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The Future in Plain Sight: A Look at Our Planet in the Year 2050 Paperback – Jan 29 2002
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Forget the year 2000 bug, says Eugene Linden, the world's in for something much bigger than power outages and fouled-up databases. The clues are everywhere, but what do they all mean? The Future in Plain Sight argues that the history of the world is full of ebbs and flows, periods of stability followed by instability. Every now and again, everything changes: the climate, the social order, the shape of the terrain. Linden outlines the nine major indications that the world is ready for another round of instability, claiming that the political, social, economic, environmental, and biological problems we all face today are not as unrelated or as random as they may seem.
Yet Linden actively discredits most doomsday scenarios, which usually seem to blame some outside force for bringing on disaster. In his view, the existing problems will continue to feed upon and exacerbate each other. Crowded cities, for example, put further stress on a sick, polluted environment, allowing diseases to spread faster, while social and political unrest causes native populations to uproot and immigrate to other countries, creating new cycles of poverty, disease, and overpopulation.
Linden doesn't pretend to know how the human race will deal with these issues, nor does he claim to know all the answers. But The Future in Plain Sight tells a compelling and frightening story that deserves to be heard out. --Elisabeth Higgins --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
From Publishers Weekly
In one of eight near-future scenarios envisioned by Time science and environmental writer Linden (Apes, Men and Language), New York's rampant consumer culture has given way to a more civic-minded, moralistic city ravaged by AIDS and other plagues, where people wear flowing robes that are a convenient way to cope with frequent, cumbersome sterilization procedures in the workplace. Far-fetched as that may seem, it's a very real consequence of what Linden sees as the destabilizing political, economic, biological factors transforming the world in the next half century. In this wide-ranging look at contemporary global trends, he shows how the volatility of the financial markets, massive internal migration of the poor to mega-cities, resurgent infectious diseases, loss of biodiversity and the widening gap both between rich and poor nations and between a technocratic elite and surplus workers are leading to an age of greater instability. Not all of these trends are cause for despair. Other futurscapes Linden outlines are a London that has supplanted Wall Street as the world's financial capital; Kansas farmlands that rely on bioengineered seeds; a central Africa that reels from epidemics; an Antarctica that sheds its ice cover; and a once-poor Mexican village that thrives with the help of small power plants and family planning. Linden's speculative forecasts are cautionary tales stressing the need for ecological sanity. Although his ideas are often so sketchy and his prognoses so fanciful as to seem science fictional, Linden's attention to the large and small-scale events transforming our planet are sufficiently down-to-earth to make his crystal-ball vision of the new millennium less outlandish than it might otherwise seem.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Top Customer Reviews
It's tough enough to predict the near (a couple of years)future, but when it comes to several decades--it' fun to fantasize,but don't take it seriously.
The author thought he would try anyway.So,remember now, he wrote this book in 1998.Read more ›
Linden visits nine areas, including climate change, increased population and larger cities, resource depletion, environmental degradation, religious fundamentalism/fanaticism, economic instability, etc. These analyses are then followed by realistic, but speculative, scenarios describing life in the event of the anticipated change. Author Linden does an excellent job in avoiding the Cassandra-style, apocalyptic language so common to writers in this area. Surely, the facts alone are sufficient, and Linden is to be praised for discerning the difference.
All are well done, but I was particularly impressed by the chapter on religious fundmentalism. As Linden so carefully describes matters, this fundamentalism, Christian or Muslim, is a response to the scientific and economic uncertainty of today's society. The true believer yearns to return to a simpler, more certain, time, and is perfectly willing to throw out the baby with the bath water to get it, including equal rights, scientific advances, better living conditions, etc. Anyone skeptical of this statement is invited to consider Iran, the Taliban, Creationism, and the like. I have not found Linden's peer in describing the origin and effects of religious fundamentalism on society as we know it. The whole book is more than worth it for this one chapter alone. Every thinking person should read it.
In short, the book is an outstanding addition to anyone's library. I recommend it very highly.
Most recent customer reviews
Eugene Linden explains that most of civilization's history has included long periods of remarkable stability, including the last few decades. Read morePublished on May 29 2001 by Rolf Dobelli
This book is less than speculation. The flashpoints of the future cannot be recognized from our current perspective. Read morePublished on Aug. 15 1999
Bought the book six months ago, read it and almost forgot it. But look out -- author Eugene Linden's bold predictions are coming true. Read morePublished on March 4 1999
At a time when our leaders all too often take credit where none is due and place blame on those least deserving, it is refreshing to be reminded that much of fate lies beyond our... Read morePublished on Feb. 28 1999
This book is very suspect and stinks of mind control. When one looks to the future you have to look back and who,but the Illuminati have been controlling the world thru... Read morePublished on Jan. 18 1999
I cannot begin to express the degree of insanity present in this narrative. This book will do a very good job of raising the idiocy level of all its readers. Read morePublished on Jan. 9 1999 by Armand Tatevossian
As a life committed to the study and fulfillment of the future, I can say that I'm aware of no other book more prescient of the challanges humanity has created for itself. Read morePublished on Dec 22 1998
Dispelling the cyber-utopian and financial boom scenarios, exemplified by Wired Magazine and Harry Dent respectively, Mr. Read morePublished on Nov. 28 1998 by firstname.lastname@example.org
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