J.F. Rischard does a fabulous job of compiling his knowledge into a great introduction of twenty global issues that the world is currently facing. As the subtitle indicates, these issues are steadily becoming problems that we, as a global community, must reckon with. Rischard says that they must be solved in the coming twenty years.
Most of the twenty problems are not surprises, but some are. The author spends time mentioning that his list is not all-inclusive, and that certainly other issues could have been added (or taken off). But his list is all-encompassing and includes the following classifications and then the actual problems:
Sharing our planet: Issues involving the global commons
1. Global warming
2. Biodiversity and ecosystem losses
3. Fisheries depletion
5. Water deficits
6. Maritime safety and pollution
Sharing our humanity: Issues requiring a global commitment
7. Massive step-up in the fight against poverty
8. Peacekeeping, conflict prevention, combating terrorism
9. Education for all
10. Global infectious diseases
11. Digital Divide
12. Natural disaster prevention and mitigation
Sharing our rulebook: Issues needing a global regulatory approach
13. Reinventing taxation for the 21st century
14. Biotechnology rules
15. Global financial architecture
16. Illegal drugs
17. Trade, investment, and competition rules
18. Intellectual property rights
19. E-commerce rules
20. International labor and migration rules
Yes, this list is QUITE long and extensive! But Rischard does a wonderful job of giving a brief (3-5 pages) introduction on each issue. If you are looking for a more in depth study of these issues, then you should look elsewhere. But note that the footnotes are great places to look for sources on these issues!
In the end, the purpose of the book is to present a brief summary of these problems, then propose a method for world leaders to use in solving the issues. The author's method is a good one, and he does a nice job explaining it simple terms with "pretty" pictures, charts, and graphs. My only complaint is that -- although the method is somewhat sound -- the book left me wondering what I could do (an average American citizen) to help solve these problems. I would have liked a chapter on what types of careers -- or even small daily tasks -- can be pursued to help fight these issues on a grander scale.
This book is recommended to any individual interested in economics, finance, environment, health, etc. on the global scale.