The American Future: A Dialogue
A debate on major issues in resources and the future.
The future costs and availability of oil and other minerals essential to the American economy have not loomed large as issues in the 1976 Presidential campaign. The "energy crisis" of 1973-74 has faded from public attention, leaving a legacy of higher fuel prices, a national 55 m.p.h. speed limit, and a lingering uneasiness, perhaps, about the long-term exhaustion of the earth's finite resources. Forecasts by the specialists vary widely. There are optimists like Geologist James Boyd who see technological solutions; pessimists like Systems Analyst Dennis Meadows, co-author of The Limits to Growth; and those in between like Nuclear Physicist Alvin Weinberg. In a lively "evening dialogue" earlier this year at the Wilson Center, these three men and their audience examined major issues that crop up in discussions of resources and the future. We present an abbreviated transcript of their debate, then excerpts from essays by Walt W. Rostow, Henry C. Wallich, and Eugene B. Skolnikoff on the long-range outlook.