Friday, August 9, 2013

2030 by Albert Brooks

Comedian/Actor/Writer (and who knows what else) Albert Brooks has been making people laugh for years. Now, with his new novel, 2030, he's making us think.

Twenty Thirty, The real story of what happens to America, shows us a very convincing picture of what can and may happen in the U.S. as the baby boomers (myself included) continue to get older and older. Thanks to advances in medical research, including finally a cure for cancer, Americans are increasingly looking at their eighties and nineties in their rearview mirrors.

Surely curing cancer is a wonderful achievement, right? After all, is there anyone reading this blog that doesn't know at least one person who has battled cancer?

So, Americans are living longer, but they still need medical care, right? And they still are entitled to benefits like social security, etc., right? There's just one big problem. The US is trillions of dollars in debt, and younger citizens are now struggling under the financial burden of caring for the "olds." Some individuals are even gathering supporters, in an effort to bring about change.

At a time when the US economy is already at the breaking point, "the big one" finally happens. A major earthquake levels Los Angeles, leaving literally millions of people homeless and penniless. Insurance companies go bankrupt, and relocation centers are hastily erected all along the west coast.

The president of the United States is faced with the harsh reality that America simply cannot afford to rebuild Los Angeles. Projected costs run in excess of 20 trillion dollars, and we don't have it. The only alternative is to go to their principle lender, China, and ask to borrow more money.

China values the United States as a business partner because America is the biggest consumer of Chinese goods. But can they afford to extend even a portion of such a vast amount to the US? Do they even want to? Or is there another alternative?

Brooks's prose is very to the point, and non-judgemental. He doesn't go to any great lengths to point fingers at any one particular ideology or political agenda. He builds this scenario of the too-near future very logically. He uses a wide range of characters, and all of them are treated with empathy. I highly recommend 2030 to anyone interested in a very thought-provoking look at where we are now, and where we may go.

Alan Andrews

(originally posted at Basso for Hire)  2030 by Albert Brooks - Book Review at Basso for Hire

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