The Great Population Spike and After: Reflections on the 21st Century

By W. W. Rostow | Go to book overview

SEVEN
The Role of the United States in the Post-Cold War World

As in the other chapters in this book, it is wise to begin by recalling the past. In this case, I begin with the history and concepts that have guided U.S. foreign policy. This historical survey is useful first because the issues we will confront in the next half century, while distinctive, will not be wholly new. Americans have wrestled with them, wisely or otherwise, in the past, and that should help provide perspective as we face the future on the other side of the Great Spike.

Second, looking forward, it is necessary to see the past as objectively as we can. There are endless aphorisms about the usefulness of history to illuminate the present and the future, as well as many concerning its lack of usefulness. In general, the use of history as a guide to the future has a bad name. Samuel Taylor Coleridge in one century and Lewis Namier in another both asserted that humanity could only look at the past and was incapable of looking forward. But in a book about the future, there is virtue in trying to belie Coleridge and Namier and, looking backward as well as forward, in trying to clarify where we have come from and what we face in the time ahead.

-139-

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The Great Population Spike and After: Reflections on the 21st Century
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface vii
  • Contents xi
  • One - The Framework 3
  • Two - Population and the Stages of Growth 45
  • Three - Technology and Investment 47
  • Introduction 47
  • Conclusion 77
  • Four - Relative Prices 79
  • Five - Cycles 97
  • Six - The Limits to Growth 119
  • Seven - The Role of the United States in the Post-Cold War World 139
  • Eight - The Critical Margin and America's Inner Cities 157
  • Nine - Conclusions 181
  • Appendix A - A Historical Analogy 187
  • Appendix B - The Demography of the People's Republic of China 195
  • Notes 203
  • Index 221
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