Every once in a while, it's fun to think big thoughts, to read what big thinkers are thinking. The French have the highest reputation for this sort of musing, and so we picked up a brief volume, Millennium -- Winners and Losers in the coming World Order by Jacques Attali, president of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, to find out what he sees ahead.

In his essay, Mr. Attali races around the globe at a swift pace, covering everything in 130 pages, and he offers Americans little hope. "Industry is the only lasting foundation of a country's power, and it is in this sense that the signs of America's relative decline are seen everywhere," Mr. Attali writes. "This is regrettable," he says, "but facts are facts."

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