The Age of Perplexity: Rethinking the World we Knew

The technological revolution we are living – the most accelerated in history – is generating transformations that affect the future of humanity. Those that seemed fundamental constants of the human species: their physical and mental capacities, their longevity … etc., are now to be defined. All this has opened what this book calls “the era of perplexity”, before changes for which we do not have guides or even less recipes to act.

The impact of globalization, of technological progress and of the insecurity that they cause is reflected in people’s decisions, and by the path that our society is following. This path that will decide our future, in the sense that it will determine our capability of facing the challenges and taking advantage of the opportunities offered up by the advances in science and technology.

In this book, we look at generalized subjects, taking in the transformation that computing and the greater availability of information brings to our perceptions and understanding of things, and in the social imaginaries, that shape our attitudes and reactions to the events that we observe.
All this underpins the changes in politics we are witnessing, the appearance of populist movements or, more generally, the lack of commitment or disaffection with political institutions and the values that support the existing democracies. In these arenas, the new digital media, new types of digital political activism, and the rise of movements that question the dominant economic and political paradigm all play a key role.

In the supranational and geopolitical level we discuss the importance of incorporating a feminist perspective to international relations (as well, of course, as to all the spheres of human activity); new types of warfare, in which neither the contenders, strategies or media resemble anything we knew before; the huge geopolitical challenge represented by the complex and diverse Arab Islamic question; the end of the brief unipolar world era, with the emergence of powers that question the United States’ hegemony, among which we highlight China; or the future role of Latin America in the global map.

Regarding the economic questions that are at the root of the current perplexity, insecurity and discontent, we examine the impact of globalization and technological change on growth, the welfare state and, above all, employment.

From this base, we look at which are the most suitable economic policies and forms of organization for harnessing the potential of the digital revolution, and also for minimizing the risks of a society with increasing inequality, with a huge number of jobs taken over by machines, or even the loss of control of individual or collective decisions.

This technological revolution will undoubtedly require a complex transition process, but we also have before us a wonderful opportunity to better tend to the needs and demands of people: with more growth, jobs and a fairer distribution of wealth, and a richer and fuller life for the whole of humanity.

All articles in the book