The Future Epub µ Ebook

The Future In an ambitious far reaching investigative argument Gore lays out what he sees as the six key drivers of global change shaping the future a fully globalized market; a digitally interconnected global civilization; power shifts from nation states to multinational corporations and from West to East; depletion of essential natural resources water topsoil oceans and species due to overpopulation and rampant consumerism; humans' increasing mastery over the biological organism; and of course terrifyingly fast moving global warming induced climate change caused by humans burning fossil fuels into the atmosphereGlobal humanity faces exciting developments and moral uandaries the promise of remarkable innovation with the peril of forces moving beyond the control of individuals and their governments Apparently no one is steering the ship At the heart of it all is the United States' current and calamitous inability to lead because in Gore's phrasing American democracy has been hacked Corporations write their interests into law at the expense of citizens abetted by members of Congress who spend five hours a day dialing for dollars to buy television ads from corporate television networks which are at best inept at informing the electorate and at worst complicit in its disinformation He makes no bones about it it's a corporate coup d'etat The contention is nothing new but coming from someone who spent a twenty three year career in the House the Senate and the White House it is chilling Gore may be forever driven by the disastrous conseuences of his failure to seal the deal in 2000 He lost the White House in part because Ralph Nader drew the votes of those who cared most deeply about the environment; accountable transparent government; and the government's role as protector of the people against corporate greed and malfeasance The great irony is that Gore has taken on Nader's mantle as the public intellectual most willing to tell these truths A very important book Al Gore spoke at the Microsoft campus recently while on his book tour for The Future I thoroughly enjoyed his talk and decided to pick up the book In it Gore details what he sees are the six drivers of global change that are impacting and will continue to influence the future of our civilization At a hefty though not overwhelming 592 pages the book is ambitious wide ranging and exceptionally well documented Gore delves into topics such as the globalization of economics the linking of human thought through the internet and global communications the impact of governmental dysfunction the impact of advances in biotech and of course the effects of climate change While the book offers a wealth of facts and some interesting insights overall I thought the book didn't work and found that I was disappointed at the end of it It suffered from several problems in my opinionWhile Gore's speaking style is thoughtful and engaging he is a remarkably bad story teller in print He was rarely able to provide a narrative on any of his key topics that was either engaging or illuminating Most of the main sections were random anecdotes strung together with myriad facts and statistics The result was a rather boring mix of history and opinion that felt messy and often incoherentHe repeatedly switched personalities between observer and activist While it was clear that there were certain topics he was personally passionate about and on which he has a clear public record of activism his constant back and forth was disruptive and muddled his role as writerFinally in just about every section he found a way to tie in his favorite topic climate change While that certainly made sense in some cases in others it was blatantly forced and I sometimes felt he was being condescending and manipulative Gore is a smart guy who is very clearly plugged in to the issues and trends of the day The Future was a great idea that in my opinion was just poorly executed I had the pleasure of seeing Al Gore during the promotional tour for this new book In the course of his presentation I had the feeling that he had a firehose of information to share but only an eyedropper with which to share it The Future firms that perceptionThis is a good ol' all American data assault With enough bibliography and endnotes to make a university press editor proud Mr Gore bludgeons the reader with fact after fact Within the rapid fire prose is a chilling picture of our culture's origins the progress of history and the penalties of rampant greed After three hundred pages of explication Mr Gore uickly outlines common sense measures to make an innovative healthy future for the world Sadly those who most need to hear his message of rational action will be the last to grab the book from the shelves I realize this was a book he needed to get off his chest but I think we all would get out of it with a honed yet fully developed message When a person of a certain status athletes actors and even authors writes a book book editors tend to give himher a pass This is essentially what occurred with Al Gore and The Future; nobody told him when to uit when to rewrite and when to focusProofreading one's work is a near impossible chore as one tends to fall in lover with their own prose Gore leaves us with sentences the length of a paragraph and paragraphs the length of a page Coupled with awkward phrasing a reader is left with a book that at certain sections is a chore to read When the reader isn't struggle with the prose the lack of focus or purpose leaves one drifting aimlessly The subtitle tells us there is six drivers of global change Six topics could possibly be unified but instead we are treated to a multitude of topics with Gore rambling aimlessly from one to the next and then back again Sometimes it seemed Gore was intent on demonstrating his varied knowledge or even so treat us to a