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by Fareed Zakaria

Pub Date: May 5th, 2008
ISBN: 978-0-393-06235-9
Publisher: Norton

Pity the poor think-tanked neocons: Just a moment ago, the talk was of empire and the new world order, and now, it seems, America’s day in the sun is about to grow cold.

Newsweek International editor Zakaria (The Future of Freedom: Illiberal Democracy at Home and Abroad, 2003, etc.), born in India and a longtime resident of New York, seems unconcerned that his adopted country is sailing down the tubes: “This is a book not about the decline of America but rather about the rise of everyone else.” He enumerates: Macao takes in more gambling revenue than Las Vegas, the biggest Ferris wheel in the world is in Singapore, Bollywood has surpassed Hollywood. Even as the global population grows, the number of those living in extreme poverty is falling, at least in three-quarters of the world’s nations. Even after 9/11, the author notes, the world economy “grew at its fastest rate in nearly four decades.” Inflation exceeds 15 percent only in a dozen-odd failed states such as Burma and Zimbabwe, and fewer and fewer people are dying in wars or spasms of political violence than ever. That all should be good news to globalists, and it’s comforting to know, as Zakaria helpfully points out, that Iran spends less than a penny for every dollar we spend on the military. Yet the United States has dawdled, economically speaking, as China, India and other nations have skyrocketed. It helps, Indians note, that the Chinese government, the commander of that nation’s command economy, hasn’t really had to respond to public opinion, though even that is changing. The good news? By Zakaria’s account, America’s strength will lie in freedom and diversity—and the post-American era may not last all that long, since America’s population is growing, and growing younger, while the demographics of Asia and Europe are largely pointing to older populations and, in time, fewer workers.

A sharp, well-written work of political economy.