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The Atlantic looks ahead

In a nation as self-consciously aware of potential as ours has been, contemplation of the future possesses some of the stabilizing function of tradition. To mark its 140th anniversary, The Atlantic will publish over the next year or two a series of articles that look at aspects of the long-term future for the nation and the world. The subjects will be diverse, ranging from issues in the physical and biological sciences to issues of intellect and philosophy to mundane but far-reaching issues involving politics, demography, and the environment.

November, 1997

"Living in Candlestick Park," by John Lewis Gaddis (April, 1999)
In the twenty-first century geopolitics might well take its metaphors from geology, as the state system of international relations gets shaken to its foundations.

"Who Owns Intelligence?" by Howard Gardner (February, 1999)
The researcher who pioneered the concept of "multiple intelligences" considers the issues that lie ahead: how those intelligences will be tested, and what -- if anything -- they have to do with creativity or values.

"America's Maginot Line," by Paul Bracken (December, 1998)
The development of ballistic missiles that any country can obtain threatens to make America's military presence in Asia untenable.

"Travels Into America's Future," by Robert D. Kaplan (August, 1998)
Imagine a land in which the dominant culture is an internationalized one, at every level; in which the political units that really matter are confederations of city-states; in which loyalty is an economic concept, when it is not obsolete; in which "the United States" exists chiefly to provide military protection. That is the land our correspondent glimpses, and it is no longer beyond the horizon.

"Travels Into America's Future," by Robert D. Kaplan (July, 1998)
A correspondent who has long experience reporting from dimly understood regions of the world reports from his dimly understood native land, and his excursions expose the borderless forces that are pushing America into its next life.

"A Special Moment in History," by Bill McKibben (May, 1998)
The fate of our planet will be determined in the next few decades, through our technological, lifestyle, and population choices

"The Great Climate Flip-flop," by William H. Calvin (January, 1998)
"Climate change" is popularly understood to mean greenhouse warming, which, it is predicted, will cause flooding, severe windstorms, and killer heat waves. But warming could lead, paradoxically, to drastic cooling -- a catastrophe that could threaten the survival of civilization

"Was Democracy Just a Moment?", by Robert D. Kaplan (December, 1997)
The global triumph of democracy was to be the glorious climax of the American Century. But democracy may not be the system that will best serve the world -- or even the one that will prevail in places that now consider themselves bastions of freedom.

"Warm-Blooded Plants and Freeze-Dried Fish," by Freeman J. Dyson (November, 1997)
When emigration from Earth to a planet or a comet becomes cheap enough for ordinary people to afford, people will emigrate.

Copyright © 1998 by The Atlantic Monthly Company. All rights reserved.
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