The Year 2000

In This Review

The Year 2000

By Raymond Williams
Pantheon, 1984
288 pp. $16.95

One of Britain's consistently most interesting radical thinkers tries here to look at the future in the light of present trends. Most striking to read, or reread, is the prescient essay called "Britain in the Sixties," reprinted here from his book The Long Revolution. Writing in 1959, a (relatively) glowing moment, Williams foresaw that the economic boom was not going to last, that the egalitarian tide of the postwar years was losing momentum, that in spirit the British were becoming more "capitalist" than ever-that is, more compromising, more competitive, and not less obsessed with class. And indeed, brotherhood did not come to Britain in the 1960s. In this book he attempts the same sort of projection in terms of the conflict and competition between East and West and North and South. But in going outside British life in all its concreteness, his analysis is less original, because he is on less solid terrain. He can conjure up salvation only in "a positive redemption of the central socialist idea of production for use rather than for profit or power." This would indeed be a new international order, but it does not seem to be close at hand.

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