The Post American World

Fareed Zakaria, Editor, Newsweek International...

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I finished Fareed Zakaria’s The Post American World the other day. Which means the Zakaria quotes of the day are history. Hopefully you all enjoyed them. If you did, you should really pickup the book and read it.

It’s one of those books that doesn’t really tell you anything you don’t already know. It’s the synthesis of all the information, the analysis, and the conclusions that are valuable.

Here are my big take aways from the book:

1) The next 10-20 years will witness the rise of much of the rest of the world, specifically China, India, Brazil, Russia and smaller but important developing countries like Turkey and South Africa. By 2025, China will be the second most important country in the world and India may well be third.

2) Western and Eastern cultures will be combined in many ways. China will be westernized and modernized, but in its own Chinese way. Same with India and every other important eastern culture. And modernization is not westernization, although they are related developments.

3) Many developing countries will not move immediately from totalitarian regimes to democracies, in fact most will move to a middle ground, much like what exists in China today. There are benefits to centrally planned economies. When China wants to knock down a town and build a city, it does it. There is a lot of power in China’s model and many will emulate it given its success.

4) Eventually, developing countries and the developed world will move to democracy, but it won’t happen quickly and it won’t always happen easily. This includes China.

5) America is likely to remain the biggest economy and the most powerful country in the world for some time to come, but it will continue to lose power on a relative basis. And it will need to adopt new tactics and strategies to ensure it’s economy and national security remain intact. It cannot continue to go it alone. That strategy, the Bush doctrine, has failed badly and given America’s weakening hand, it should be put to rest for good.

6) America is still supreme in three important, possibly the most important, areas; higher education, diversity and demographics, and creativity and ideas. These three pillars are interrelated and depend entirely on each other. Lose one and you’ll eventually lose them all.

That last point rings very true to me and probably to most readers of this blog. We are a nation of immigrants who value risk taking, capitalism, and innovation. We have developed the greatest higher education system in the world which attracts the best and brightest to our country. Our economic system keeps these best and brightest here in their most productive years bringing new ideas, products, services, companies, jobs, and wealth to our country. As Zakaria says, in what will be the last quote of the day;

Half of all Silicon Valley startups have one founder who is an immigrant or first-generation American. America’s potential new burst of productivity, … its ability to invent the future – all rest on immigration policies.

This photo got me to read this book. I hope every senator, congressman, staffer, and certainly anyone who wants to govern our country reads it.

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