I was first attracted to this book for three reasons. First, the process of building a constitution is one that has dominated Europe for a generation, and is set to dominate the political agenda in Europe for at least another generation. There is much about building a constitution for a continental power that the EU can learn from the American experience. Second, the United States – and its constitution – is very much a child of The Enlightenment. If it is true that we are moving away from Enlightenment 1.0 – possibly towards Enlightenment 2.0, possibly something different – then, given the hyperpuissance of the US, even if the status quo ex ante were to be maintained, we would not expect the transition from one state to another to be without difficulty. Finally, we take the view that Mr Coates is one of the elder statesmen of the futurist profession. If there is an issue that he sees as important, then we are well advised to treat it seriously ourselves. We may not agree with the conclusions, but we ought to consider the issue.
The US is still the major player in global geo-politics and, as such, commands a disproportionate amount of our attention. I agree with Mr Coates that the US Constitution needs an update. As a manifesto for action, this book has much to recommend it. We may not agree with all of the proposals within the book, but it is important to debate them openly. For this reason, it is an important text.
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