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Cold War LegaciesSystems, Theory, Aesthetics$
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John Beck and Ryan Bishop

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781474409483

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474409483.001.0001

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The Future: RAND, Brand and Dangerous to Know

The Future: RAND, Brand and Dangerous to Know

(p.35) Chapter 1 The Future: RAND, Brand and Dangerous to Know
Cold War Legacies

John Beck

Edinburgh University Press

The interdisciplinary field of futures research is now at the heart of policy-making and business strategy, but the serious study of the future has its roots in Cold War strategy, led by Hermann Kahn at the RAND Corporation and the Hudson Institute. The migration of futures research into business was accompanied by a burgeoning countercultural futurism, most vividly embodied in Stewart Brand’s Whole Earth Catalog. The founding of the Global Business Network in 1987 brought together many of the key players from business futurism and the avant-garde wing of futures studies, forging a high-powered consultancy that went on to provide services for multi-national corporations and government agencies. As pressing contemporary issues such as global security and climate change prompt futures researchers to develop scenarios intended to deal with potentially extinction-level catastrophes, can an interrogation of the recent history of the future contribute to the release of a critical engagement with the future that is not beholden to the lockdown of its Cold War legacy?

Keywords:   cold war, future, RAND, Stewart Brand, Herman Kahn, Counterculture

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