Tuesday, February 16, 2016

A Future of Opportunity or Threat? Marina Gorbis -The Nature of the Future

Marina Gorbis -The Nature of the Future: Dispatches from the Socialstructed World

What I like about the Book – It’s Definitely Thought Provoking

Ms Gorbis provides readers insights into how people with limited means can survive in a socioeconomic environment without having access to high monetary income, social status, institutional backing or education. Gorbis begins the book citing her own childhood while living in the former Soviet Union. Gorbis came from a family of limited means. Her mother was a widow and without much of an income. However, her mother successfully developed unconventional logistics and social networks to acquire products, goods, services and education most often enjoyed by middle class
families in her former country.

Gorbis identifies a number of unconventional means normal people can leverage to navigate challenging economic, social and educational barriers to achieve goals.

I also like how she identifies other economic systems I’ve seldom given thought too outside the normal transactional or bartering systems, such as sharing and gifting economic systems.

What Bothers Me About the Book

I’ve questions I hope to eventually submit to Ms Gorbis at some point. While the purpose of her book and observations is to document and reveal how people can adapt to survive in challenging circumstances, Gorbis appears to highlight the negative impacts of technology that are forcing people to have to resort to unconventional means to survive…not become wealthy...but just to survive. I have to ask myself, is the American Dream is gone?

She describes how technology is leading to a loss of jobs and people’s ability to survive in ways many of us may consider conventional…such as having a steady job, saving for retirement, etc. Instead, Gorbis makes many references to how TRIBEs survive…when I think of tribes I think of the word primitive…just getting by and surviving. I underscore my understanding of this because her frequent references to primitive cultures throughout the first three chapters.  

I definitely recommend reading this book. I don’t think the number of Amazon comments do Ms Gorbis justice. What she identifies is very much worth understanding because of what I see are huge implications for American society and our way of life, as we know it- a mixed blessing. One may feel hopeful because it shows how humans can adapt and survive. It seems also comes across as depressing to me as it seems our technological world is actually leading to a degeneration of American society towards socialism.

I close this post with mixed feelings and let you judge her findings yourself.  You can find out more about MsGorbis’s book on Amazon.
updated: 17Feb16

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