20:21 Vision: Twentieth-Century Lessons for the Twenty-first Century

The attacks on September 11, 2001, shook the rich West out of its complacency; suddenly, peace seemed to be in peril. Already it had become clear that prosperity was endangered. Campaigns were being mounted against the purported evils of capitalist globalization — inequality, pollution, and financial instability — and America’s high-tech stock market boom had turned rapidly to bust. How had it all happened? During the decade following the end of the cold war, prospects had looked so rosy: peace prevailed among the world’s great powers, billions of people were joining the world market economy, and great waves of technological change were driving economies forward. Can we find a pattern in such possibility, confusion, and disappointment? What will the twenty-first century be like now? Bill Emmott, the Editor in Chief of The Economist, the world’s leading current affairs weekly, answers these questions by looking back at the past, isolating the forces that have shaped our world, and showing how they determine whether we are at peace or at war, in a state of liberty or repression, in a period of prosperity or depression. He persuasively argues that two questions will matter above all others: Will America continue to lead the world and to protect its peace? And will we continue to accept capitalism, with all its strengths and weaknesses, or will it be challenged once again? Set in a global framework. Emmott’s analysis of two centuries — one just past, one beginning — is eye-opening, wise, and indispensable.

Reviews and columns

William KeeganThe Observer Jan 4 2004
“Optimism’s not what it used to be”

Hamish MacraeThe Independent Feb 8th 2003
“Reasons to be cheerful”

Will HuttonThe Guardian, Feb 8th 2003
“Capitalism and the crystal ball”

Lee GaillardSan Francisco Chronicle, March 2 2003
“Globalisation may save us after all”

Peter PrestonThe Observer, Jan 26 2003
“he’s seen the future in the stars and stripes”

Martin van der WeyerSunday Telegraph, Jan 11 2003
“The future is American”

Robert HarveyThe Tablet, March 1st 2003
“Key players for the world’s future”

Michael LindNew York Times, Feb 2nd 2003
“2 ½ cheers for capitalism”

John GrayNew Statesman, Feb 3 2003
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