- Hardcover: 462 pages
- Publisher: Information Science Reference; 1 edition (October 10, 2008)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1605660043
- ISBN-13: 978-1605660042
- Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 1 x 11 inches
- Shipping Weight: 3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 1 customer review
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #16,165,623 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Information Technology and Societal Development 1st Edition
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"This book includes extensive discussions on the concepts and dimensions of information and communication technology in terms of how that technology has shaped humanity and transformed it into an "e-communicating species." This book was written for a wide audience." --Book News Inc. (February 2009)
About the Author
Andrew Targowski was engaged in the development of social computing in totalitarian Poland (INFOSTRADA and Social Security # for 38 million citizens-PESEL, 1972) and received political asylum in the U.S. during the crackdown on solidarity in 1981. He has been a professor of business information systems at Western Michigan University since 1980. He published 21 books on information technology, history, and political science (Red Fascism, 1982) in English and Polish. During the 1990s, he was a director of the TeleCITY of Kalamazoo Project, one of the first digital cities in the U.S. He investigates the role of information-communication in enterprise, economy, and civilization. He is a president of the International Society for the Comparative Study of Civilizations and a former chairman of the Advisory Council of the Information Resources Management Association (1995-2003).
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In more recent years he has found himself in Kalamazoo, Michigan at Western Michigan University in the School of Business. How can that possibly fit together? His local information technology work included serious contributions and roles in making Kalamazoo a 'digital city' where every home and office and classroom has WEB access. It is one of the first efforts like this in the U.S. and I could begin to see what this had to do with "civilizations". In the School of Business it looks like his focus on the twin concepts of 'business' and 'sustainability' in the fullest sense. This is where this really big book started to get good for me.
The second half of this work is a detailed accounting of the worlds remaining natural resources, from oil to water. These accounts are drawn on multiple sourced reports and estimates that are often accumulated by businesses themselves. For instance, the oil companies have pretty much mapped out what oil is where and even where they may hope for surprises. As Targowski proceeds he surveys what remains in striking detail and the current rates of depletion of these natural resources. This is also organized as 'what every businessman or woman should know" about sustainability of the biosphere and their business. But it gets way better.
Targowski presents his projections into the near future where he finds the "Death Triangle of 2050" is looming! Given the variables of population growth, oil depletion (which food production relies on and fertilizers and pesticides) and other precious metals and minerals he predicts that there will be a vast crash of carbon based civilizations. This will be marked by what the population, now estimated to reach 9 billion by 2050, will experience as mass famine and starvation. Agricultural production in 1800 was able to feed about 1 billion people with pre-carbon technology. In time, whether 2050 or 2075, the planet will face this unerring technical reality again. Batteries won't solve it because we are running out of the metals used to make the batteries too! And making batteries poisons the earth and is not a substitute for oil based fertilizers.
One of the biggest investments in North America by BP oil company in the last few years was the purchase of a huge chemical plant that manufactures fertilizer from oil in Canada. They know the 'future' of oil consumption will be food before transportation.
Andrew Targowski lays this all out in an under stated way that fits his personal presence, one that struck me as a reserved gentleman and scholar. The data collection and presentation is detailed and well crafted and provides the best picture of where the planet is "at" that I have found in any one source. His writing lacks hysteria. In my case the reader more than makes up for it! Without the emotion it gives substance to Baudrillard's conjectures.
My school library did not know where to put this book. At first it was sent over to 'the computer guys' who must have ordered it. They sent it back to the main library saying this was not for them. Some one finally realized that it was my fault and that I asked that it be ordered. It was put in the reference section of the library, but that means you may not check it out. This is a big book and not a quick read. I did get into it enough that I had to buy my own. This book went way beyond my normal 'book budget' but I have read it and studied it and I have returned to it many times for reference material.
If you are a social scientist type who can get past a fear of technology, science and business then this book is something you must know. As sure as the coast of Florida will end up in northern Georgia before too long we face a series of events that are stunning if only a small portion are close to real and true. I guess by now you know I think this is an important work of scholarship and as relevant to contemporary life on this planet as is possible.
If I had a wish it would be that Professor Targowski would abstract the later portions of this book that brings into focus the "Death Triangle of 2050" and publish that as a paper back with a more engaging title. In the meantime this is not a summer beach book so if you are lucky enough to live in the northern climes this is perfect for a January and February in that comfy chair by the wood stove, if you can get the cat out of it. If he is close to right we may not have many more winters to figure it out.