Friday, February 20, 2009

Book Review of "The Next 100 Years"

The book is The Next 100 Years: A Forecast for the 21st Century By George Friedman. It was reviewed in the San Antonio Express-News recently. The book makes some incredible predictions. Here are some that are hard to believe:

"In the '30s, America will see a massive financial crisis exacerbated by the retirement of the baby boomers and a worldwide population shortage. Instead of restricting immigration, Friedman predicts that the United States will start paying people to immigrate to America. He argues that the United States will emerge financially stronger, as it always does after such crises.

The '40s will see the emergence of three new great powers: Japan, Turkey and Poland. Japan will attempt to take control of the Pacific; Turkey will be the strongest power in the Islamic countries; and Poland will scoop up the remnants of Eastern Europe after the collapse of the Russian Federation. American interests will be threatened by the resurgence of Japan and Turkey, leading to the next global war in the '50s.

However, says Friedman, the Third World War won't be fought as the first two were: It will begin with sneak attacks on American military space stations.

America will retaliate with hypersonic weapon strikes on Japanese and Turkish forces. After about two years of fighting, America and its ally Poland will emerge victorious."

21 comments:

Teresa said...

Interesting prospects... lol!
I'm certainly pleased to see Poland among the ultimate winners, but, seriously, who would belive in this forecasts? I often aks myself why people underestimate the danger coming from aggresive islamic countries? THIS is the issue of 21th century...

Cyril Morong said...

Teresa

Thanks for dropping by and commenting. I also find these forecasts hard to believe. Apparently the author and my local newspaper's editorial staff do. You are right that dangers will come from many sources.

Cyril

Cyril Morong said...

Teresa

Forgot to ask. Are you Polish? Three of my grandparents were born in Poland.

Cyril

Patrick said...

It was interesting that you posted this. I heard him on a radio talk show talking about his book just a few days before this and caught some of his interview. I agree with you that its ridiculous to make predictions so bold for the future. I heard him justify his claims for an American/Japanese war in the future by suggesting that all great power struggles have several acts(he referenced France & Great Britain) and that Japan and America had not exausted its confrontation in their previous encounters. I guess his evidence for Turkey's being a world power is its currently strong economy. But what evidence is there that Poland is on the rise?(sorry, I know your rootin for your heritage, lol) Either way it makes for some semi-interesting conversation and he knows that. He's just selling books.

Cyril Morong said...

I don't know of any evidence that Poland is on the rise or on the rise more than any other country. I think they are doing okay, but I have not heard anyone before say they will be a major power in the future. You're right, this kind of book sells and gets people talking.

Teresa said...

Cyril,

Yes, I am, but actually I have a double culture as I've been studying in Paris since 2002.
Do you know the name of the region/city your grandparents come from? Your roots seem to be important for you...

By the way, my mother's family spent two generations (1863-1924) in USA, my grandma was born there too. :)

Cyril Morong said...

Teresa

All I know is that one of my grandmothers was from the Krakow area. How did you come across my blog?

Cyril

Teresa said...

Cyril,

I came across your blog by a link on another economist's blog. I study economics, so I'm interested in how current events are seen by experienced economists.

Cyril Morong said...

Teresa

Then good luck in your studies. Hope you enjoy economics and that it leads to a great career.

Cyril

DLW said...

my thoughts are that we may prevent a crisis of Social Security via moving back the retirement age somewhat, promising benefits to guest workers that pay into the system(and whom may win citizenship eventually if they are both lawful and productive during their sojourn in the US), and the use of public mutual fund that would combine the properties of an index fund and a classical hedge fund.

I also think that the demand to migrate to the US from MX could be reduced if we employed something similar to the Alaska National Permanent Fund to redistribute the wealth from oil found in lands taken from the United States of Mexico (and from within MX) equally among nonincarcerated Mexican citizens living in MX, in monthly installments.

We also could, as the US, commit to assisting guest workers in our country to vote in their home country's elections, with the idea being that they would no doubt want to reduce their competition from other immigrants by increasing job-creation at home.

dlw

DLW said...

I don't fear islamic countries for the same reason european countries are less likely to be major players. Their tendency to fall into endless squabbling among themselves.

This is particularly true for fundamentalists who either halt inquiry or get worked up over relatively irrelevant details...

Besides, their main issue has been oil wealth, but the divide and conquer approaches of the past have seemingly "worked" and if the US becomes less of a one-sided partisan of the state of Israel, it's likely that that traditional rallying cry among muslims will also be significantly reduced.
dlw

Cyril Morong said...

DLW

Thanks for dropping by. I just happened to be looking at old posts to see if there were any comments.

Cyril

DLW said...

well be sure to mention me a little after you plagiarize my ideas.

dlw
Oh and feel free to visit my own blog about an idea on how to incorp Proportional Representation into State legislative elections.

http://anewkindofparty.blogspot.com/2008/08/initiative-for-most-people-and-polemic.html

Cyril Morong said...

What plagiarism are you talking about? I had never even heard of you before.

DLW said...

It's a joke.

I'm saying feel free to bring up my ideas with others in other settings and yeah it'd be good to mention me in doing so.

dlw

Cyril Morong said...

Okay, sorry I get it.

CBinSC said...

Just finished the book. A few observations.
Except for some minor references he doesn't discuss Israel/Palestine, North Korea or Iran. In his opinion these countries won't play a major role shaping policy in the 21st century. I find that hard to believe.
He doesn't discuss the possibilities of trouble from within. Home grown terrorism could have major implications in the 21st century and he doesn't discuss it at all.
Social issues and their effects are not discussed. I would be very interested to hear his opinions on education, prisons, and health care in the 21st century.
His opinions on future technology seem to me to be short sighted.

I thought the first few chapters were really really good. His review of what got us to where we are is really good, fun reading. But when he starts getting into the now and the future, I was left asking too many question.


All in all I would recommend this book. But I wouldn't suggest buying it. Get it from your local library.

DLW said...

technology is the hardest thing to predict...

I reckon he's hinging on past geopolitical regularities and that's why he discounts areas that probably cd loom largest if they went nuclear (aka Israel/Palestine or N/S Korea) with serious fall out for the rest of us.

He does focus on the economic moreso than the social but that's because it's been a better predictor of long-term dynamics.

This is a predictor of what'll matter the most in the future, not trying to cover all the issues that might be important or are considered important right now.

AS for Iran, his point was that it's too easy for the US to smack down Iran and (it has internal divisions anyways) for it to be a major player, apart from nuclear considerations.

I've continued to simplify/refine the idea for "strategic election reform".
http://tpmcafe.talkingpointsmemo.com/talk/blogs/a/n/ankotp/2010/02/strategic-election-reform.php
dlw

Cyril Morong said...

Wow, you guys are still discussing this post after a yaer. Thanks for dropping by and sharing your insights.

DLW said...

We got 90 more years to discuss the book....

dlw

Cyril Morong said...

You make me want to LOL out loud.