final summation of his ideas but the lack of coherent thought made any attempt at reading a message a futile task At times its possible to settle back and enjoy the book but then the problems resurface With its lack of purpose there's really no purpose for the reader to continue I loved the book I can't be grateful to the person that recommended it to me It is not the first book I am reading on the issue but I definitely liked the way every point was presented and treated Every driverissue was presented with the right level of details and the proper framework for anyone to go and study to complete the pictureI can't agree on what he said We have to change the way we considered the impact of human life and prosperity in planet Earth It is time we admit the wrong done and move towards the solutions the improvements I am not American but what Mr Gore says about democracy in the US is the same everywhere The voice of the people has become just a tool others use to get It is strange that we lost faith in the fact that together we can do great things and instead transfer all our power with our votes to a selected few We do believe our vote for a candidate parliament prime minister president senate congress Whatever the role is within democracy means that we stand for what he said means we approve the way they promise to act but we fail miserably to make them accountable for it We do not follow up on their promises we do not reuire timelines and clear goals We don't ask of our elected to act towards us as our bosses reuire us to act I wonder if we would still have our jobs if we constantly promised one thing and failed to deliver it time after time I liked very much his proposals on taxes reforms His pay for what we burn not what we earn was fantastic There are many new business being build on entirely unsustainable environmental models but they get founded and move on to profit because the environment is not part of the euation Taxes are There are many things on the book for everyone for the students that want to know how can they fit in the world for the businesses that want to do better for the people concerned with the bigger picture for the scientists and their relentless researches and passion on their pursuits for the new policy makersfor everyone that feels deep inside that something needs to be done I'm usually reluctant to read political documents but this was chosen for our reading club so I decided to slog through it It's often interesting although I felt sometimes that he was just summarizing each of the myriad of research articles pulled together by his research assistants in some kind of coherent fashion There's no way in hell I could summarize everything in less than 50 pages but I've got some general comments below It's a good book to use from the index ie want to see about a certain issue hit the index and then read the few pages devoted to that topic Positives Very good at capturing generational angst by which I mean that each generation seems to have some issue of apocalyptic concern that MUST be solved or the world will come to an end Depending where when you live d that concern may be different but it's always there and is of overwhelming importance to those concerned Great summary of much of the information out there and the issues See my comments re the index above Nifty bibliography A great resource Good summary of conflicts on page 124 Recognition that retired people are a huge problem Full disclosure I'm retired This is a point I make to my colleagues and students It takes 42 workers between the ages of 16 and 60 to provide enough tax revenue to support one retired person That means lots of jobs to be created or lots of retired people to die off Very good summary of the problems in the financial industry Negatives Ignored the role of religion and religious extremism Religion is barely mentioned yet it's a major source of conflict which has the immediate potential to cause a lot of grief Too US centric ie US as moral force that needs to enforce that morality If corporations are too multi national how do you effect change in other countries I just don't buy the idea that the United States has to be the moral read military savior of the planet Gore does and states so explicitly Is it fair to deprive developing countries of the opportunity to become wealthier? We set a certain standard which we need them to emulate in order to consume goods and then tell them they can't because it's bad for the planet Again the favorite whipping boy is corporations It's all their fault Everything And this person business yet as a lawyer he should have known the idea of corporations having personhood status is a very old oneie “Since at least Trustees of Dartmouth College v Woodward – 17 US 518 1819 the US Supreme Court has recognized corporations as having the same rights as natural persons to contract and to enforce contracts” That also increases their liability “The basis for allowing corporations to assert protection under the US Constitution is that they are organizations of people and the people should not be deprived of their constitutional rights when they act collectively see the excellent Wikipedia entry for In this view treating corporations as persons is a convenient legal fiction which allows corporations to sue and to be sued provides a single entity for easier taxation and regulation simplifies complex transactions that would otherwise involve in the case of large corporations thousands of people and protects the individual rights of the shareholders as well as the right of association A larger issue is that all of us who have or want to have a pension MUST support the success of these corporations since pension funds are their biggest investors Gore should know better He sits on Apple's board Ignores the failure of the legislative The Supreme Court gets blamed for