- Hardcover: 320 pages
- Publisher: Basic Books; 1 edition (March 5, 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0465031560
- ISBN-13: 978-0465031566
- Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.1 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 216 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #700,927 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The End of Power: From Boardrooms to Battlefields and Churches to States, Why Being In Charge Isnt What It Used to Be 1st Edition
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Naím, scholar and columnist, explains that “power is what we exercise over others that leads them to behave in ways they would not otherwise have behaved.” He builds his case for the decay of power claiming that power no longer buys as much; it is easier to get, harder to use, and easier to lose. Presidents, executives in financial services and oil companies, international religious leaders, and politicians continue to wield great power, but less so than their predecessors; today’s leaders have more challenges, competitors, and constraints in the form of citizen activism, global markets, and the ever-present media. The decay of power has made space globally for new ventures, companies, voices, and more opportunities, but it also holds great potential for instability. Naím concludes that now we are more vulnerable to bad ideas and bad leaders, and strongly recommends a conversation not on the obsession with “who/what is Number One” but “what is going on inside those nations, political movements, corporations, and religions.” A timely and timeless book. --Mary Whaley
Financial Times, Best of the Year
It's not just that power shifts from one country to another, from one political party to another, from one business model to another, Naim argues; it's this: Power is decaying.”
Gordon M. Goldstein, Washington Post, Notable Non-Fiction Book of the Year
A remarkable new book by the remarkable Moises Naim, the former editor of Foreign Policy. It was recommended to me by former president Bill Clinton during a brief conversation on the situation in Egypt.”
Richard Cohen, Washington Post
"In his new book called The End of Power, Moises Naim goes so far as to say that power is actually decaying. I actually find the argument rather persuasive."
General Martin Dempsey-Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff
"I particularly enjoyed The End of Power by Moisés Naim.... It is particularly relevant for big institutions like GE."
Jeff Immelt, CEO, GE
[An] altogether mind-blowing and happily convincing treatise about how 'power is becoming more feeble, transient, and constrained.'"
Nick Gillespie, Barron's
Moisés Naím's The End of Power offers a cautionary tale to would-be Lincolns in the modern era. Naím is a courageous writer who seeks to dissect big subjects in new ways. At a time when critics of overreaching governments, big banks, media moguls and concentrated wealth decry the power of the '1%,' Mr. Naím argues that leaders of all typespolitical, corporate, military, religious, unionface bigger, more complex problems with weaker hands than in the past.”
Wall Street Journal
Analytically sophisticated [a] highly original, inter-disciplinary meditation on the degeneration of international power The End of Power makes a truly important contribution, persuasively portraying a compelling dynamic of change cutting across multiple game-boards of the global power matrix.”
This fascinating book...should provoke a debate about how to govern the world when more and more people are in charge.”
Naím produces a fascinating account of the way states, corporations and traditional interest groups are finding it harder to defend their redoubts (He) makes his case with eloquence.”
A timely and timeless book.”
Having served as editor-in-chief of Foreign Policy and the executive director of the World Bank, Naím knows better than most what power on a global scale looks like . [A] timely, insightful, and eloquent message.”
Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
Foreign Policy editor-in-chief Naím argues that global institutions of power are losing their ability to command respect. Whether considering institutions of government, military, religion or business, the author believes their power to be in the process of decaying . A data-packed, intriguing analysis.”
The End of Power will change the way you read the news, the way you think about politics, and the way you look at the world.”
William Jefferson Clinton
In my own experience as president of Brazil I observed first hand many of the trends that Naím identifies in this book, but he describes them in a way that is as original as it is delightful to read. All those who have poweror want itshould read this book.”
Fernando Henrique Cardoso
Moisés Naím's extraordinary new book will be of great interest to all those in leadership positionsbusiness executives, politicians, military officers, social activists and even religious leaders. Readers will gain a new understanding of why power has become easier to acquire and harder to exercise. The End of Power will spark intense and important debate worldwide.”
After you read The End of Power you will see the world through different eyes. Moisés Naím provides a compelling and original perspective on the surprising new ways power is acquired, used, and lostand how these changes affect our daily lives.” Arianna Huffington
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We often speak of the complexity of the modern world, but we tend to lose sight of just how complex it is. Consider this: in 1941, when I was born, world population stood at roughly 2.3 billion, whereas today we humans number 7.2 billion. Then, there was a total of 61 sovereign states on the planet. Today, there are 193 members of the United Nations, more than three times as many. But the number of players on the world stage today is far greater than that, including a plethora of global and regional organizations and what the media has come to call “non-state players” such as ISIS and Al Qaeda, all of which have come into being in the last seventy years. The upshot is that a US State Department list of treaties currently in force runs to almost five hundred pages! Add to these facts the speed and breadth of reach of information technologies and “profound shifts in expectations, values, and social norms,” and the case seems made. “But the more fundamental explanation as to why barriers to power have become more feeble,” Naim writes, “has to do with the transformation in such diverse factors as rapid economic growth in many poor countries, migratory patterns, medicine and healthcare, education, and even attitudes and cultural mores.” In the midst of all this complexity, how could anyone hope to be the master of all he surveys?
