Futurecast: How Superpowers, Populations, and Globalization Will Change Your World by the Year 2020

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What will life be like in America, Europe, Japan, and China in the year 2020?

As the world grows increasingly interconnected and inter-related by globalization, economic crisis and new technologies, the answer to this important question depends largely on the paths taken by the world’s major nations. In Futurecast, Robert J. Shapiro, a man world leaders and heads of industry look to for straight talk on the global economic, political and financial affairs, sketches the future with a critical eye to tell us what our world will really be like over the next decade. In this brief time, he foresees monumental changes caused by three historic new forces— globalization, the aging of societies, and America’s role as a sole superpower with no near peer— that will determine the paths of nations and the lives of countless millions.

• The U.S. and China will be the world’s two indispensable economies, dominating the course of globalization.

• Globalization will continue to shift heavy manufacturing and millions of high-end service jobs from advanced countries like the U.S., to China, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Romania, Turkey and other developing nations.

• Europe’s major nations and Japan will face the prospect of serious economic decline and critical problems in their retirement pension systems, pushing them further towards the periphery of global economic and geopolitical power.

• Every major country—the U.S., Europe, Japan, China—will face critical problems maintaining their health care systems, and the entire world will face a slow-motion crisis over energy supplies and the need to confront climate change.

In an unstable world, Robert Shapiro's Futurecast is a necessary road map to the coming years.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“[Shapiro’s book] is a storm warning at a time when food shortages, higher energy prices and a credit crunch are forcing our heads out of the sand: if readers turn to Futurecast, they will find an argument that gives us a measure of what we should expect from our political leaders - and from ourselves - if we are to continue our civilization on the high plateau we have managed to reach.”—The Financial Times

"Rob Shapiro's prescient and insightful book probes the confluence of challenges that society will face in the coming years. He argues that our world has become increasingly interdependent, and we must foster global cooperation to achieve a sustainable existence with equal opportunity for all. Futurecast is a vital resource for anyone seeking to understand the world our children will inherit."— President Bill Clinton

"Alarming but challenging. A dense yet well-written overview of the heavy factors that will remake the world. A thorough and gifted analysis."—Management Today

"Entertaining and educational. Shapiro deftly pulls together facts and figures to back up his statements. An illuminating, satisfying read."—Kirkus

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312352431
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 7/21/2009
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Pages: 368
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

ROBERT J. SHAPIRO is chairman of Sonecon, LLC, an economic advisory firm, and a fellow at numerous academic and research institutions. He served as Under Secretary of Commerce from 1997-2001 and as Bill Clinton's principal economic advisor in the 1992 campaign. He also advised the campaign and transition of Barack Obama. He lives in Washington D.C.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

Chapter 1 The Global Blueprint 1

Chapter 2 The Demographic Earthquake 41

Chapter 3 The Primacy of Globalization 79

Chapter 4 The Two Poles of Globalization: China and the United States 127

Chapter 5 The New Economics of Decline for Europe and Japan 175

Chapter 6 The New Geopolitics of the Sole Superpower: The Players 215

Chapter 7 The Coming Crises in Health Care, Energy, and the Global Environment 247

Chapter 8 History's Wild Cards: Catastrophic Terrorism and Technological Breakthroughs 285

Notes 323

Index 344

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 4, 2009

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    For anyone who wants to better understand the larger picture of the social economic and political world inwhich we live. I highly recommend it. Most of us do not have the opportunity to view the economic situations of other nations and our relationships with them.

    This was written before the economic crash of 2008, but it is no less relevant.

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  • Posted June 8, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Sobering predictions for the next 12 years

    This is a sobering book. Many futurists evoke glowing or terrifying futures, but are hazy on the details of how the world will get from here to there. Not this one. Robert Shapiro is extremely specific. He grounds his predictions in his detailed knowledge of world events, explains the assumptions behind his reasoning, and admits where and how his forecasts may go wrong. The result is not easy reading: Shapiro's prose is dense and his topics grim. However, his book is highly useful. Anyone engaged in serious planning for the future should read it, so getAbstract recommends it to executives, investors and concerned citizens of the world who want to know where new trends will originate.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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