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Looking Forward - Prediction and Uncertainty in Modern America

Looking Forward - Prediction and Uncertainty in Modern America

von: Jamie L. Pietruska

University of Chicago Press, 2017

ISBN: 9780226509150 , 288 Seiten

Format: ePUB

Kopierschutz: DRM

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Looking Forward - Prediction and Uncertainty in Modern America


 

In the decades after the Civil War, the world experienced monumental changes in industry, trade, and governance. As Americans faced this uncertain future, public debate sprang up over the?accuracy?and?value?of predictions, asking whether it was possible to look into the future with any degree of certainty.?In Looking Forward, Jamie L. Pietruska?uncovers a culture of prediction?in the modern era, where forecasts?became commonplace?as crop forecasters, "e,weather prophets,"e, business forecasters, utopian novelists, and fortune-tellers produced and sold their visions of the future.?Private and government forecasters competed for authority-as well as for an audience-and a single prediction could make or break a forecaster's reputation.?Pietruska argues?that?this late nineteenth-century?quest for?future?certainty?had an especially ironic?consequence: it led Americans to accept uncertainty as an inescapable part of both forecasting and twentieth-century?economic and cultural?life.?Drawing together?histories of?science, technology, capitalism, environment, and culture,?Looking Forward?explores how?forecasts?functioned as new forms of knowledge and risk management tools that sometimes mitigated, but at other times exacerbated, the very uncertainties they were designed to conquer.?Ultimately?Pietruska shows?how Americans came to understand the future itself as predictable,?yet?still?uncertain.