FUTURECAST by Robert J. Shapiro


How Superpowers, Populations, and Globalization Will Change the Way You Live and Work
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What will the world look like in 2020? A former advisor to Bill Clinton presents his intriguing predictions.

Shapiro, who now runs a private firm that advises governments, businesses and nonprofits here and abroad, deftly pulls together facts and figures to back up his statements. The vast swathes of ground he covers can be whittled down to four major areas that will mold our future. Three of these—political developments, globalization, broad changes in demographics—are joined by a relatively new concern: the wildly unpredictable changes in the environment and the alarming depletion of the Earth’s natural energy sources. Shapiro drops in a mind-boggling array of statistical information as he maps out his ideas, and while some of the information may feel overly familiar—the rise of China as a major economic superpower, the fall of the Soviet Union, business outsourcing to India—it’s presented in an entertaining and educational manner. The passages on demographics starkly highlight a comprehensive contrast between government benefits available to citizens of the United States and those offered in China and many of Europe’s leading nations. The discussion on globalization illustrates interesting regional differences in the way McDonald’s operates across the world (home delivery is available in Egypt and Turkey); it also leads to a lengthy chapter on how globalization will be shaped by China and the United States over the next decade or so. Shapiro closes with some insightful thoughts on how healthcare can be provided for an aging population and how much it will cost to halt the havoc that could be wreaked on the planet if global warming escalates.

An illuminating, satisfying read.

Pub Date: April 1st, 2008
ISBN: 978-0-312-35242-4
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: St. Martin's
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15th, 2008