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A Brief History of the Future: A Brave and Controversial Look at the Twenty-First Century

Overview

What will planet Earth be like in twenty years? At mid-century? In the year 2100? Prescient and convincing, this book is a must-read for anyone concerned about the future. Never has the world offered more promise for the future and been more fraught with dangers. Attali anticipates an unraveling of American hegemony as transnational corporations sever the ties linking free enterprise to democracy. World tensions will be primed for horrific warfare for resources and dominance. The ultimate question is: Will we ...

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A Brief History of the Future: A Brave and Controversial Look at the Twenty-First Century

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Overview

What will planet Earth be like in twenty years? At mid-century? In the year 2100? Prescient and convincing, this book is a must-read for anyone concerned about the future. Never has the world offered more promise for the future and been more fraught with dangers. Attali anticipates an unraveling of American hegemony as transnational corporations sever the ties linking free enterprise to democracy. World tensions will be primed for horrific warfare for resources and dominance. The ultimate question is: Will we leave our children and grandchildren a world that is not only viable but better, or in this nuclear world bequeath to them a planet that will be a living hell? Either way, he warns, the time to act is now.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

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.
Kirkus Reviews
An unsettling but fascinating divination of how the relentless march of market forces will play out over the coming centuries, by French economist and scholar Attali (Millennium: Winners and Losers in the Coming Order, 1991, etc.). In this prediction of the doom of capitalism, written five years ago and updated since the U.S. banking crisis, Attali enlists his considerable knowledge of world systems-geopolitical, economic, ideological, cultural and ecological-to trace the progress of market democracy and its tumultuous evolution through nine successive flourishings. The author notes that it will culminate in a terrifying, unstable future plagued by a scarcity of natural resources, ruptured nation states and individuals relegated to nomadic servility under a "super-empire." Attali begins with a "Brief History of Capitalism," wherein he pursues the organizing forms of the mercantile order around nine "cores" throughout history. The author identifies each of the cores by the name of a port city-Bruges, Venice, Antwerp, Genoa, Amsterdam, London, Boston, New York, Los Angeles-or by the defining technological innovation of the time-the stern rudder, caravel, printing, accounting practices, reed instrument, steam engine, internal-combustion engine, electric motor, microprocessor. The last core, which, according to Attali, began in Los Angeles in 1980, will extend its "beautiful future" only another 20 years, until the markets begin to exhaust themselves. Nonetheless, Attali foresees a possible benevolent end, once collective repulsion for super-empire and "hyperconflict" ensues. Consequently, he writes, "hyperdemocracy" will emerge, led by just, peaceable leaders devoted to the protection of thecommon good. Well-informed, outre reading from a big-ideas thinker. First printing of 17,500. Author tour to New York and Washington, D.C.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781611450132
  • Publisher: Arcade Publishing
  • Publication date: 7/1/2011
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 312
  • Sales rank: 748,882
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.10 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Jacques Attali is an economist, historian, cultural critic, and corporate strategist. A French presidential adviser for finance and economics for many years, he cofounded and served as the first president of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. He lives in Paris, France.
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Table of Contents

1 A very long history 1

2 A brief history of capitalism 19

3 The end of the American empire 105

4 First wave of the future : planetary empire 165

5 Second wave of the future : planetary war 211

6 Third wave of the future : planetary democracy 255

Index 279

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 27, 2012

    A booklet without a single source!

    In “A Brief History of the Future” Attali tells the history of the world and predicts its next 50 years without citing a single source.

    In this booklet, written without the benefit of a single footnote, Attali rambles without any particular structure about the future of the world, presenting a number of interesting scenarios which, in the end, utterly fail to convince the reader that even the author himself believes in much of what he is saying.

    This account resembles more the wishful-thinking scenario for the future that the sinister internationalist power elites are obsessed with, rather than a serious scholarly work.

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