Underlying ongoing intellectual debates and conflicts, such as those between growth economists and environmentalists, there is a conflict of world views. In this case, it defines both the way in which the problem of development is conceptualized as well as the kinds of solutions which are proposed. This conflict arises from different assumptions about the nature of causality and change.
The centre is no longer holding. Consensus, while it may not have disappeared, is at least seriously called into question. Indeed, to judge from many contemporary novels, films and plays, it often appears that the only social consensus possible is a documentation of the fragmentation.
If this century has been characterized by the conviction of living in a fragmented universe, the truth is that a coherent and ordered picture of the world has nevertheless gradually emerged and taken on a definite form. The new picture is modelled exactly on the old idea of an ordered hierarchical universe, except that where man was once near the top of this order (beneath the angelic realms), now he is somewhere near the bottom. Where once his authority was taken to be divinely inspired, now it has come to be seen as a kind of usurpation.