Zakaria Quote Of The Day

Despite a seventy-year long decline in its relative economic place, London played its weakening hand with impressive political skill. Its history offers some important lessons for the United States.


Comments (Archived):

  1. bfernald

    Where did this come from? And, what was the context?

    1. gregorylent

      except for the last sentence, it could have come from the fabulous trilogy by neal stephenson, about london at the time when alchemy was becoming chemistry, calculus was being invented, and the original scientists were doing some pretty gruesome experiments on dogs, themselves, and whatever they could find that could be looked at with an enquiring mind suddenly able to be objective. and religious wars, oh my gosh… london has been wild for a long time, with lots of declines and rebirths

    2. fredwilson

      i’ve been quoting from Fareed Zakaria’s excellent The Post American World on this blog all week. this is from the chapter where he talks about what the US’ response should be to our relative weakening in the global political and economic system.

      1. bfernald


  2. Solomon Hykes

    Foreign Affairs had a very cool article along the same lines a month or two ago.It made the argument that bad economics, not bad politics, were the root cause of the British empire’s decline. It also insisted that the American economy today is not even close to the kind of decline London went through in the late 19th century.

    1. Solomon Hykes

      Nevermind… I found the article, guess who wrote it? :)

  3. Liz

    It’s amazing when you think of how large the British Empire was, how they were able to deal with going from having an empire that covered the world to being another just another country. I think the immediate post-WWII years through the 1960s were difficult for them, financially and psychologically, but the U.S. could learn a lesson from their resilience. The UK definitely has its social problems but when you think of what they’ve gone through over the past 60 years, it’s a pretty amazing story.

  4. Martin Owen

    It is right that Britain ceased to have an Empire. What right had we to steal the wealth and labour of other peoples? The economic shock of giving up Empire explains a lot. Having an empire can make you less efficient. It allowed our wealthy people to have an anti-industrial attitude. Corelli Barnet, the historian will really repay reading (eg The Audit of War,)Learning to be post-imperial is as hard as being post colonial. I have just had a very humbling week working with educators from all over Africa developing ways in which we can use Africa’s 340 million mobile(cell) phones for education. European or north American solutions do not work in that context. They were very eloquent in describing their own context. We need to learn together.

  5. Antman

    Love the quote, I wonder how our (Americas) over inflated sense of self will impede our ability to even accept our declining place in the worlds economy.I can imagine the response any politician would get if they even hinted we weren’t the center of the world anymore.Just don’t think the country will ever be ready to hear such a message.

    1. fredwilson

      Well there’s a photo of obama holding zakaria’s book. So he’s read it and maybe he agrees with it. Clearly he can’t run on this thesis but maybe it can impact how he governs

      1. Antman

        So now that ya girl Hilary is out, do I sense that ya fallin’ in behind Obama? I recall an earlier post (the lessons of Rev Wright). Is he still the Devil ya don’t know? Are ya doin’ more than rootin’ for him or are ya still wishin’ Hillary was the nominee?

        1. fredwilson

          No point in wishing for something that isn’t going to happen. I am fully behind Obama now. He was tested pretty well by the primary process and I think he showed that he can take a punch