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After America: Narratives for the Next Global Age Hardcover – May 28, 2009
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Top Customer Reviews
Probably the best discussion centers on a world in which the US is not "number 1." Who will claim the title? Russia? China? The European Union? India? What is clear is that regional powers will grow in strength. What is not clear will be the structure and dominance of the multipolar world order. Will chaos reign or will a true world government emerge? All is speculation but very good food for thought.
One very clear message from this and other books well worth reading (e.g., Chalmers Johnson's triology on US foreign policy - Blowback, Sorrows of Empire & Nemesis): Cultural decline is rarely forced upon a dominant culture; rather it rots from within. We chose as a Nation to outsource manufacturing excellence and we wasted our soft power. We elected the officials with short-term vision (grab for all the rich bits as quickly as possible) and spurned the more long-term thinkers (e.g., Jimmy Carter & Al Gore).
The corollary to this is simple: for the US to slow its decline and to remain relevant in the world we must control our appetites and stop the short-term greed oriented decision making. The best protector of democracy is wealth and opportunity which are wisely distributed. The opposite which has held sway for around 30 years has made us less wealthy, less secure, more indebted and with fewer options.
I recommend skipping the first section, probably the second section too. It's essentially the same version of American history you learn in American high school. I regret wasting time on it. Maybe useful if you're brand new to American history, or want a quick refresher.
The book is worth reading for the global-cities chapter alone. There's an unusual (for this book) amount of structural information, and experts and books to follow up on. Or maybe that's simply the topic I knew least about, which speaks to this book's value as a survey, a table of contents on the topic.
That said, the other "possible scenario" chapters DID seem lighter than the global-cities chapter, and are only interesting if you've never read anything about possible post-American-hegemony scenarios before. I came away with NO cohesive picture of China or India; I was at LEAST expecting a clear summary of their economic models, which I never even remotely got. Again, it's mostly lightweight "conjectures masked as information". I've Googled it a lot, and there's nothing in the chapters on India or China or a multipolar world-system you can't find on the first few pages of Google (which is mostly articles and interviews from news sites).
I go to books for something DEEPER than Google, which mostly gives you journalist writing...Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book is well done but written in a dry academic style that some may not care for. Seems more like a sociology text. I still liked it and would recommend. Read morePublished on January 13, 2012 by Sklanchy
This book was actually more entertaining than I expected.
This author is a journalist, and there is a lot of conjecture masked as information here, with a thinly... Read more