- Paperback: 528 pages
- Publisher: PublicAffairs (January 8, 2004)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1586482068
- ISBN-13: 978-1586482060
- Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1.2 x 8.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 13 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,655,383 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Ideas That Conquered The World: Peace, Democracy, And Free Markets In The Twenty-first Century
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From Publishers Weekly
Mandelbaum, foreign policy professor at Johns Hopkins and a Newsday columnist, brings extensive experience in policy analysis to this examination of the political and economic ideas he believes will dominate the post-Cold War era. He expounds upon and assesses what he calls the Liberal Theory of History. Liberalism, as the author defines it, harkens back to three ideas synthesized by Woodrow Wilson at the end of WWI. First is the primacy of free markets as the world's indispensable economic engine. Second is the recognition of democracy, with its constitutional limits on government power, as the most advantageous political system. Third is an instinct for peaceful relations among nations, marked by transparency in armaments and by common security arrangements; peace has replaced war as the normal state of international affairs. These ideas, Mandelbaum asserts, are "mutually reinforcing" and have triumphed within the past 60 years over the illiberal and brutal systems of fascism and communism, continually gaining adherents. To that extent, Mandelbaum concludes, there is a basis for hope for the 21st century. Still, as he acknowledges, there are dangerous countercurrents loose in the world, and numerous flash points, such as Taiwan (the most dangerous place on earth, according to the author) and the dragon's lair of the Middle East. Policy enthusiasts will read Mandelbaum's astute and exceptionally well-written analysis with great interest and may even share his cautious optimism about liberalism's prospects.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"A formidable and thought-provoking tour d'horizon. Best of all, it gives readers something to argue about." -- New York Times Book Review, September 22, 2002
"A thoughtful and powerful...analysis of the triumphant and ongoing impact of the ideas of peace, democracy and free markets." -- Richard Reeves, Universal Press Syndicate, September 4, 2002
"An important and compelling new book." -- Thomas L. Friedman, New York Times, September 15, 2002.
"If you are trying to put the events of Sept. 11 in some overall historical context...I recommend Mandelbaum's new book." -- James Klurfeld, Newsday, September 5, 2002.
"Mandelbaum captures with considerable scholarship and clarity the general underpinnings of current international relations and the possibilities for the future." -- The Weekly Standard, October 21, 2002
"The strength of this volume is in Mandelbaum's analysis of the diplomatic and economic sinews that hold together today's world..." -- David Shribman, Chicago Tribune, October 6, 2002
"This is a timely and relevant analysis. Mandelbaum speaks powerfully and insightfully to our vexing and manifold challenges." -- Charlotte Observer, November 11, 2002
"Truly fascinating...It is well worth reading." -- Judith Regan, Judith Regan Show, September 28, 2002.
"an excellent historical understanding of the evolution of the Western liberal ideas of free trade, democracy, and peace." -- Parameters, Summer 2003. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
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Disappointment - the author dismisses the Islamic challenge to the Western world because they offer no viable alternative. Rule by religious elites not chosen democratically - including a cluster of values such as dispute resolution thru trial by combat on a national scale, economic policy reduced to trading for short-term profit without long-term investment - these ideas appeal not because they reject the West and its ideology. The indigenous peoples of the Islamic world believe that ideals of personal submission to God's will, governmental enforcement of His laws, and restoration of the cultural dominance of these values transcend and triumph over ideas put forth in this book. China may fight a war for rational, if poorly thought-out reasons. But the dragons' lair of Middle East politics has sucked us into wars for causes that can only be understood outside the author's framework. Thus the author's historical treatise falls far short. Peace, democracy, and free markets are rooted in Judeo-Christian values. Why did they fail in the 7th and 8th centuries, and what will prevent a recurrence in the 21st? Without this analysis the story is incomplete. The author's conclusion that these ideas have achieved hegemonic status rings empty.
Of course Anglo-American liberalism is still very much relevant and will be into the foreseeable future but the notion that the world is converging in unison into the ideals of peace, democracy and free markets is much too simplistic. The US government's power around the world is on a gentle but clear downward trajectory. Rising powers such as multinational corporations, China and religious fundamentalism will take from the a la cart menu of peace, democracy and free markets as what they wish but they will not take wholesale the ideals espoused by this book. Russia has their own views on world order and the increasing numbers of failing states around the world also show that the veneer of peace and democracy around the world is a false one.
It seems that most of the powerful actors will agree on some aspects and disagree on others, creating a messy world divided into regions and ad hoc alliances. A few of the actors and forces such as ISIS, North Korea, refugee problems will inject chaos into the system. No set of ideas will conquer the world.
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