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Merrelyn Emery, January 2021

This is the story of how we created the future, the last few years from 1973 to 2009. This period just so happens to cover the period of neoliberalism from its introduction in the late 1970s to the beginning of its decline about 30 years later. Because the data is taken verbatim from the direct perceptions of ordinary people around the world as they plan in their organizations and communities, it affords us a first hand insight into how neoliberalism affected beliefs and behaviours and consequently adaptive and maladaptive cultural change.

This book began life as an answer to the question of whether 9/11 changed the world. However, as that is no simple thing to do, it evolved into a detailed tracking of social change over time. We, the research team that initiated the work, compiled a global database covering the period 1993-2009 but in the course of the research, we picked up the results of a previous study of social change in Australia covering 1973-1978.

Against the vast canvas of these global changes, the data and its analyses allow us to do three things:

  • to assess whether 9/1 really did change the world,

  • track the rise and fall of a bad idea, neoliberalism, and

  • have a peek into the future.

That period of change is set in the context of 65,000 years of documented human history with its major dramatic changes. More specifically, it identifies this period as a reaction by the elites to the huge wave of change that rolled in after World War II, culminating in the convulsions of the 1960-70s Cultural Revolution. Chapter by chapter, the data unfolds over time in Australia and around the world. Through it we see the rolling effects of the behaviours of the elites and the people as they perform their intricate dances together, the elites predominantly attempting to regain and retain control while the people react and fight exercising both their ideal seeking and passive resistance.

At times, as of now, the future has looked grim. But over and above all the twists and turns in these dances of people and their would be masters, one overriding factor comes through: that is the absolute determination of the people to build a better world, one built on equality, a genuine democracy, and a desirable future for all.

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