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Astral Codex Ten Podcast

May 23, 2021


[This is the eleventh of many finalists in the book review contest. It’s not by me - it’s by an ACX reader who will remain anonymous until after voting is done, to prevent their identity from influencing your decisions. I’ll be posting about two of these a week for several months. When you’ve read all of them, I’ll ask you to vote for your favorite, so remember which ones you liked. If you like reading these reviews, check out point 3 here for a way you can help move the contest forward by reading lots more of them - SA]

In The Accidental Superpower: The Next Generation of American Preeminence and the Coming Global Disorder (2014), Peter Zeihan predicts the future of world politics and economic development in a way that an ACX fan would appreciate. He puts a timeline on it. The book isn’t about “some hazy distant future after we’re all dead and gone, but the future we will all be living in for the next fifteen years of our lives.” Zeihan’s subtitle hints at his big and bold thesis, which predicts “the dissolution of the free trade order, the global demographic inversion, the collapse of Europe and China,” which “is all just a fleeting transition” to a world largely abandoned by America.

People have fun making predictions like this (and mocking those who get things spectacularly wrong). With money and fame available to people whose predictions turn out right, and the ease with which we fo