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The Anglosphere Challenge: Why the English-Speaking Nations Will Lead the Way in the Twenty-First Century

4.9 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0742533332
ISBN-10: 0742533336
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Editorial Reviews

Review

It is very unusual to come across a genuinely new idea or a really original book. But the central thesis of The Anglosphere Challenge―that a new world order based on cultural affinity is evolving in response to the information revolution―is the most original attempt yet to make sense of the post-cold war world. New and original ideas are often strange or unsettling. Yet when Mr. Bennett has finished making his case, it seems the most obvious common sense. In short, this may be the Next Big Idea. (John O'Sullivan, editor, The National Interest)

The most original foreign policy book of the year . . . James C. Bennett has sketched how the international order might be reshaped by the Internet and the communications revolution―and what allies the United States would have in that new world. (Chicago Sun-Times)

James C. Bennett's book leads one on a journey of discovery disguised as a journey of rediscovery. He lends expression to ideas one feels one has always known, but which were never formulated until Bennett put them into words. (George Jonas, columnist, National Post (Canada))

It is clear that [James C.] Bennett and [Samuel] Huntington have similar conceptions about the core elements of 'Anglo' culture. But for Bennett, the dynamics of this culture, interacting with the global economy and Internet technology, are driving Americans beyond a mere national identity which is limited to the United States to a transnational identity which is grounded in the dense interrelations―the network commonwealth―among the English-speaking nations. The Anglosphere, Bennett foresees, will be the most coherent, advanced, and effective association of nations of any operating and competing within the global economy and the information age. As such, Bennett projects a more expansive and optimistic future for Americans than that provided by Huntington's analysis. (James R. Kurth, professor, Swarthmore College The National Interest, (Fall 2004))

The first full-length treatment of the idea [of the 'Anglosphere']―and a powerful one. [Bennett's] book is bound to ratchet up serious discussion of it to an altogether higher level―and bring it to a new and larger audience. (New York Post)

James C. Bennett in his pathbreaking book The Anglosphere Challenge sees the contemporary English-speaking world as what he calls a 'network civilization' - that is, a set of countries that shares a common cultural heritage going far beyond language. (The New Criterion)

The Anglosphere Challenge is one of the important books of our time. (National Review)

The volume will be of interest to readers that seek a thorough understanding of the technological revolution of the last few decades and its claimed Anglosphere heritage. (Political Studies Review)

Recommended (CHOICE)

In his book, The Anglosphere Challenge, James C. Bennett talks about a shared set of values in which Magna Carta, trial by jury, "innocent until proven guilty", "a man's home is his castle", and "a man's word is his bond" are common themes. (The Daily Telegraph)

Stresses the pivotal nature of English fluency in the information-age economy to come. (Dick Morris)

About the Author

James C. Bennett is a founding director of the non-profit Foresight Institute, which deals with education and research on nanotechnology, and the related Institute for Molecular Manufacturing. He is also a cofounder of The Anglosphere Institute, a non-profit organization conducting policy research and further the concepts of the Anglosphere and the Network Commonwealth. Bennett is an adjunct fellow of The Hudson Institute.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 354 pages
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers (April 3, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0742533336
  • ISBN-13: 978-0742533332
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,480,449 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By James McCormick on November 15, 2004
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Any serious discussion of the central role of English traditions in Canada is fraught with twin perils: mindless claims of racism/imperialism and founding-nation chauvinism. The Anglosphere Challenge is something very different. It's an exciting exploration of a new way to look a modern global culture and its Canadian flavour, keeping both perils at bay. Leading off with a chapter on the dynamic and converging nature of modern technology (cf. Vernor Vinge's The Singularity), the author makes the case that cultural dynamism and flexibility will be at a premium in the 21st century. His claim for the future pre-eminence of the common law countries (irrespective of their citizens' personal origins) is based on the Anglosphere's history of adapting successfully (and first) to technological and political change.
Bennett shows how respect for the individual, and the effective separation of religious, political and economic powers have a very deep roots in the English-speaking world. Before the creation of Canada and the United States. Before the English Civil War. Before the Protestant Reformation. Perhaps even before the Norman Conquest of England in 1066. In the roots of the English common law, we can find the fundamental principle of equal treatment before the law: male or female, lord or commoner. A virtuous circle ensued, freeing individuals from the constraints and predation of the powerful ... in ways impossible in continental Europe let alone other parts of the globe.The history (as opposed to the myths) of this era are eye-opening. And the great strength of the Anglosphere Challenge is the firm grounding in modern scholarship. The book's annotated bibliography is a gem.
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Format: Hardcover
James Bennett popularized the term "Anglosphere", which refers to those communities which speak English and share in the cultural practices and institutions inherited from England, e.g. common law, parliamentary democracy, highly developed civil society, private rather than communal notions of property, entrepreneurial rather than state-led economic development, relative openness to innovation and to immigration. These characteristics have been developing in the English-speaking world for at least a millennium, and represent a distinct sub-civilization within the larger West. Bennett draws on the work of Alan MacFarlane and David Hackett Fischer to demonstrate the uniqueness of the civilization which developed in England and which it in turn passed on to its daughter polities, most importantly the United States. This Anglosphere civilization has been the path-breaker for modernity, initiating modern democratic institutions and the industrial and subsequent economic revolutions. Note that Bennett does not offer this analysis in any spirit of triumphalism. This is not the old "Whig theory" of history, since Bennett correctly sees that these developments were the result of fortunate historical contingency. Bluntly, those of us who live in the Anglosphere are not better than anybody else, just lucky to be here. Bennett predicts that the Anglosphere will continue to be the cutting edge civilization in terms of economic and political developments into the future. In particular, the existence of the Web and cheap air and sea transport has already created a unitary Anglophone economic and cultural space, which will develop further as the highest value-added products become increasingly information-intensive, placing a premium on linguistic and cultural commonalities.Read more ›
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
For more than two decades, Jim Bennett has been one of the country's most acute thinkers on the frontiers of technology and cultural/political trends. The Anglosphere Challenge shows the strengths of civil society responses to growing state incapacities and failures. Emerging "networked commonwealths", he foresees, will advance universal values of freedom while accelerating innovation across new realms of human endeavor. This book is a storehouse of wisdom and hope for not only for those in the Anglosphere, but for people of all heritages and backgrounds seeking to live in an open world.
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Format: Hardcover
James C. Bennett explores some reasons for why English speaking names with an English heritage have done so well over the last couple centuries, and why they will continue to do well. The author points out that history is a pretty good indicator of the future. If we can understand why certain cultures have been successful, we may be able to understand which cultures will do well in the future.

This book is full of interesting ideas and observations. One of them is there are two types of problems, bounded and unbounded. Bounded problems have clear answers. A simple bounded problem is what is "2 + 2" with a clear answer of four. There are more complex bounded problems, like how much fuel with a 747 use carrying 187 people from Chicago to Atlanta. The problem is well defined, and the issues are all pretty much all known. Unbounded problems do not have clear definitions, let alone clear answers, at least in the beginning. Which video format is going to dominate, VHS or Beta? Who is going to win the next presidential election? What recent technological developments will become important in the future? This reminded me of "The Wisdom of Crowds" by James Surowiecki. James Surowiecki says that under certain situations a large group of people can make better decisions than a few experts. James Bennett points out that often the private sector does a much better job of dealing with unbounded problems, and that the culture of the Anglosphere tends to promote private sector solutions.

Another interesting idea builds on the economic principle that specialization with trade allows greater economic development. If an individual had to depend on everything he produced he would have to be a subsistence farmer and/or hunter.
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