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Books about the future of the USA

. Books about the future of the USA

Does America Need a Foreign Policy? : Toward a Diplomacy for the 21st Century
by Henry Kissinger

Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger asks a question in the title of his book Does America Need a Foreign Policy?--but there's really no doubt about the answer. That's not to say it shouldn't be asked: "The last presidential election was the third in a row in which foreign policy was not seriously discussed by the candidates," writes Kissinger. "In the face of perhaps the most profound and widespread upheavals the world has ever seen, [the United States] has failed to develop concepts relevant to the emerging realities." Kissinger tours the world in this book, describing how the United States should relate to various regions and countries. This is not a gripping book, but it is sober, accessible, brief, and comprehensive--and an excellent introduction to international relations and diplomacy.

Kissinger has opinions on just about every topic he raises, from globalization (for it) to international courts (against them, for the most part). He supports a vigorous missile-defense system: "The United States cannot condemn its population to permanent vulnerability." He opines on peace in the Middle East: "Israel should abandon its opposition to the creation of a Palestinian state except as part of a final status agreement." His claims are often eye-opening: "There are few nations in the world with which the United States has less reason to quarrel or more compatible interests than Iran." He is especially critical of domestic politics interfering with America's international relations: "Whatever the merit of the individual legislative actions, their cumulative effect drives American foreign policy toward unilateral and seemingly bullying conduct." The media has been a special problem in this regard, as it zips around the world in search of exciting but ephemeral stories, which are "generally presented as a morality play between good and evil having a specific outcome and rarely in terms of the long-range challenges of history." Does America need a foreign policy? Of course it does, and Henry Kissinger has done readers a service by outlining what a good one might be. - John J. Miller

The Fourth Power: A Grand Strategy for the United States in the Twenty-First Century
by Gary Hart

Today, even as America asserts itself globally, it lacks a grand strategy to replace "containment of communism." In this short, sharp book, Gary Hart outlines a new grand strategy, one directing America's powers to the achievement of its large purposes. Central to this strategy is the power of American ideals, what Hart calls "the fourth power." Constitutional liberties, representative government, press freedom - these and other democratic principles, attractive to peoples worldwide, constitute a resource that may prove as important to national security and the national interest in this dangerous new century as traditional military, economic and political might. Writes Hart: "The idea that government exists to protect, not oppress, the individual has an enormous power not fully understood by most Americans who take this principle for granted from birth. Far more nations will follow us because of the power of this ideal than the might of all our weapons." Against those who view America's noblest values as an inconvenience or even hindrance to the exertion of influence abroad, Hart warns that we ignore principle only at our peril. Such an approach may serve short-term goals, but there are costs; among them is the compromising of a crucial strategic asset, America's fourth power. Certain objectives require a military response--few serious people would disagree. The question is "whether America's purposes are best achieved through empire and force or through principle and persuasion." To suggest the former, Hart argues, is to misread both history and our current revolutionary age, one where terrorism, the internationalization of markets, information technology, eroding nation-state authority and other realities demand not doctrines of superstate unilateralism and preemption but rather appreciation for new collective security structures, international regulatory bodies, even forms of collaborative sovereignty. Applying the best insights of strategy to statecraft, Hart finds fuzziness, overreaching, and "theological" simplicity in America's current foreign policy. Nor does he believe the war on terror, necessary in the near term, will itself serve to chart America's larger strategic course. A bracing vision of an America responsive to a full spectrum of global challenges, The Fourth Power calls for a deeper understanding both of the threats we face and the profound strengths at our disposal to fight them.

American Foreign Policy: The Dynamics of Choice in the 21st Century, Second Edition
by Bruce W. Jentleson

In this revised and expanded edition of American Foreign Policy, Bruce Jentleson addresses the vital questions of this new global era: how should the United States wield its power, pursue peace, be true to its principles, and work with the international community? American Foreign Policy is unique in its integrated approach, combining foreign policy strategy and foreign policy politics and blending a focus on contemporary issues with theoretical and historical perspectives. Students are offered a solid foundation for analyzing U.S. foreign policy amidst the challenges of terrorism, the Iraq war and its aftermath, globalization, geopolitics, ethnic conflict, democratization, and a host of other issues.

The Past And Future Of America's Economy: Long Waves Of Innovation That Power Cycles Of Growth
by Robert D. Atkinson

‘Rob Atkinson is one of our best analysts of how innovation drives local and regional economies, and what to do to take advantage of technological change. In his visionary book, he fluently articulates the principles of a new "growth economics" that is America's best hope for a prosperous future leaving no one behind.’ – Rosabeth Moss Kanter, Harvard Business School professor and author of Confidence: How Winning Streaks and Losing Streaks Begin and End ‘Any person concerned about the future of our economy should read this book. Atkinson offers terrific historical perspective as well as specific policy proposals that would give us the best chance for broad based economic growth now and for generations to come. It should be mandatory reading for public policymakers.’ – Congressman Adam Smith (D-WA), Co-chair of the House New Democratic Coalition, US ‘Rob Atkinson has produced a powerful and far-reaching look at the underlying mechanism powering today’s New Economy. In particular, he shows how the US is just at the beginning of an innovation wave which is not only boosting productivity, but transforming economic organization and economic policy as well. This book is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand how the US economy got to where it is today, and how it can best get to a prosperous and humane future.’ – Michael J. Mandel, Chief Economist, Business Week, and author of Rational Exuberance: Silencing the Enemies of Growth ‘I congratulate the author on a great and important book. I couldn’t agree more that the political party that comes closest to supporting humane growth economics should be the leader for the next 25 years. It’s a great vision for the future, and his scholarly but readable mix of history, technology, economics and politics is very persuasive. It’s the sort of stuff that should be taught in economics courses, but almost never is.’ – David Moschella, author of Customer-driven IT: How Users Are Shaping Technology Industry Growth ‘Rob Atkinson is one of the most creative thinkers about the American economy. In this fascinating book, he puts the "new economy" spurred by the digital revolution into the context of other historic transformations. By doing so, he shows how we can preserve the gains in productivity and implement policies that will keep the economy growing. Everyone concerned about our economic future should read this.’ – Walter Isaacson, author of Benjamin Franklin: An American Life Throughout American history, periodic cycles of economic change have fundamentally reordered the way we work, the organization of business and markets, the role of government, and even the nature of politics. If we are to control our future, we must understand this process of change.

