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Attali (Millennium ), cofounder and first president of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, offers his predictions for the 21st century in this clunky futurist fantasy. Positing that "history flows in a single, stubborn, and very particular direction" toward "man's progressive liberation," the author projects that course with surprising results. He predicts that the mercantile order that prevails today will exhaust itself within a generation or so and be replaced by a unified and stateless global market-a "super-empire" controlled by an innovative class of selfish "hypernomads." This "super-empire" will lead to extreme imbalances of wealth and poverty that will cause its collapse by 2050-perhaps accompanied by a round of planetary warfare. Humanity will emerge chastened from the wreckage and erect a utopia of "hyperdemocracy" led by a class of "transhumans" -a new breed of altruistic "citizens of the world." Attali's utopia relies on illusory historical laws, and his thesis proves more entertaining than plausible. (Mar.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.