Visionary social thinker Joel Kotkin looks ahead to America in 2050, revealing how the addition of one hundred million Americans by midcentury will transform how we all live, work, and prosper. In stark contrast to the rest of the world's advanced nations, the United States is growing at a record rate and, according to census projections, will be home to four hundred million Americans by 2050. This projected rise in population is the strongest indicator of our long-term economic strength, Joel Kotkin believes, and will make us more diverse and more competitive than any nation on earth. Drawing on prodigious research, firsthand reportage, and historical analysis, The Next Hundred Millionreveals how this unprecedented growth will take physical shape and change the face of America. The majority of the additional hundred million Americans will find their homes in suburbia, though the suburbs of tomorrow will not resemble the Levittowns of the 1950s or the sprawling exurbs of the late twentieth century. The suburbs of the twenty-first century will be less reliant on major cities for jobs and other amenities and, as a result, more energy efficient.
Kotkin (The City) offers a well-researched-and very sunny-forecast for the American economy, arguing that despite its daunting current difficulties, the U.S. will "emerge by midcentury as the most affluent, culturally rich, and successful nation in human history." Nourished by mass immigration and American society's "proven adaptability," the country will reign supreme over an "industrialized world beset by old age, bitter ethnic conflicts, and erratically functioning economic institutions." Although decreasing social mobility will present a challenge, demographic resources will give the U.S. an edge over its European rivals, which will be constrained by shrinking work forces and rapidly proliferating social welfare commitments. Largely concerned with migration patterns within the U.S., the book also offers a nonpartisan view of America's strengths, identifying both pro-immigration and strongly capitalist policies as sources of its continued prosperity. However, Kotkin tends to gloss over the looming and incontrovertible challenges facing the country and devotes limited space to the long-term consequences posed by the current recession, the rise of India and China, and the resulting competition over diminishing energy resources. Nevertheless, his confidence is well-supported and is a reassuring balm amid the political and economic turmoil of the moment. (Feb.) Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.
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February 03, 2010
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