Monday, March 23, 2009

"The Next Hundred Years"

Astrologers might find George Friedman's new book "The Next Hundred Years: A Forecast for the 21st century" of interest. It's written by an American - and it shows! At least it shows from the reviews and articles I've read so far. It's written from the perspective of geopolitics. Geopolitics according to Wikipedia =
"In academic circles, geopolitics involves the analysis of geography, history and social science with reference to spatial politics and patterns at various scales (ranging from the level of the state to international). It examines the political, economic and strategic significance of geography, where geography is defined in terms of the location, size, function, and relationships of places and resources."

It would be interesting, and instructive, if experts from several other countries were to write similar books. Comparisons could bring surprises.

Excellent assessments of "The Next Hundred Years" and its author's predictions can be found at The Library of Halexandria.
(Other links at end of post.)

Predictions I find particularly surprising involve Mexico and China. The former, according to the author, will rise in status to become a major power, the latter will decline. Astounding predictions relate to the USA, for example: "The United States will experience a golden age in the second half of the century."

According to Mr. Friedman, war will continue to be a part of the global scene through the next century, but, he optimistically predicts, wars will be smaller, less destructive. From our perspective in 2009, that seems highly unlikely. One sizeable nuclear device could blight the planet for many lifetimes. The author must therefore assume that no nuclear device will ever be used. We can hope!

Mr. Friedman thinks that our current financial woes will pale into near insignificance as decades go by. Perhaps so. That is a lot easier to believe than that wars will be less destructive.

Considering what the world - or the USA, or Great Britain was like 100 years ago, in 1909, could a geopolitical expert have foreseen 9/11, or World War2, or how the world has developed?


An expert could probably have predicted World War 1, the rise of the motor vehicle and air travel, but hardly more than that.
What about the difference computers have made in all areas of life, political, geographical and personal? I'd wager that neither geopolitical expert nor astrologer could have predicted this in 1909. Mr. Friedman is predicting from his early 21st century knowledge base. Enormous as that probably is, it's not sufficient. It offers a false perspective. One unexpected, un-dreamed of development could change the world, and its peoples, and their outlook beyond all recognition.


I don't think it's possible to do more than guess; any of us can do that, no expertise needed.

During the next 100 years the outer planets, which signify cycles reflected in wider world events, and for generations rather than individuals, will wend their way slowly through a good slice of the zodiac, forming hundreds of different aspects with each other and with the outermost personal planet, Saturn. I doubt that any astrologer would be unwise enough to predict much at all that far ahead, let alone in the amount of detail that George Friedman has done in this book. He's a brave man. But he has the comforting thought that by the time the 100 years have passed he will be long gone. Who will remember words published in 2009?

Review at Statesman.com HERE.
The book at Amazon.
Video featuring the author HERE.

5 comments:

R J Adams said...

I think having parents who were Holocaust survivors must effect his perceptions to some degree. I'm always wary of those who run private intelligence agencies. It's hardly a healthy career.

I agree with everything you wrote. No-one can predict a century ahead.

My own view of the next hundred years? Well, like Mister Friedman I could draw a round globe purporting to be the earth, but it would have only one little banner arising from it, saying, "Humans lived 'ere, once."

Twilight said...

RJ ~~ Yes, his background has to be taken into consideration (though I doubt he'd admit to seeing it that way).

I think he missed his way - he should have been a sci-fi author, or screen writer. "America's Golden Age" - the musical. I can see it now! ;-)

Wisewebwoman said...

H'mmm. I don't know about these predictions, T.
There are too many variables, particularly the USA diminishment on the world stage and the rise of China. Not to forget water and food crises and gigantic civil unrest throughout the planet in the next few years.
I wouldn't buy the book.
XO
WWW

anthonynorth said...

Always shaky territory, books like these. Most have proved very wrong, and I usually find those that are published tend to offer an optimistic message in key with current cultural thought.

Twilight said...

WWW and AN ~~~ Agreed. I think this is just another author making a buck in the best way he knows how.
I'm always very wary of the words written by such authors - their first consideration is their bank balance.