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The Sovereign Individual Hardcover – 4 Apr 1997


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 672 pages
  • Publisher: Macmillan (4 April 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0333662083
  • ISBN-13: 978-0333662083
  • Product Dimensions: 23.6 x 16.2 x 4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 928,108 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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The coming of the year 2000 has haunted the Western imagination for the past thousand years. Read the first page
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 10 Mar. 1999
Format: Hardcover
"The Sovereign Individual" is the most insightful book on "Future History", i.e. attempted prediction of the near future, that I have seen. It describes how the advent of cyberspace will undermine the power of our current nation-states, and how wealthy people, possibly including large parts of the upper-middle class, will shun the tax-happy nation-states and live "off-shore", i.e. in any jurisdiction that suits them, typically small countries such as can be found in the Caribbean. By the same token, a lot of businesses will move their head offices and many of of its other funcions based on cost/benefit, where cost of labour and taxation will be major factors, alhough not the only ones. An increasing number of activities can truly be performed without physical presence, as the world's work becomes increasingly intellectual. My own example of an early adaptor of this method would be Science Fiction author Arthur C. Clarke, who lives and writes tax-free in Sri Lanka.
Fundamentally, this trend to the "off-shore" will capitalise on an emerging free market in sovereignty, i.e. the provision of government services such as defence, police and court system. The likely result of this market will be that large scale support of unprofitable activities, such as massive transfer payments to nominally or factually poor people, will become increasingly rare, as those govenments that focus on protection will be able to offer a lower price. Thus, businesses and wealthy individuals will simply settle in jurisdictions that have minimal or nonexistent welfare systems.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 18 Mar. 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A very focused and clear argument for what is happening with the world, based on a historical walk-through from hunter-gatherers to internet times. You cannot fault the analysis, nor the conclusions.
The presentation style is mightily irritating -- several ill-disguised rants on every page along the lines of "we told you so", "when the rest of the world ridiculed us, who were the ones that were right after all...?", "we pointed this out as early as in 1994, but did people listen to us? Oh no.". If you can tolerate the rant and self-righteousness, you have a first-rate book with a frightening view of where we are heading, and no reason not to believe the conclusions.
Highly recommended, mightily irritating.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 13 April 2000
Format: Paperback
The authors present a fascinating argument on where they feel society is heading, based on how they see current technology affecting the way we live our lives.
This book takes *big history*, combines it with analysis of contemporary technological advances (esp the internet) and argues that the future will see far more individual liberty than ever before.
The passage of two years since its publication has not undermined their theses at all.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
the book embodies a brief telling of economic history from an angle rarely considered or discussed and really opened my eyes in that regard.

given it's age, many of its forecasts are now subject to comparison to what has actually happened and given the number of concrete statements made, the authors really stuck their necks out and have been vindicated by history since then. one or two things were wide of the mark, but then a famous computer expert once said the world would only need 5 computers or some similar quote, so even the sharpest eyes can be deceived.

honestly, I would recommend this book to anyone who takes in interest in curernt affairs and the borokerage of power in the real world.

on the downside, the book does contain a couple of discreet plugs for the authors business interests which are now stale and irrelevant, and there are a couple of repetitive passages here and there.

the informational content is largely peerless amongst the morass of anodyne pap available in the genre and is a must read in my view.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By vikingraider on 18 April 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is an excellent, well-researched book into the subject of the future. It predicts a decline in the power of indebted governments to tax and control our lives, mainly due to globalisation and the internet. They may well be right longer-term, but for now, their shorter-term prediction of governmental attempts to maintain and strengthen their control, swimming against the tide, have proved highly accurate, as has their predictions on the decline of national currencies and the strength of gold and silver as stores of wealth.

My only criticism is that it drags on for too long. What it describes could have been said more clearly and concisely in a book half the size. Well worth the read though, and maybe one to prepare ourselves for in future.
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