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Norman Macrae joined The Economist in 1949, and retired as the deputy editor of what he called "the world's favourite viewspaper" in 1988. During that time, he wrote extensively on the future of society and the impact of technology.

Amongst some of his more outlandish claims: that governments would not only reverse the nationalisation process and denationalise formerly private industries, but would also sell industries and services that had been state operated for so long that it seemed impossible that they could be run by private companies. A pioneer before the pioneers, Macrae imagined privatised and competing telecommuncations and utility companies improving service levels and reducing prices.

When others saw arms build-ups as heralding World War III, Macrae predicted the fall of the Berlin Wall by the end of the 1980's.

The Norman Macrae Archive serves as an on-line library, hosting a growing collection of Macrae articles, newspaper columns and highlights from his books. We hope that you find the articles thought provoking and will drop by our message board where you can discuss topics raised by the articles.

best wishes

David Rainey - Site Editor
Chris Macrae - Message Board Editor.


"Some will say [I have] been too optimistic. That is what a 65-year-old like me finds it natural to be. When I joined The Economist in 1949 it seemed unlikely that the world would last long. But here we stand, 40 memory-sodden years on, and what have we done?

What we have done - largely because the poorest two-thirds of people are living much longer - is approximately to octuple real gross world product. During the brief civilian working lives of us returning soldiers from the second world war, we have added seven times as much to the world's producing power as was added during all the previous millennia of homo sapien's existence. That may help to explain why some of us sound and write rather tired.

It does not explain why anybody in the next generation, to whom we gladly vacate our posts, can dare to sound pessimistic."

Norman Macrae, The Next Ages of Man. The Economist 1988