Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group
The Future, Declassified

The Future, Declassified

Megatrends That Will Undo the World Unless We Take Action

Mathew Burrows

St. Martin's Press



Twenty-five years ago when Mathew Burrows went to work for the CIA as an intelligence analyst, the world seemed frozen. Then came the fall of the Berlin Wall and the implosion of the Soviet Union; suddenly, unpredictability became a universal theme and foresight was critical. For the past decade, Burrows has overseen the creation of the Global Trends report—the key futurist guide for the White House, Departments of State and Defense, and Homeland Security. Global Trends has a history of making bold predictions and being right:
* In 2004, it argued that al-Qaeda's centralized operations would dissolve and be replaced by groups, cells, and individuals—the very model of the 2012 Boston bombings.
* In 2008, it included a scenario dubbed October Surprise, imagining a devastating late-season hurricane hitting an unprepared New York City.
In The Future, Declassified, Burrows—for the first time—has expanded the most recent Global Trends report into a full-length narrative, forecasting the tectonic shifts that will drive us to 2030. A staggering amount of wholesale change is happening—from unprecedented and widespread aging to rampant urbanization and growth in a global middle class to an eastward shift in economic power and a growing number of disruptive technologies. Even our physical geography is changing as sea levels rise and faster commercial shipping routes open up through a warming Arctic region.
The book concludes with its most provocative section: four fictional paths to 2030 with imagined storylines and characters based on analysis by the most authoritative figures in the intelligence community. As Burrows argues, we are living through some of the greatest and most momentous developments in history. Either we take charge and direct those or we are at their mercy. The stakes are particularly high for America's standing in the world and for ordinary Americans who want to maintain their quality of life. Running the gamut from scary to reassuring, this riveting book is essential reading.


Praise for The Future, Declassified

“Matt Burrows has provided us all a map of the future landscape for decision makers at every level. Original, comprehensive and visionary it is vital reading for anyone who cares about the future of their children.” —Peter Schwartz, Futurist, author of The Art of the Long View

“Matt Burrows is a brave American. While serving in NIC, he argued forcefully that America had to deal with new realities: a multipolar world in which we will see America's relative decline. Yet he is also optimistic about America's future in this new world. I share his optimism and I commend this book to all who want to understand our planet's new future.” —Kishore Mahbubani, Dean, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, NUS, and author of The Great Convergence: Asia, the West, and the Logic of One World

“In The Future, Declassified Mathew Burrows reflects on past, present and future mega-trends. He does not chase the impossible, predicting the future. Instead he provides an analytic look into the realities of today's world and the potential we have for dealing with the likely challenges we will face. Burrows' approach, and his analytic treatment, make him the best futurist of our time.” —Gen J. E. Cartwright (Ret)

“After a distinguished career in intelligence, Mat Burrows has found a new voice. His analytic talent, once applied to an important quadrennial series of global trends reports, has been transformed into a gift for vivid storytelling. He draws the reader in to illuminate the complexities of globalization and shifting fortunes in international politics. His conclusions about this state of affairs for the United States are sobering but he offers some concrete policy ideas to refocus American energies to avoid the worst outcomes. He has also deftly explained the profound linkages between domestic policies on education and immigration, for example, and the more strategic world of national security.” —Ellen Laipson, President & CEO, The Stimson Center

“As the old ways tremble, will old style governments give way to 'empowered individuals'? Will youthful nations stress aging ones? What disruptive technologies will challenge our assumptions? Mathew Burrows explores the many horizons of our uncertain age.” —David Brin, author of Existence and The Transparent Society

The Future, Declassified at once offers a compelling view of the challenges facing us in the decade ahead, and also provides a rare insight into the process of creating forecasts that connect with policy and strategic action. This book is a must-read for decision makers and an essential addition to every forecaster's bookshelf.” —Paul Saffo, Managing Director, Foresight, Discern Analytics

“Yogi Berra said that we should never make predictions, especially about the future, but The Future, Declassified shows just how much we can foresee when we have the right guide. Mat Burrows, the leading light in the US National Intelligence Council’s hugely influential Global Trends reports, is the perfect guide, bringing the possible futures to life with a combination of hard-nosed analysis with vivid vignettes. Technological takeoff? Climate catastrophe? Pandemic disease? Nuclear war? You’ll find them all here, carefully weighed and balanced.” —Ian Morris, author of Why the West Rules--For Now and War! What is it Good For?

Reviews from Goodreads

About the author

Mathew Burrows

Mathew Burrows is the director of the Atlantic Council's Strategic Foresight Initiative. He has served as the National Intelligence Council's counselor and director of analysis and production for the last decade. He served as the intelligence advisor to Richard Holbrooke when he was the US Ambassador to the UN. After 9/11, he became deputy national security advisor to US Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill. He lives in Washington, DC.

Mathew Burrows

From the Publisher

St. Martin's Press

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