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THE END OF THE WORLD IS JUST THE BEGINNING

MAPPING THE COLLAPSE OF GLOBALIZATION

The book has entertainment value, but some of the material should be taken with many grains of salt.

Geopolitical strategist Zeihan argues that we are heading toward a period of deglobalization, with ensuing chaos and disaster.

The author believes that the period between 1980 and 2015 was an aberration in human history: an era of plenty, reliability, and relative stability. Going forward from 2022, he writes, everything is going to become more expensive and more difficult to obtain. He traces part of the problem to demographic struggles, as rapidly aging populations are leading to significant decreases in viable labor forces. Another issue is the withdrawal of American leadership on the global state, including the protection of the vital sea lanes that made globalization possible. The most recognizable element is climate change, undermining food production in key parts of the world. Zeihan predicts that nations will increasingly resort to aggressive tactics to ensure their own security, with the emergence of regional blocs dominated by the player with the biggest guns. Countries that depend on trade will find it tough going. The U.S. is in the best position due to its natural resources, agricultural capacity, industrial base, and inherent adaptability. However, notes the author, radical reform and increased costs are inevitable. Zeihan is enthusiastic in his writing, and he covers a great deal of territory, some of it in superficial or questionable fashion. Are countries really going to develop their own pirate fleets to seize supply ships? Will the U.S. establish a quasi-empire of the Americas, using food as a weapon of intimidation? Is China facing collapse within a decade? Predictions of world-ending resource depletion and geopolitical disaster have been made before—and often. The Club of Rome and Paul Ehrlich were saying it in the 1970s, and their fears turned out to be misplaced. Humans face significant obstacles, but that has been the case for centuries. The climate crisis, however, has never been more urgent. Zeihan captures that sense, at least, but his cynicism was more palatable in Disunited Nations.

The book has entertainment value, but some of the material should be taken with many grains of salt.

Pub Date: June 14, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-063-23047-7

Page Count: 512

Publisher: Harper Business

Review Posted Online: March 14, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2022

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BEYOND THE GENDER BINARY

From the Pocket Change Collective series

A fierce, penetrating, and empowering call for change.

Artist and activist Vaid-Menon demonstrates how the normativity of the gender binary represses creativity and inflicts physical and emotional violence.

The author, whose parents emigrated from India, writes about how enforcement of the gender binary begins before birth and affects people in all stages of life, with people of color being especially vulnerable due to Western conceptions of gender as binary. Gender assignments create a narrative for how a person should behave, what they are allowed to like or wear, and how they express themself. Punishment of nonconformity leads to an inseparable link between gender and shame. Vaid-Menon challenges familiar arguments against gender nonconformity, breaking them down into four categories—dismissal, inconvenience, biology, and the slippery slope (fear of the consequences of acceptance). Headers in bold font create an accessible navigation experience from one analysis to the next. The prose maintains a conversational tone that feels as intimate and vulnerable as talking with a best friend. At the same time, the author's turns of phrase in moments of deep insight ring with precision and poetry. In one reflection, they write, “the most lethal part of the human body is not the fist; it is the eye. What people see and how people see it has everything to do with power.” While this short essay speaks honestly of pain and injustice, it concludes with encouragement and an invitation into a future that celebrates transformation.

A fierce, penetrating, and empowering call for change. (writing prompt) (Nonfiction. 14-adult)

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-09465-5

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Penguin Workshop

Review Posted Online: March 14, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020

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POVERTY, BY AMERICA

A clearly delineated guide to finally eradicate poverty in America.

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A thoughtful program for eradicating poverty from the Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Evicted.

“America’s poverty is not for lack of resources,” writes Desmond. “We lack something else.” That something else is compassion, in part, but it’s also the lack of a social system that insists that everyone pull their weight—and that includes the corporations and wealthy individuals who, the IRS estimates, get away without paying upward of $1 trillion per year. Desmond, who grew up in modest circumstances and suffered poverty in young adulthood, points to the deleterious effects of being poor—among countless others, the precarity of health care and housing (with no meaningful controls on rent), lack of transportation, the constant threat of losing one’s job due to illness, and the need to care for dependent children. It does not help, Desmond adds, that so few working people are represented by unions or that Black Americans, even those who have followed the “three rules” (graduate from high school, get a full-time job, wait until marriage to have children), are far likelier to be poor than their White compatriots. Furthermore, so many full-time jobs are being recast as contracted, fire-at-will gigs, “not a break from the norm as much as an extension of it, a continuation of corporations finding new ways to limit their obligations to workers.” By Desmond’s reckoning, besides amending these conditions, it would not take a miracle to eliminate poverty: about $177 billion, which would help end hunger and homelessness and “make immense headway in driving down the many agonizing correlates of poverty, like violence, sickness, and despair.” These are matters requiring systemic reform, which will in turn require Americans to elect officials who will enact that reform. And all of us, the author urges, must become “poverty abolitionists…refusing to live as unwitting enemies of the poor.” Fortune 500 CEOs won’t like Desmond’s message for rewriting the social contract—which is precisely the point.

A clearly delineated guide to finally eradicate poverty in America.

Pub Date: March 21, 2023

ISBN: 9780593239919

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 30, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2023

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