May 22, 2012

My perspective is that of a beginning student of the vast subject of globalization. I am currently reading about 10 books on various aspects of this subject. I simply must stop and take the time to recommend this one to any of you who may want to better understand the condition of the world today.

The word “globalization” is not in the title, but globalization is about trade, about movement of people, and about every way in which we interact globally. What could be more relevant to globalization than an outlook on the key issue of world leadership in the next decade or two?
Ian Bremmer has written a captivating book on that subject. He argues clearly that we are likely to be leaderless for a time. The US is neither able nor willing to play the role it has played (not to say that that role was played well or poorly in the past few decades–it was some of both). There is no other country or group of countries or world organization which is properly designed, equipped, and prepared to take on that role.
Some might say that China is prepared to do so, but Bremmer clearly explains the issues that China, in the words of its own Prime Minister only 2 years ago, “still a developing country,” must maintain as priority. China has major internal challenges which it is rightly dedicated to managing. We will all benefit greatly is Chinese leadership only does that well for another decade. Neither is Russia, India, or Brazil ready. Clearly the European Union has years of financial struggle ahead before it could consider spreading its wings.
The implications of a world which is spinning rapidly in terms of trade and migration toward more and more globalization, but yet has no leader and no vehicles for agreement on a wide array of critical issues, such as water, technology, the internet, trade, and on and on, are indeed vast.
The book does not seek to frighten us or to mollify us. I am usually distrustful of arguments which take to those extremes.
I highly recommend this book to those who want to understand the risks and opportunities that lie ahead of us in a world that is struggling to find the answers to cooperation in ways that will be of greatest benefit to all of us.

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