What can the successes and failures of the twentieth century teach us as the world faces an uncertain future in the twenty-first?
The attacks on September 11th, 2001 shook the rich West out of its complacency: suddenly, peace looked to be in peril. Even before that time prosperity was already at risk, as the high-tech stockmarket boom turned to bust, and campaigns were mounted against the perceived evils of capitalist globalisation – inequality, pollution and financial instability. Yet, in the decade following the end of the cold war, prospects had looked so rosy, with peace prevailing between the world’s great powers, with billions of people joining the world market economy and with great waves of technological change driving economies forwards.
What can we make of such confusion and disappointment? What will the twenty-first century now be like? Bill Emmott, editor of the world’s leading current affairs weekly, The Economist, argues that the best way to think about the future is to look back at the past, at the forces that have shaped our world and at what they tell you about the things that really matter – whether we are at peace or at war, in a state of liberty or repression, in a period of prosperity or of depression. Two questions rise above all the others: can capitalism continue to be the dominant force in our world, and how will peace and democracy prevail in these times of fear and instability? In The Sun Also Sets Bill Emmott predicted the meltdown of the Japanese economy. Now, with the same foresight and acuity, 20/21 Vision provides the answers that will matter for all our lives in the twenty-first century.
Published : 08 Feb 2003
Publisher : Penguin
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