These economic transformations are powered by the emergence of waves of new technologies. In the 1890s, the development of electricity and cheap steel led to a new, factory-based economy. In the 1940s and 1950s, automation and advances in electronics and chemicals created a new national corporate, mass-production economy. Since the 1990s, an information technology revolution has again created a robust New Economy. Robert Atkinson examines this process of change over the past 150 years and explores the responses of people and institutions. The book then analyzes today’s New Economy, including the new information technology system, and effects on markets, organizations, workers, and governance. Taking into account the historical record, the book discusses the shortcomings of prevailing liberal and conservative economic doctrines and lays out a new growth economics agenda aimed at maximizing the productivity-enhancing forces of the New Economy. Anyone interested in American history as well as the future contours of our economy will find Dr Atkinson’s insightful analyses a fascinating guide to the past and a provocative challenge for the future. Economists, business leaders, scholars, and economic policymakers will find it a necessary addition to the literature on economic cycles and growth economics.


by J. A. English-Lueck

After Santa Clara county in California was labeled “Silicon Valley” in the 1970s, it attained a mythical quality in the public imagination. Although much of the myth is surely hyperbole, the region has experienced and continues to experience forces that will shape the future elsewhere in the United States and around the world. The paramount producer of the information revolution, Silicon Valley has become the icon for a lifestyle saturated with digital devices.

Whereas most books on the region focus on its entrepreneurial reputation, this book is an anthropological expedition into the everyday lives of people living in and connected to Silicon Valley—software engineers around the water cooler, a mothers’ group at lunch, nannies in the park, rush-hour commuters—to get at the emerging texture of life. A specialized high-tech economy has drawn people from many countries, and the things that make Silicon Valley culture distinctive—technological saturation and cultural complexity—also define an emerging global culture, and in that context it operates as a natural experimental laboratory.

Based on ten years of anthropological research, the book is an ethnographic exploration of the impact of these momentous changes on a single region. Within schools, workplaces, and homes identities emerge, erode, transform, and are recreated to coalesce into a larger community of communities, producing many different choices for its inhabitants. These choices determine how technology is used, work is done, and families are made. People juggle these choices, often informed by the same pragmatic, instrumental reasoning that characterizes high-tech workplaces. Saturated by information technology and struggling to manifest civic life from deeply diverse identity communities, the inhabitants of Silicon Valley illustrate in microcosm the social and cultural identities of the future.

America's Role in Nation-Building
by James Dobbins, John G. McGinn, Keith Crane, Seth G. Jones, Rollie Lal, Andrew Rathmell, Rachel Swanger, Anga Timilsina

In Iraq, the United States is facing its most challenging nation-building project since the 1940s. The authors draw lessons from seven case studies - Germany, Japan, Somalia, Haiti, Bosnia, Kosovo, and Afghanistan - then apply these to the Iraq case. The results suggest that nation-building will be difficult but possible. Success will, however, require investing sufficient financial, military, and political resources - and time.

The 21st Century at Work: Forces Shaping the Future Workforce and Workplace in the United States
by Lynn A. Karoly, Constantijn W. A. Panis

What are the forces that will continue to shape the U.S. workforce and workplace over the next 10 to 15 years? With its eye on forming sound policy and helping stakeholders in the private and public sectors make informed decisions, the U.S. Department of Labor asked RAND to look at the future of work. The authors analyze trends in and the implications of shifting demographic patterns, the pace of technological change, and the path of economic globalization.

High-Performance Government: Structure, Leadership, Incentives
by Robert Klitgaard

In 2003, the National Commission on the Public Service, chaired by Paul Volcker, issued a report detailing problems within the federal government today and recommending changes in its organization, leadership, and operations. This book suggests practical ways to implement the recommendations and defines a research agenda for the future. Thirteen essays address the primary problem areas identified by the Volcker Commission, and the commission report itself is included.

Governing by Network: The New Shape of the Public Sector
by Stephen Goldsmith, William D. Eggers

A fundamental, but mostly hidden, transformation is happening in the way public services are being delivered, and in the way local and national governments fulfill their policy goals. Government executives are redefining their core responsibilities away from managing workers and providing services directly to orchestrating networks of public, private, and nonprofit organizations to deliver the services that government once did itself. Authors Stephen Goldsmith and William D. Eggers call this new model “governing by network” and maintain that the new approach is a dramatically different type of endeavor that simply managing divisions of employees.

Like any changes of such magnitude, it poses major challenges for those in charge. Faced by a web of relationships and partnerships that increasingly make up modern governance, public managers must grapple with skill-set issues (managing a contract to capture value); technology issues (incompatible information systems); communications issues (one partner in the network, for example, might possess more information than another); and cultural issues (how interplay among varied public, private, and nonprofit sector cultures can create unproductive dissonance).

Governing by Network examines for the first time how managers on both sides of the aisle, public and private, are coping with the changes. Drawing from dozens of case studies, as well as established best practices, the authors tell us what works and what doesn’t. Here is a clear roadmap for actually governing the networked state for elected officials, business executives, and the broader public.

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