptionalism" in various fields, including futures studies. It also critiques free market ideology, the role of corporations, market failures and the economics of exploitation. This leads to issues of truth and power and the view that a continuation of an ideology of "free enterprise" leads to the collapse of the global system. FindingsThe paper suggests a number of strategies for futurists to consider as ways of opening out their vision beyond current limitations. Practical implicationsA rationale is outlined that can support shifts in more progressive directions and moves toward more fruitful work. Originality/valueThe American futures enterprise is currently at risk from its uncritical association with dysfunctions in US society, culture and economy. The paper draws attention to some of these and indicates possible ways forward.

Keywords: Culture; Market economy; United States of America

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2008-07-18

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