Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Check Out the Index

I'm having fun with The Book of Predictions (1981), acquired over the weekend for one thin dime. Sometimes I'll skim at random, other times consult the index. When I do the index, I keep in mind some of the things that have actually happened between 1981 and now: the fall of the Soviet Union, the emergence of new 'n' scary infectious diseases, the rise of the Internet, the persistence of jihadism, and the longevity of Captain Canuck, just to name a few.

For instance -- I looked up "Soviet Union":

ceases to be world power (check, sort of);
and China (business partners, these days);
collapse (check);
deploys first powersat (eh?);
as dominant power (ho-ho);
establishes first permanent space community (check, sort of);
rules world (fat chance, Ivan);
satellites of;
and US;
and war with Norway and Sweden. (!) (But not Finland again?)

"Collapse" seems like an intriguing prediction, since few were predicting the collapse of the Soviet Union as late as 1990. So I turn to page 23, and it is a prediction made by Amory and Hunter Lovins, whom the book calls "two of the foremost critics of the nuclear power industry," but who are better known these days as co-founders of the Rocky Mountain Institute. Anyway, by 1995-2005, they said, there would be "the effective collapse of the Soviet empire from internal political stress."

Not too bad a forecast, if a little vague. Much closer to correct than "by 1993, the US will have ceased to be a great power and will be struggling to hold itself together as a viable nation. The Soviet Union will be approaching hegemony over most of the world." That by a CIA Soviet expert, part of whose job must have been to scare the US government.


At 10:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can recall reading - but unfortunately, not where - that a veteran of the KGB had boasted that they were always well ahead of the CIA; for instance, they knew at least six months before the CIA did that the Soviet Union had lost the Cold War. ANK


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