ad info

TIME Asia Home
Current Issue
Magazine Archive
Asia Buzz
Travel Watch
Web Features
  Photo Essays

Subscribe to TIME
Customer Services
About Us
Write to TIME Asia
TIME Canada
TIME Europe
TIME Pacific
TIME Digital
Latest CNN News

Young China
Olympics 2000
On The Road

  east asia
  southeast asia
  south asia
  central asia

Other News
From TIME Asia

Culture on Demand: Black is Beautiful
The American Express black card is the ultimate status symbol

Asia Buzz: Should the Net Be Free?
Web heads want it all -- for nothing

JAPAN: Failed Revolution
Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori clings to power as dissidents in his party finally decide not to back a no-confidence motion

Cover: Endgame?
After Florida's controversial ballot recount, Bush holds a 537-vote lead in the state, which could give him the election

TIME Digest

TIME Asia Services
Subscribe to TIME! Get up to 3 MONTHS FREE!

Bookmark TIME
TIME Media Kit
Recent awards

TIME Asia Asiaweek Asia Now TIME Asia story
DECEMBER 7, 1998 VOL. 152 NO. 22

Apocalypse 2050
Eugene Linden's look at life in the 2lst century is scary stuff--and a warning the world should heed

Don't ever invite Eugene Linden to your party. The author and TIME contributor is a pleasant fellow, but his ideas about the future could have taken the fizz out of even the best champagne. Though Linden writes most often on the environment, he thinks about everything, and his new book, The Future in Plain Sight: Nine Clues to the Coming Instability, is a broadbrush look at life in the 21st century. What he sees is not pretty: if the economic depression and plagues don't get you, the floods and famines will.

You have to admire Linden for the courage of his pessimistic convictions. In the summer of 1997, at a time of unprecedented world peace, prosperity and stability, he was perversely working on a manuscript about the coming global chaos. His effort seemed destined to join Paul Erdman's The Crash of '79 and Harry Figgie's Bankruptcy 1995: The Coming Collapse of America on the shelf of prophecies that never panned out. But by the time Linden published his book a year later, he was right on the money. Asian currencies had collapsed, Japan had gone into cardiac arrest, Russia was bankrupt, and El Nino had spread fire and storm around the globe. Even Wall Street was down. Suddenly, The Future in Plain Sight became one of the timeliest tomes at

So what if the markets are jumpy and the weather erratic, you might ask? Hasn't it always been that way? Not like this, Linden would reply. He devotes a chapter to explaining how globalization of the financial system has institutionalized instability on a grand scale. Worse, modern civilization's foundation--the favorable climate humanity has enjoyed for 8,000 years--will turn nasty. Global warming, fueled by the consumer society's relentless production of greenhouse gases, is likely to increase the frequency and power of storms. Changes in polar-ice configurations could affect climate patterns and raise sea levels, threatening coastal areas from Boston to Bangladesh.

You've probably read all that before, but Linden goes beyond the familiar warnings to describe a pattern of trends that he thinks will burst the bubble of human progress. Among the causes of future instability that are in plain sight, but often out of mind: the spread of diseases because of overpopulation and climate change; deforestation and the rapid extinction of animal and plant species; the burgeoning income gap between the world's rich and poor; the rising tide of eco-migrants, who are forced off exhausted land; and the march of fanatical religious fundamentalism. All these unsettling developments are likely to accelerate as climate change curbs food production and economic output.

PAGE 1  |  2

This edition's table of contents | TIME Asia home



U.S. secretary of state says China should be 'tolerant'

Philippine government denies Estrada's claim to presidency

Faith, madness, magic mix at sacred Hindu festival

Land mine explosion kills 11 Sri Lankan soldiers

Japan claims StarLink found in U.S. corn sample

Thai party announces first coalition partner


COVER: President Joseph Estrada gives in to the chanting crowds on the streets of Manila and agrees to make room for his Vice President

THAILAND: Twin teenage warriors turn themselves in to Bangkok officials

CHINA: Despite official vilification, hip Chinese dig Lamaist culture

PHOTO ESSAY: Estrada Calls Snap Election

WEB-ONLY INTERVIEW: Jimmy Lai on feeling lucky -- and why he's committed to the island state


COVER: The DoCoMo generation - Japan's leading mobile phone company goes global

Bandwidth Boom: Racing to wire - how underseas cable systems may yet fall short

TAIWAN: Party intrigues add to Chen Shui-bian's woes

JAPAN: Japan's ruling party crushes a rebel at a cost

SINGAPORE: Singaporeans need to have more babies. But success breeds selfishness

Launch CNN's Desktop Ticker and get the latest news, delivered right on your desktop!

Today on CNN

Back to the top   © 2000 Time Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines.