A consistently interesting, almost wholly persuasive vision of a future in which flow prevails over friction, where...

CONNECTOGRAPHY

MAPPING THE FUTURE OF GLOBAL CIVILIZATION

Global strategist Khanna (Asia and Globalization/National Univ. of Singapore; How to Run the World: Charting a Course to the Next Renaissance, 2011, etc.) analyzes the new world of global connectivity.

Take what you think you know about globalization. Now add steroids. No ocean or continent goes untouched in the author’s version of how human life is organized on Earth. We are headed, he insists, for a supply-chain world where, following the ancient law of supply and demand, ever expanding infrastructures of all varieties (including Internet cables) will channel commerce and talent, binding us culturally and economically ever more closely, obscuring if not entirely eliminating national boundaries. In the endless struggle for leverage, “the supply chain tug-of-war,” ideology takes a back seat to commerce, and connectivity becomes paramount. A twin dynamic propels these infrastructure connections: first comes devolution, the fragmentation of territory into ever smaller units of authority (think the Soviet Union), and then, aggregation, the coming together of those units into something larger (think the European Union). A well-traveled, well-informed guide, Khanna makes persuasive use of pointed facts, surprising detail, and intriguing queries to demonstrate the degree of hyperconnectivity already upon us. Quick, can you say with any certainty where the car you drive was “made?” Did you know today’s most visited city is Dubai or that by 2025 over 40 cities will have populations of more than 10 million people? That China has only one aircraft carrier but maintains the world’s largest merchant marine fleet? That Canada’s water may be more valuable than oil in the 21st century? Khanna’s arguments range from a stout defense of the notion of “global citizens” to the futility of freezing today’s political map, the virtues of reciprocity over protectionism, and the degree of foreign investment between two nations as the strongest predictor of stable relations.

A consistently interesting, almost wholly persuasive vision of a future in which flow prevails over friction, where globalization’s new “scale, depth, and intensity” reshape the map we thought we knew.

Pub Date: April 19, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-8129-8855-0

Page Count: 512

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2016

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A Churchill-ian view of native history—Ward, that is, not Winston—its facts filtered through a dense screen of ideology.

AN INDIGENOUS PEOPLES' HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES

Custer died for your sins. And so, this book would seem to suggest, did every other native victim of colonialism.

Inducing guilt in non-native readers would seem to be the guiding idea behind Dunbar-Ortiz’s (Emerita, Ethnic Studies/California State Univ., Hayward; Blood on the Border: A Memoir of the Contra War, 2005, etc.) survey, which is hardly a new strategy. Indeed, the author says little that hasn’t been said before, but she packs a trove of ideological assumptions into nearly every page. For one thing, while “Indian” isn’t bad, since “[i]ndigenous individuals and peoples in North America on the whole do not consider ‘Indian’ a slur,” “American” is due to the fact that it’s “blatantly imperialistic.” Just so, indigenous peoples were overwhelmed by a “colonialist settler-state” (the very language broadly applied to Israelis vis-à-vis the Palestinians today) and then “displaced to fragmented reservations and economically decimated”—after, that is, having been forced to live in “concentration camps.” Were he around today, Vine Deloria Jr., the always-indignant champion of bias-puncturing in defense of native history, would disavow such tidily packaged, ready-made, reflexive language. As it is, the readers who are likely to come to this book—undergraduates, mostly, in survey courses—probably won’t question Dunbar-Ortiz’s inaccurate assertion that the military phrase “in country” derives from the military phrase “Indian country” or her insistence that all Spanish people in the New World were “gold-obsessed.” Furthermore, most readers won’t likely know that some Ancestral Pueblo (for whom Dunbar-Ortiz uses the long-abandoned term “Anasazi”) sites show evidence of cannibalism and torture, which in turn points to the inconvenient fact that North America wasn’t entirely an Eden before the arrival of Europe.

A Churchill-ian view of native history—Ward, that is, not Winston—its facts filtered through a dense screen of ideology.

Pub Date: Sept. 16, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-8070-0040-3

Page Count: 296

Publisher: Beacon Press

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2014

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Occasionally wonky but overall a good case for how the dismal science can make the world less—well, dismal.

GOOD ECONOMICS FOR HARD TIMES

“Quality of life means more than just consumption”: Two MIT economists urge that a smarter, more politically aware economics be brought to bear on social issues.

It’s no secret, write Banerjee and Duflo (co-authors: Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of the Way To Fight Global Poverty, 2011), that “we seem to have fallen on hard times.” Immigration, trade, inequality, and taxation problems present themselves daily, and they seem to be intractable. Economics can be put to use in figuring out these big-issue questions. Data can be adduced, for example, to answer the question of whether immigration tends to suppress wages. The answer: “There is no evidence low-skilled migration to rich countries drives wage and employment down for the natives.” In fact, it opens up opportunities for those natives by freeing them to look for better work. The problem becomes thornier when it comes to the matter of free trade; as the authors observe, “left-behind people live in left-behind places,” which explains why regional poverty descended on Appalachia when so many manufacturing jobs left for China in the age of globalism, leaving behind not just left-behind people but also people ripe for exploitation by nationalist politicians. The authors add, interestingly, that the same thing occurred in parts of Germany, Spain, and Norway that fell victim to the “China shock.” In what they call a “slightly technical aside,” they build a case for addressing trade issues not with trade wars but with consumption taxes: “It makes no sense to ask agricultural workers to lose their jobs just so steelworkers can keep theirs, which is what tariffs accomplish.” Policymakers might want to consider such counsel, especially when it is coupled with the observation that free trade benefits workers in poor countries but punishes workers in rich ones.

Occasionally wonky but overall a good case for how the dismal science can make the world less—well, dismal.

Pub Date: Nov. 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-61039-950-0

Page Count: 432

Publisher: PublicAffairs

Review Posted Online: Aug. 29, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2019

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