everything yet they are forced into this position because the legislative branch has completely abrogated its responsibility Money in politics which Gore handles nicely is a big problem He has few solutions of merit however Solutions all reuire an authoritarian form of government Emphasis on “reason based” thinking when what we are learning is that to make change one has to appeal to the emotional side He has a tendency to celebrate the technological and then focus on the problems of technology which leaves the reader unclear as to what he’s demanding No discussion of nuclear which is totally carbon free Reliance on solar and wind ignore storage issues Energy experts say that as long as the storage issue remains unsolved you have to build double the capacity if you build a lot of renewables so the grid remains stable New nuclear technology such as low pressure liuid sodium reactors hold a lot of promise Ignores conservation and impact on standard of living ie reduced consumption Issues Gore serves on several corporate boards including Apple – what’s his responsibility as an individual in the seats of power He’s a multi millionaire Gore got rich off his sale of the network 100 million Rich v poor – when has it ever not been so? Solutions are a bit simplistic Lots of ideas collected by his research assistants but ultimately I found his book very unsatisfying lacks a sense of history and assumes that problems he sees are uniue to current generation How do you define and accomplish goals in a democracy where self interest is the highest value? Does apocalypticism bring benefits or just ignoring the problem How do you determine what’s an opportunity vs a negative? I couldn't help thinking if things would have been different had he been elected in 2000 It's unlikely he would have invaded Ira but he surely would have caved to pressure to invade Afghanistan And how would he have handled Libya Egypt Israel Syria et al The pressure on Democrats to use military might is always irresistible I have a sneaky suspicion that we would be in precisely the same place we are today That's discouraging Al Gore’s book The Future is fascinating and perplexing The world is being pummeled by enormous waves of change and most are destructive and unsustainable What should we do? To envision wise plans it’s important to know the past and understand how the present mess evolved The book presents a substantial discussion of six megatrends that are influencing the futureEARTH INC is the global economy dominated by a mob of ruthless multinational corporations It’s pushing radical changes in the way we live work and think Many leaders in the world have become its hand puppets shamelessly selling influence in exchange for treasure and power Earth Inc is the monster that’s killing the ecosystemGLOBAL MIND is the worldwide web that enables communication between people everywhere Two billion now have access to it It provides access to a cornucopia of fresh information — knowledge from sources outside the walls of culture and propaganda The Global Mind is our single hope for inspiring rapid intelligent revolutionary changeBALANCE OF POWER is changing Following World War II the world was happy as America provided virtuous leadership that helped maintain stability in the world Today the US is no longer respected Power is shifting away from Western nations to new powerhouses and from national governments to corporate interestsOUTGROWTH is the explosion of unsustainable growth in almost everything — population pollution consumption soil mining water mining extinctions and on and on Earth Inc is fanatically obsessed with perpetual growth and aggressively flattens anything that stands in its path Bummer growth must be replaced with the benevolent growth of Sustainable CapitalismLIFE SCIENCE is providing us with technology to manipulate biological processes in new ways We’ll cure diseases and live much longer Our ability to deliberately alter the genes of any living organism allows us to play a significant role in controlling the planet’s evolutionary journey Of course evolution must be manipulated cautiously to avoid embarrassing calamitiesTHE EDGE is the catastrophically dysfunctional relationship between humankind and the ecosystem On the down side trashing the atmosphere and climate has created a monster we cannot control On the plus side it’s inspiring many enlightened efforts to guide civilization back into balance with the ecosystemAl Gore is a charming lad with a good sense of humor The son of a senator Gore has spent much of his life amidst the barbarian tribes of Washington He eventually became the vice president and a wealthy tycoon While at Harvard one of his professors was a pioneer in climate change research a big juju subject and a primary influence on Gore’s career path Gore is a senior advisor to Google and a board member at Apple He is exceptionally well informed about the digital world climate change ecological challenges global politics and the shenanigans of the rich and powerfulIn the book Gore sometimes jabbers like a politician giddy with optimism Yes things are a big mess and the status uo is in need of speedy intelligent radical reform We can fix it Politicians rarely win elections when their objective is damage control Jimmy Carter’s mistake The way to win is to wear a big smile and promise hope solutions and better days ahead I sometimes wonder if damage control might accomplish Much of the book is impressive but its optimism for the future is not well supported by compelling arguments and evidence Readers learn that it’s not too late to nip climate change in the bud We simply need to reduce greenhouse emissions by 80 to 90 percent But how could we do this without blindsiding the system that enables the existence of seven point something billion people? Easy Create a carbon tax Shift subsidies from fossil