ENCOUNTERS WITH THE FUTURE: A Forecast of Life in the 21st Century by Marvin & Thomas O'Toole Cetron

ENCOUNTERS WITH THE FUTURE: A Forecast of Life in the 21st Century

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Geopolitics and energy, religion, space science, medicine, communications, the economy: Cetron, president of Forecasting, International (in Va.), and Washington Post space-science reporter O'Toole go out on limbs in all directions, occasionally letting us know how they got there. Criteria for a nation's instability; for instance, include per capita incomes that show the top ten percent earning from 30 to 40 times more than the lowest ten percent. Also: inflation; limited natural resources; unemployment; growing population. On those not unreasonable grounds, they predict an array of dubious-to-conceivable developments by 2000: a second revolt in Iran; a unified Germany withdrawn from NATO; a weaker USSR; a stronger China; the US still tops in stability and strength. They are bullish on nuclear power: disposal of fission wastes poses no problem, but the future lies in fusion. Nix on solar, wind, or other alternative sources. We'll be a cashless economy by century's end--with single-digit inflation and eleven percent interest rates. ERA will pass; churches will liberalize their stands on women, divorce, and celibacy. A space telescope may solve the cosmological riddle of another Big Bang vs. endless expansion. As for medicine and health, expect a lot of magic bullets: pills for senility, vaccines for cancer, hormones to cure your weight or memory problems. Here, most dramatically, the authors display how slight is the knowledge behind their sleight of hand. And they can't touch Alvin Toffler for imagination or verve.

Pub Date: May 24th, 1982
Publisher: McGraw-Hill