Preparing for the twenty-first century



Transcription of Annotations

Notes on front endpapers: 3 times as many nation-states as 60 years ago. Is Bill Clinton leading in a direction to solve the problems you raise? Malthus--were you thinking about how wrong he was when you wrote this book? Malthusian trap. 2025. 8 or 10 bill. people. Where would you live in 2025 based on what you know now. Education systems--different everywhere. Fertility rate. Aging. Bovine growth hormone. Coming of the television revolution. Fertility rate. Education. Underlinings/notes: Book from debate between Kennedy/group of economists at Brookings Institute in 1988. Attempt at large history. Power of pop. is greater than the Earth to provide human subsistence. 3 developments permitted British to escape fate Malthus predicted--1. Emigration; 2. Improvement in farming output; 3. Industrial revolution. Decrease ave. num. of children per family. Ireland. India. British/Indian people roughly similar per capita levels of industrialization at onset of Industrial Revolution (1750). Tech. explosion in economically advanced societies with slow-growing/declining pop. Book similar to/different from "Rise and Fall of the Great Powers." Considers human encounters with tech., econ. change, pop. growth. Nonmilitary threats. China, India, dev. nations, Europe, erstwhile USSR, Japan, US. Global forces for change moving into new set of circumstances--social org. may be unequal to chall. posed by over pop., environ. damage, tech-driven revol.--issues of winners/ losers--irrelevant. Demographic projections to 2025--range of 30 years assumed in discussing transnational trends/ region's prospects. 2025 8.5 bill. people, 9.4 billion. Earth stabilizes at 10-11 bill., poss. 14.5 bill. 1950 Africa's pop. 1/2 of Europe's, by 2025 expected to be 3 times Europe's--1.58 bill. By 2025 Latin America most urbanized region of world. Labor force in dev. countries will increase to over 3.1 bill. in 2025 need 38-40 mill. new jobs/year. Industrial democracies, more than 1/5 of earth's pop.,1950, dropped to 1/6 by 1985, forecasted fall to less than 1/10 by 2025. As World economy integrates, overall richer, but creation/enjoyment of wealth uneven. Creators/controllers of tech. increase. large, multinational corps. 1991 per capita Gross Domestic Product of Switzerland $36,300 with Sweden ($32,600), Japan ($29,000), and Germany ($27,900). India's per capita GDP $360, Nigeria's only $278. TV in the 60s shaped US perceptions/policy concerning civil rights/Vietnam War. Global spread of tech. leading to sim. transformations of values. Less certain poorest 4/5 of world will emulate the prosperity from TV. A telecom revolution in dev. countries could cause "have-nots" to feel more angry at the "haves"--including the engineers/managers of multinational companies. Since 1984 global agr. production slowed. Food vs. pop. Economic impacts of biotech critical for farming and North/South relations. New tech./global agriculture face 2 diff./contr. structural crises. Developed countries not largely engaged in agriculture. 3% in US, 4.8% in Germany, 2.1% in Britain, 6.7 in France, 8% in Japan, 9.1% in Italy. Japanese/US relations--worsen if Japan no longer major market for US farm exports. Sugarcane replaced by isoglucose, natural products provide livelihood for millions in dev. world. Coconut oil--1/4 of Philippine pop. depends on revenue from exports, threatened with replacement by engineered soybean/rapeseed. Farming on way out. Why is Japan world roboticsleader? US created most of the tech. Govt's hands-off policy toward business meant no help from that source. 1991 no indep. US robotics manufacturers. Japan--lifetime employment. US--wages lower than Japan. Dominate place in robotics--Japan. Only .3% of world's land, 2.5% of pop., possessed 65-70% of world's industrial robots. Demographic imbalance between poor/rich societies producing migratory flood from the former to the latter. World's ecosystem in danger. 238 mill. Africans relied on 272 mill. livestock in 1950, by 1987 human pop. increased to 604 mill., livestock to 543 mill. Environmentalists--changing atmospheric gases, rise in global ecosystem. Drastic changes needed to cut atmospheric emissions. If sea-levels rise, dev. nations will be hurt. Global impact--US/Canada,/France produce 75% of world's grain exports. Global warming forced to confront problem of world divided into rich and poor. US 4% of pop. 1/4 of world's fuel. What do transnational issues mean for nation-state? Global corp--imp. actors in world affairs. End of Cold War, military rivalries/arms races replaced by economic rivalries, technology races, commercial warfare. Nation-state at the center of things. Japanese least likely hurt by global overpop., mass migration, environmental disasters. Japanese social norms, fewer murders, crimes of violence, strikes. Education critical element. Japanese children (92%) attend kindergarten. 90% or more of pop. grad. high school. Illiteracy rate of .7%. 220 day school year. Standard intell. tests--average Japanese student scores 117 compared to 100 for Americans/Europeans. Japanese pop. must content itself with cramped accom., excessive work hours. Japan's decline: Aging pop.; consumer spending; decrease in savings rates; rise in imports; steady structural move out of industrial production and into services; emergence of Tokyo as global financial center; volatility of stock market; shifts in cultural attitudes. Because Japanese economic expansionism so purposeful/systematic, critics feel there must be coherent strategy formulated/updated by businessmen/bureaucrats in Tokyo. Japanese life expectancy highest in the world; 76 for males, 82 for females. 1989 only 1.57 child per woman. Over 65, 1/4 by 2025. Could permit immigration of 10s of thousands of Koreans, Filipinos, Pakistanis, Bangladeshis, other peoples eager to gain employment. Japan has nearly 3/4 of world's robots; more automated workplaces than anywhere on earth. India/China demographic factor. 3 mill. pop. by 2025. 22 mill. babies born in 1987--7 mill. people died--net increase as great as pop. of Australia. China's land can support between 750-950 mill. people--surpassed 2-3 decades ago. 7% of world's farmlands--poor quality. India fertility rate 4.3. While China's pop. increases by 15 mill. each year, India's averaged 16.8 mill. each year 1985-90. India--40% of pop. under age 15; 1/5 of 850 mill. live in poverty; agr, 60% of employment; 80% of pop. involved in farming/related activities. Little additional land for crops. Problem not simply regional economic differences, but 2 entirely systems of political economy--one inward-oriented state enterprises/centralized controls, the capitalism of Hong Kong and Korea. China 2.3 mill. regular soldiers, India 1.1 mill. Border clashes. Chinese resources--third-biggest nuclear power within a decade. Human capital. Biotech revolution offers promise. Unless rich/poor nations recognize that they inhibit same biospace, dilemmas facing China/India will intensify.