energy to renewables Reuire utilities to use alternative energy Create a cap and trade system If every nation eagerly did this next week our worries would be overPopulation continues to grow exponentially Gore recommends that we “stabilize” population It would be risky to actually reduce population because this might trigger a “fertility trap” a terrible downward spiral of population free fall When there are too many seniors and not enough taxpayers pension systems collapseBut stabilizing an enormous population raises serious uestions about how much longer we can continue to feed so many people Agriculture is currently engaged in “strip mining topsoil” on a staggering scale Each kilogram of Iowa corn costs 15 kilograms of topsoil a precious nonrenewable resource Gore asserts that this can be corrected by a transition to crop rotation and to organic low till technology But low till cropping is designed for conventional agriculture and works well with heavy applications of herbicide Organic low till is still in the experimental phase and is extremely difficult to do successfully because weeds are not wimpsWhile water usage is increasing water resources are declining because underground auifers are being depleted in many highly productive farming regions Gore recommends drip irrigation wastewater recycling and cisterns for rainwater storage Considering the current scale of water mining and the cost of high tech irrigation it’s hard to see these options as effective solutions When the water is used up farm productivity drops sharply or completelyMeanwhile another monster is rising on the horizon — global phosphorus reserves are moving toward a crisis Because phosphorus is an essential plant nutrient this will have huge effects on conventional agriculture Oh we also need to get the nations united behind reversing deforestation fish mining and mass extinction Gore says that it would be insane to burn the fossil energy we’ve already discovered because this would worsen the effects of climate change But we’re unlikely to stop Experts aren’t sure when Peak Oil will arrive but it will and it will be followed by an era of increasing turbulence as industrial civilization is painfully weaned Most of the easy oil has already gone up in smoke and what remains is far difficult to extract Expensive oil means expensive food and many poor people can barely afford food today Spikes in food prices led to food riots in 2008 and 2011Gore adores civilization’s two magnificent achievements democracy and capitalism but he laments that both have been “hacked” by the evil slime balls of Earth Inc If we don’t fix this we’re doomed It’s time to fetch our pitchforks and chase the slime balls away The solution to our problems is to restore dynamic democracy and then create a utopia of Sustainable Capitalism which will allow Sustainable Growth to continue forever The best is yet to comeThe book provides an impressive discussion how we got into this mess It’s uniue in that it comes from a card carrying member of the global elite not a hungry dirty radical Readers are given a rare opportunity to enjoy the view from the top of the pyramid I hope that the second edition clarifies some uestionable assumptions in this otherwise fascinating book When Al Gore was VP I had no opinion about him except that he and his wife looked good together When he ran for President in 2000 my opinion of him was negative because it seemed to me that truth was unimportant to him Most politicians suffer from this malady but Al seemed afflicted than most When the movie An Inconvenient Truth came out I was neutral on the global warming issue I was still trying to get a handle on the 1970s when scientists were telling us the world was heading into an ice age the world oil supplies would be all used up by the middle of the 1990s and over population would surpass the world’s food supply by 2000 In fact it seemed like global warming would be a relief However I will admit to a negative bias against Al going into the movie I have taken university science courses chemistryphysics and statistical analysis After seeing the movie and how Al misinformed lied and misused statistical analysis I was strongly leaning against global warming and my low opinion of Al dropped The people looking for big foot would be rolled back on their haunches if they took a look at Al’s carbon footprint – this from a man who claims to be trying to save the planet His personal “carbon offset” claim is just so much misleading balderdash that when carried to its logical conclusion simply states that the rich can live their lives however they want while the middle class has to give up SUVs air conditioning etc According to Obama’s senior advisor on science and technology John Holdren the US needs to be “de developed” That means for the middle class and poor not for the rich and government officials De developed means we need to live third world ishI set aside time in my studies to read liberal biased books because I want to get their point of view directly rather than through what conservatives say about them I was fully prepared to give this book zero stars but you will notice I gave it two In spite of my bias against Al Gore and now Global Warming I found some interesting and useful things in the book As far as specifics go I have no trust in Al so if he says it; I doubt it — almost knee jerk There is a lot to think about in the generalities that he tackles What are the impacts of a global economy the global communication power of the internet the undemocratic influence of money in democratic politics to name a few His answer is always government control I believe government should draw back but not withdraw Government involvement is necessary but it needs to be smarter and controlled rather than controlling In the introduction to Al Gore’s The Future Gore credits a mysterious