The Sovereign Individual: How to Survive and Thrive during the Collapse of the Welfare State

The Sovereign Individual: How to Survive and Thrive during the Collapse of the Welfare State

by James Dale Davidson, Rees Mogg
     
 
In Blood in the Streets and The Great Reckoning, Davidson and Rees-Mogg foresaw many of the cataclysmic effects of the shift from an industrial to an information-based society. In their new book, they prepare readers for the chaotic upheaval that lies ahead and outline the far-reaching, practical consequences of adapting for the new global economy and the information

Overview

In Blood in the Streets and The Great Reckoning, Davidson and Rees-Mogg foresaw many of the cataclysmic effects of the shift from an industrial to an information-based society. In their new book, they prepare readers for the chaotic upheaval that lies ahead and outline the far-reaching, practical consequences of adapting for the new global economy and the information age.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The computer revolution, in the authors' dire scenario, will subvert and destroy the nation-state as globalized cybercommerce, lubricated by cybercurrency, drastically limits governments' powers to tax. They further predict that the next millennium will see an enormous decline in the influence of politicians, lobbyists, labor unions and regulated professions as new information technologies democratize talent and innovation and decentralize the workplace. In their forecast, citizenship will become obsolete; new forms of sovereignty reminiscent of medieval merchant republics will spring up; electronic plebiscites will decide legislative proposals; mafias, renegade covert agencies and criminal gangs will exercise much more behind-the-scenes power. Davidson and Rees-Mogg, who publish Strategic Investment, a financial newsletter, present an apocalyptic exercise that is unconvincing. Appendices offer advice to "Sovereign Individuals" (members of the information elite) on how to invest, find tax shelters, avoid criminals and list one's business on the World Wide Web. (Feb.)
Library Journal
Following up their equally visionary Blood in the Streets (LJ 5/1/87) and The Great Reckoning (S. & S., 1993), the authors offer a sweeping analysis of the implications, especially financial, of the information age. According to Jupiter Communications, a research firm specializing in emerging technologies, in the year 2000 online transactions will total about $7.3 billion, and new payment methods such as electronic money will be used for almost half of that amount. The authors explain that such developments are driving a "megapolitical" level of societal transformation similar in scope and significance to the end of the Roman Empire or the 15th-century gunpowder revolution. The key result of this information revolution will be the advent of the "sovereign individual" and the death of mass democracy and the welfare state. The authors are serious, conservative thinkers whose advice will attract attention on Wall Street. A major work; strongly recommended for academic libraries.-Dale F. Farris, Groves, Tex.
Kirkus Reviews
In this combination of sweeping metahistory and myopic self- interest some statements are penetrating, others appalling, and all are astonishing.

Davidson and Rees-Mogg (The Great Reckoning, 1991, etc.) predict that the "nanny state" of the Industrial Age is about to be replaced by "Sovereign Individuals" in the Information Age. The growing ease of transferring assets electronically across state borders will preclude taxation (a constant source of bitter complaint in this volume), and consequently, states will cease to exist. In a decentralized environment talented individuals will act unimpeded by external authority; indeed, they will hardly need to interact with other human beings. The argument is original, and the details reflect serious thought about the social implications of emerging technology. Before following Davidson and Rees-Mogg into cyberspace, however, the reader should consider how ideological convictions shape this vision of the future. Casting the state as nothing more than an entity for waging war and with a rapacious appetite for revenues overlooks governmental functions that may be important to people not consumed with avoiding taxes. Rejecting meaningful human bonds beyond the kinship links of sociobiology and shared financial interest neglects aspects of community life that may be treasured by those not so eager to trade social responsibilities for an investor's utopia. Anticipating that widely divergent incomes in the Information Age will render democracy "a recipe for legalized parasitism" disregards the possibility that allegiance may rest on concerns such as legitimacy and justice.

Nevertheless, Davidson and Rees-Mogg must be given their due. While wild claims (e.g., a reference to "the poorly disguised murder of Vincent Foster" in a vitriolic attack on the Clintons) raise questions about their objectivity, you have to respect authors who boldly state their convictions and predictions.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780684810072
Publisher:
Simon & Schuster
Publication date:
02/03/1997
Pages:
416
Product dimensions:
6.42(w) x 9.51(h) x 1.19(d)

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