The Future, Today, Yesterday

The following is excerpted from the beginning of an extraordinarily entertaining near-future science-fiction thriller:

It is now 2020, and the world economy is generally strong and stable with the exception of the U.S. and Latin America, which are in relative decline. Europe and the Pacific Rim have adopted the business model of increased liberalization that was previously more closely associated with the U.S., while the U.S. is muddling through with stagnant economic growth and heavy social burdens related to an aging population. With the stagnant economy and ever-ballooning entitlements, federal budgetary pressures are heavy and persistent. High levels of environmental deterioration, spread unevenly across the globe, affect economic stability. There is growing public concern about the state of the environment, but not enough to make the sacrifices in consumption required to mitigate the effects of global warming. The economic malaise here has generated even more problems to the South, resulting in increased illegal immigration from Mexico and Latin America. While the technology-driven U.S. Navy remains forward deployed in conflict areas vital to national interests, the biggest threats to our national security can be found on our own soil, in the guise of violent and erratic weather patterns, increased drug use and smuggling, crime and terrorism.

Prophetic, isn’t it?

You might be surprised to learn this isn’t the beginning of a SF novel, or even a novella or short story. The author or authors are unknown, and probably nobody you nor I have ever heard of before. What’s most remarkable about this bleak tale of the near future is that it’s actually a U.S. Coast Guard training aid. Really.

The whole thing, 21 “Proprietary to the U.S. Coast Goard” pages in all, can be downloaded here (96KB PDF file.) It might well be the most entertaining USCG – heck, U.S. government publication ever.

It’s surprisingly well written, all things considered, but also very scary both in it’s all-to-prescient forecast of what was then (in early 2001) the near-future, and it’s environmental, economic, and political predictions.

Even if science fiction, future history, or alternative history aren’t your things, check this document out, anyway; like me, you might, when all is said and done, despair that even though so many of today’s problems were forseeable then, bugger all has been done to address them. Hopefully the Coast Guard role-players performed better in their games than we have managed so far in real life.

Published in: Geekiness, General, History | on May 7th, 2007| Comments Off on The Future, Today, Yesterday

Both comments and pings are currently closed.

Comments are closed.