person for the inspiration behind his new book This unnamed muse asks the former vice president a standard loaded uestion the kind so impossible to answer succinctly that it becomes treated like a 1950s prom date where the responder awkwardly dances with the answer a ruler’s length apart “What are the drivers of global change?” the person asks After rattling off some conventional wisdom – technology communications democracy – Gore went home and reflectedAs the days passed the seed of the uestion began to germinate in his mind Being a man who can’t bear to see a metaphorical – or literal – field lie fallow Al Gore attended to the uestion with care He explored it He let it grow It consumed his thoughts and branched out into new uestions demanding new concepts Now eight reflective years later Gore pruned his answers to publish The Future a book of such global importance you’d be neglecting your own future if you chose to ignore itThankfully Al Gore’s book is as remarkable for what it isn’t as for what it is It isn’t a fear mongering tool It wasn’t forged in Mt Doom with wicked political purposes It isn’t filled with naïve optimism or tail wagged opinions His rational approach to a better tomorrow is refreshing The levelheaded foresight of The Future deserves all the attention those pesky Mayans commanded with all the attendant credibility they lacked One is left wondering if the loss Gore took in the 2000 election was a blessing in disguise whisking him away to a land of purpose over panderingTo be fair books and movies such as “After Earth” and “The Day After Tomorrow” popularize the notion of the unknown for a thrill’s sake While it’s exciting stuff it sadly cheapens the exploration of a worthy subject But lest we forget despite being denied the American Presidency in 2000 Al Gore won the Popular Vote by over 500000 heads Point being The majority of us trusted this man to lead America into what was then our future His book makes it abundantly clear that his singular vision hasn’t changed In fact since he flew the political coop and embraced environmental activism he’s only had time to hone itEven if you absorb just a fraction of Gore’s philosophy you can appreciate it for something else The Future at the end of the day pays homage to the power of human curiosity lighted by a simple uestion “What are the drivers of global change?” This simple premise is reminiscent of Robert Browning’s elouent ode to human curiosity “Ah but a man’s reach should exceed his grasp or what’s a Heaven for?” And one only needs to replace the words “a Heaven” with “Hope” to see the glorious potential in Al Gore’s The FutureHead to wwwEverydayeBookcom for eBook reviews NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLERFrom the former vice president and #1 New York Times bestselling author comes An Inconvenient Truth for everything—a frank and clear eyed assessment of six critical drivers of global change in the decades to come   Ours is a time of revolutionary change that has no precedent in history With the same passion he brought to the challenge of climate change and with his decades of experience on the front lines of global policy Al Gore surveys our planet’s beclouded horizon and offers a sober learned and ultimately hopeful forecast in the visionary tradition of Alvin Toffler’s Future Shock and John Naisbitt’s Megatrends In The Future Gore identifies the emerging forces that are reshaping our world   • Ever increasing economic globalization has led to the emergence of what he labels “Earth Inc”—an integrated holistic entity with a new and different relationship to capital labor consumer markets and national governments than in the past • The worldwide digital communications Internet and computer revolutions have led to the emergence of “the Global Mind” which links the thoughts and feelings of billions of people and connects intelligent machines robots ubiuitous sensors and databases • The balance of global political economic and military power is shifting profoundly than at any time in the last five hundred years—from a US centered system to one with multiple emerging centers of power from nation states to private actors and from political systems to markets • A deeply flawed economic compass is leading us to unsustainable growth in consumption pollution flows and depletion of the planet’s strategic resources of topsoil freshwater and living species • Genomic biotechnology neuroscience and life sciences revolutions are radically transforming the fields of medicine agriculture and molecular science—and are putting control of evolution in human hands • There has been a radical disruption of the relationship between human beings and the earth’s ecosystems along with the beginning of a revolutionary transformation of energy systems agriculture transportation and construction worldwide   From his earliest days in public life Al Gore has been warning us of the promise and peril of emergent truths—no matter how “inconvenient” they may seem to be As absorbing as it is visionary The Future is a map of the world to come from a man who has looked ahead before and been proven all too rightPraise for The Future “Magisterial The passion is unmistakable So is the knowledge Practically every page offers an illumination”—Bloomberg   “In The Future Gore takes on a subject whose scale matches that of his achievements and ambition”— The New York Times Book Review   “Historically grounded Gore’s strengths lie in his passion for the subject and in his ability to take the long view by putting current events and trends in historical context”— Publishers Weekly   “Provocative smart densely argued a tour de force of Big Picture thinking”— Kirkus Reviews starred review   “A luminously intelligent analysis that is packed with arresting ideas and facts”— The Guardian

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