Al Gore is the writer of two previous books: An Inconvenient Truth, which spoke about the dangers of climate change and was made into an Academy Award-winning documentary, and The Assault on Reason, which examined democracy in America and the problems it faces. In The Future: Six Drivers of Global Change, Al Gore is more ambitious because he's trying to address more than one specific problem. You still see elements of his previous books in this one, such as, for example, an analysis of the American democratic system, which Gore says has been "hacked," but you also get a bigger picture of what the world is facing today.
As far as American democracy goes, Gore suggests that Congress has become dependent on lobbyists to raise money for re-election, thus giving a lot more power to large industries. This leads into greater inequalities in income and prevents reform which is particularly necessary at this time, given the high rate of unemployment and the problems facing the public education system. To Gore, it seems as though Americans, like ancient Romans, are dependent on "Panem et Circenses" or bread and circuses. In our modern world, the place of circuses is taken by television where people watch big industry-sponsored programs and advertisements which lull them into believing that all is right with the world.
However, as Gore points out, the environmental issues he has addressed earlier are far from being resolved. Carbon emissions are still extremely high and can lead to flooding in some places and the creation of a desert-like environment in others. The technology spurt we are seeing has led to problems with privacy which are only likely to keep growing. Medical technology, though beneficial, may have a sinister result in the future if people are allowed to choose the traits their unborn babies possess.
Overall, Gore addresses many important problems and issues that people ought to be looking at but that are largely going ignored. By writing about them, Gore hopes to spread information and, hopefully, lead into greater democratic reform. As people become more aware, they will take issues into their own hands instead of settling for the half-truths they are being fed.
Albert Gore was born in Washington D.C., the son of a U.S. representative later to become Senator. His childhood was spent partly in D.C. and partly on the family farm in Tennessee. He went to Harvard and married Mary Elizabeth "Tipper" Aitcheson whom he had known since his high school days, and they had four children before separating in 2010. He served in Vietnam, and, after returning dispirited, decided to attend Vanderbilt University Divinity School to explore spiritual issues. He served in the U.S. Congress for 16 years and as Vice President under the Clinton administration. In 2000, he ran for President and won the popular vote but lost the Electoral College to George W. Bush. He is an author who has won the Nobel Peace Prize for his environmental activism.
"Insightful and measured, you finish the book as inspired as you are scared. As Gore continues to lay out and focus on some of the biggest challenges facing us today, it's impossible to not give pause and remember the 2000 election. I really wish this Al Gore would have better shown the electorate at that time who he really was and what he was capable. Say what you will about the appropriate size of government. Policy is so crucial to piloting humanity, and I have no doubt he would have plotted a much better course through the better part of the aughts than what we were left with."
Kory (5 out of 5 stars)