THE WORLD IN 2020 by Hamish McRae

THE WORLD IN 2020

Power, Culture and Prosperity
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KIRKUS REVIEW

 An English journalist's judicious, albeit limited, take on the shape of things to come over the next generation. In evaluating what the future might hold, McRae, an associate editor of the British periodical Independent, all but ignores large areas of the Global Village, most notably the Middle East, to focus on North America, Western Europe, and East Asia. Before venturing any predictions, however, the author offers savvy status reports on the three economically consequential and committedly capitalist regions he has singled out for attention. McRae then assesses the forces that promise to change the developed world in the next 30 years or so. Cases in point range from demography (which tops his short list) through financial services, governance, natural resources, sociopolitical organization, technology, and trade. The accessible text (published last year in the UK) has helpful graphics and tabular material throughout. Getting down to business, the author provides plausibly detailed briefings on his trio of industrialized locales two decades into the next millennium. In McRae's informed opinion, for example, a vibrant US will have moved further down the road toward becoming a truly multicultural society, one whose living standards may depend on its capacity to reduce the costs of broken homes, crime, a decline in personal responsibility, and excessive litigiousness. By contrast, he suggest that the EU's economic ties could have come undone as a result of cultural diversity and issues of sovereignty. In the meantime, he concludes, an aging Japan could be hard put to keep pace with populous mainland China, whose economic potential is just now being realized. Whether or not McRae has 20/20 foresight, his short-run scenarios for free enterprise's showcase venues are both thought- provoking and credible. (Illustrations)

Pub Date: March 31st, 1995
ISBN: 0-87584-604-1
Page count: 320pp
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1st, 1995