Naim analyzes the means by which power is expressed, referring to them as Muscle (coercion), Code (obligation), Pitch (persuasion), and Reward (inducement). He posits three overarching phenomena that give rise to weakening the barriers to power: the More revolution (there’s more of everything now), the Mobility revolution (we and our money, not just communications, move around a lot faster now), and the Mentality revolution (“taking nothing for granted anymore”). Like any typology, Naim’s are debatable — other thinkers may carve up reality along different lines — but they ring true to my ear. After all, to note what he calls “a cascading diffusion of power,” we have only to look at the gridlock that has overtaken the political process in many nations (not just the US) and the shocking ability of micropowers — those “non-state actors” — to change the course of world history. Even “a core axiom of war has been stood on its head. Once upon a time, superior firepower ultimately prevailed. Now that is no longer true.” There are parallel developments in nearly every realm of human endeavor. For example, “the advantage long considered to be built into corporate scale, scope, and hierarchy has been blunted, or even transformed into a handicap.”
These are not superficial changes or limited to one region of the globe. “[S]ince 2004,” Naim writes, “three-quarters of the world’s economies have made it easier to start a business.” Rising competition, indeed!
Naim sees these developments as fraught with risk. He writes of five significant ones: Disorder (obviously), De-Skilling and Loss of Knowledge (witness Fox News), the Banalization of Social Movements (through social media, “sound bites,” and oversimplified pitches by politicians and NGOs), Boosting Impatience and Shortening Attention Spans (just look around), and Alienation (obviously).
The End of Power is endlessly thought-provoking — a worthy addition to our understanding of the way the world works today.
Moises Naim has an extraordinary resume. Born in Libya, educated at MIT, a former Venezuelan Minister of Trade and Industry and former Executive Director of the World Bank, he was the editor in chief of Foreign Policy magazine from 1996 to 2010. The End of Power is only the latest of the more than ten books he has written or edited.
In 1950, there was only 1 nuclear power, and now there are many. That DOESN'T mean that that single nuclear power has gotten weaker, but rather that there is altogether more destructive power in play in the world. Even in 1950, it isn't as though the US could have "conquered the world" because it was the only country with nuclear weapons- that alone wouldn't have been sufficient. The same remains true today. The USA is the strongest nuclear power, and military power, but, comparatively the other major powers have ALSO become more powerful. The difference is, that while the US wasn't capable of decimating the world single-handedly in 1950... it could now. So could Russia. So can China. Perhaps so could France and Great Britain. The OVERALL ability to project force/destruction/power has only increased across the board.
The same could be said about economic power. While there was a global economy in 1950, it wasn't nearly as large and developed as it is now. That gives another lever of power to large countries which they really didn't have before. Hard and soft power have become much more interchangeable and mutually supporting. Economic sanctions in 1950 might not have had much of an effect on many smaller countries in 1950... but in the modern world? Besides countries which have explicitly prepared for them, they can be more economically devastating than an actual war, in some cases.
Definitely should be read!
Chapter 4 (about the More, Mobility, and Mentality Revolutions) and chapters 5 through 9 (examples of decay in different contexts) were the most enjoyable. Naím makes a good case that power, indeed, is decaying in business, the military, politics, and elsewhere.
Where he lost me was in chapters 10 and 11 where he laments the decline in the political and corporate elite's ability to get what they want. And his solutions (strengthening political parties?, putting trust in politicians?) are laughable. And his warnings about the decay of state power are overblown. His "inverted-U" graph measuring power on one axis and "political stability and economic vitality" on the other is presented without an iota of evidence that the only way to enjoy maximum stability and prosperity is to have some kind of magical balance of power that isn't too tyrannical yet not "anarchy" all at once.
His final paragraphs talk about a surge of political innovations. That part I agree with. Those innovations are coming, but not in the way Naím thinks. Power will become more and more decentralized, and it's gonna be confusing and disorderly while we figure out how to fill that vacuum. But as more and more people take responsibility for themselves, they'll collaborate outside of traditional state frameworks to solve the problems we face.
I gave the book three stars instead of two because I enjoyed the middle section more than I didn't like the last two chapters.