Kennedy, Paul M, “Preparing for the twenty-first century ,” One Book. One Author. One Hour., accessed November 29, 2022,



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Preparing for the twenty-first century


Kennedy, Paul M


Program air date: March 13, 1993.


Human history has always been shaped by the growth and migration of populations, by the opportunities and constraints provided by the environment, and by the rise of new technologies. Today, these forces are enmeshed in a state of unprecedented turbulence. World population has more than doubled in the past forty years to reach its current level of 5.5 billion, and it will exceed 8 billion and perhaps even 10 billion early in the next century. How will these vast numbers reshape the world's borders, strain an already fragile ecosystem, and remake politics? New technologies are even now replacing traditional work with radically new systems of production and communication, promising enormous changes in both industrial and traditional agricultural societies. Will potential developments in biotechnology render traditional food producers obsolete? What is the role of robotics in a world where millions of new jobs are needed each year to absorb the fast-growing population? And what will the roles of women be? How will the spread of AIDS affect the rapid growth of population in countries like India or those of central Africa? And how will all these complex, mutually dependent changes affect individual nations as they struggle with their own ethnic and economic pressures, including the inevitability of ever larger migrations from poorer to richer parts of the world as populations explode in less developed regions and decline in such areas as Japan, parts of North America, and the European continent? Given their historic behavior, how will Japan, the United States, and Europe - as well as the countries of Asia, Africa, and Latin America - be likely to respond to these unprecedented circumstances? What is the role of education in a two- or three-tier world? Professor Kennedy's classic The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers considered the forces within nations that led to their rise and fall. In Preparing for the Twenty-first Century Kennedy addresses a larger and uniquely modern question: how will transnational forces in a world of scarce resources, instant communications, and exploding population affect the nations of the world and the people who inhabit them as the new century dawns?


"Twenty-first century."


Brian Lamb Booknotes Collection
Gift of Brian Lamb, 2011.


Random House
George Mason University. Libraries. Special Collections & Archives


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1st ed.