Book Review: The Future, Declassified by Mathew Burrows

I am slowly getting back into my routine, and beginning with this post, I will be putting up some reviews every other day or so. Look for some music reviews as well, like the split vinyl release of Goya/Wounded Giant, 2 excellent bands out on STB records, a label that has been getting some attention due to the limited edition, tricked out records they have been putting out, featuring some of the best underground Doom Metal bands that seem to be multiplying like rabbits. After the review for The Future, Declassified, scroll down a bit and listen to what I have been listening to this week, which happens to be Portishead-Third. There is a great live clip of them performing The Rip on the Jools Holland show.


The Future, Declassified: Megatrends That Will Undo The World Unless We Take Action

by Mathew Burrows

Palgrave Macmillan Trade (2014), Hardcover, 288 pages

When I receive books that promise to read the future for me, I tend to sneer a bit, as I eyeball the book suspiciously. Even the great seer Rasputin himself did not see his untimely demise coming. Having said that, Mathew Burrows, a former counselor for the National Intelligence Council, gives an excellent overview of why geo-political, economic and military forces , as well as the balance of power, are shifting at a steady clip. He goes over the rise of the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China), and the transition from a G7 centered world,  to a G20 world, and the resulting implications these developments produce.
The topic of individual empowerment, and social media’s role in making it available is mentioned of course , along with the issues connected to an aging society, medical and technical advances, and the booming business of making war. While I find the author’s understanding of current events and history respectable, the predictions he makes are nothing new; pundits have been predicting the rise of China as an economic powerhouse for years, as well as the “Rise of the Rest”, chipping away at the United States’ economic superiority – furthermore, the effects of religion, and ecological issues did not make it into the conversation, which I feel diminishes the authority of his predictions.
Burrows presents an array of fictional scenarios that depict the future as he sees it, based on his opinion of where current trends are headed. Predicting the future is a tricky business, anything can happen in a split second- I have been alive long enough to see how unintended consequences, and squandered advantages can alter the best of plans. A nuclear war here, an overthrown government there, and all bets are off. This is an excellent appraisal of where the world is today, and how we arrived here, and many of the ideas that Burrows has concerning the future of earth are certainly compelling,  however, they are not new ideas,as most of these issues have been in discussion for many years.

This is a well written book that was an interesting read, and I think that many people who are not exceptionally knowledgeable of global politics and future trends would get a good synopsis of the subject in The Future, Declassified. Just don’t expect any groundbreaking revelations.

*** (3 out of 5)

Thugbrarian Set-List: Musical Accompaniment: Portishead- Third


About the time that I was reading The Future, Declassified, I was playing Portishead‘s last album Third in the car stereo on continuous loop. I love their self-titled, and Dummy albums very much. But Third is darker, and has a grittier edge to it. A lot of big, angry beats, tempered by Beth Gibbons‘ baleful vocals. the lyrics are sad and beautiful, while the noirish guitars come off eerie, and mysterious. In 20 years they have put out 3 studio albums, and the live at Roseland disc. I pray that they put out one more album, although it has been about 8 years, I am hopeful for one more release.

Watch a live performance of the song The Rip on Jools Holland HERE



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November 25, 2014 · 7:36 pm

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