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The Big Answer


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Preparing For The Twenty-First Century

a book by Paul Kennedy

(our site's book review)

There are three key elements in any general effort to prepare the world for the 21st century: enhance the role of education, give women equal status and opportunities, and enhance political leadership, according to Kennedy. There needs to be cooperation between schools, business and government. If societies do not properly prepare themselves for the coming century, they’ll have only themselves to blame when disaster strikes in the early part of the 21st century. By the way, none of those 3 things above have been done by 2014, when this page was completed, and the way things look, far from being enhanced, the three elements raised will be deteriorating.

The liberal response of 'throw money at it' did not work in the 20th century—why would anyone believe it would work in the 21st?
The liberal response of 'throw money at it' did not work in the 20th century—why would anyone believe it would work in the 21st?


The pushmi-pullyu: a perfect symbol of U.S. political gridlock
The pushmi-pullyu: a perfect symbol of U.S. political gridlock

Americans want something done about the challenges posed by the accelerating rate of change in the world, but are polarized as to what type of a response is best and are hesitant to assent to tax hikes to pay for said responses. (Notice the knee-jerk liberal context here of "throw money at it," as is that's the only thing even possible. Toffler disagrees, preferring the power of knowledge as opposed to the power of money or coercion.) So gridlock and sound-bite politics prevail. Like Toffler, he predicts the future being dominated by knowledge-based societies. But the continued explosion of scientific knowledge will be best exploited by societies that are steadily raising overall educational standards, technical training, and work-force skills which America is NOT. Our workforce isn’t prepared for the jobs many higher-tech companies have to offer. So companies are finding workers in other countries, such as China, Japan, the Ukraine, and elsewhere.

Capable Asian programmer
Capable Asian programmer

(A full 25% of immigrants to the U.S. are professional or technical workers, compared to only 15% of the American population. We get many scientists, programmers and engineers from immigrant populations—if they didn’t come here we’d have serious, even critical, shortages. American science depends on immigrants: although the foreign born constitute only 6% of the US population, they constitute over half the graduates in computer science, engineering or math.)

American science depends on immigrants: although the foreign born constitute only 6% of the US population, they constitute over half the graduates in computer science, engineering or math
American science depends on immigrants: although the foreign born constitute only 6% of the US population, they constitute over half the graduates in computer science, engineering or math


Democracy in the USA is degenerating rapidly, but perhaps the shock of the coming collapse will be the wake-up call we need to reestablish a balanced new democracy based on wisdom, humanism, respect for knowledge and learning, and vigilant responsibility
Democracy in the USA is degenerating rapidly, but perhaps the shock of the coming collapse will be the wake-up call we need to reestablish a balanced new democracy based on wisdom, humanism, respect for knowledge and learning, and vigilant responsibility. Paul Kennedy says it’s time something happened as a wake-up call to America.

Kennedy says it’s time something happened as a wake-up call to America, so they can reverse their cultural/economic/educational decline and get their act together. America’s experiment of seeing if it’s okay if we just stay the same while the global scene is transforming by the day is surely a head-in-the-sand symptom of not apprehending the meaning of the current situation.

Head in the sand
Head in the sand

Like the swinging banjo on the bridge in the movie Deliverance, this book is a calm and yet still ominous warning about the direction America is headed.

Swinging banjo
Swinging banjo