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Descripción de la editorial
This look at the crisis facing the United States “explores the gaping disconnect between elite optimism and popular bewilderment, anger, and despair” (Foreign Affairs).
“Gentlemen, we have run out of money. It is time to start thinking.” —Sir Ernest Rutherford
In a book destined to spark debate among both liberals and conservatives, journalist Edward Luce advances a carefully constructed argument, backed up by interviews with key players in politics and business, that America is losing its pragmatism—and that the consequences of this may soon leave the country high and dry. Addressing the changing structure of the US economy; political polarization; the debilitating effect of the “permanent election campaign”; and problems in education and business innovation, Time to Start Thinking takes a hard look at America’s dwindling options in a world where the pace is increasingly being set elsewhere.
“A brilliant reporter who has spoken to everyone: CEOs and members of the cabinet, lobbyists and small town mayors, recent MBAs and unemployed teachers. In his acutely observed, often witty, and very humane portraits, he succeeds in converting the abstractions of economics and bringing them to life.” —Liaquat Ahamed, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Lords of Finance
“Americans need friends who will tell us what we need to hear and how to think about the troubles, many of our own making, that threaten our democracy, prosperity, and leadership in the world. We’ve got just such a friend in Ed Luce. He’s a foreign observer who has not just traveled widely in the United States but listened carefully to a wide array of our citizens.” —Strobe Talbott, president, The Brookings Institution
“In a tradition stretching back to de Tocqueville, sympathetic foreigners are often the keenest observers of American life. Edward Luce is one such person. He paints a highly disturbing picture of the state of American society, and of the total failure of American elites to come to grips with the real problems facing the country. It rises far above the current political rhetoric by its measured reliance on facts.” —Francis Fukuyama, author of Identity
Less a call to arms than a call to thought, this sharply written analysis by Financial Times columnist Luce (In Spite of the Gods) presents a sobering account of the U.S. in decline. Utilizing statistics, polls, studies, and scores of interviews conducted with cultural, political, and economic luminaries (including Dean Kamen, Bill Gates, Adm. Mike Mullen, and Timothy Geithner), Luce diagnoses factors behind the country's waning global leadership, devoting a chapter each to the most dire problems: the shrinking middle class; an ineffective and flawed educational system; the stagnation of innovation in business and technology; a bloated and inefficient bureaucracy; the virulent polarization of national politics; and the damage caused by the influence of money in politics, along with endless campaigning. In the end, Luce assesses the prospects for change and offers a bleak outlook: the perfect storm of economic catastrophe and political paralysis leads him to conclude: "America is losing its ability to tackle problems." Though he emphasizes the increasing gap between conservative rhetoric and reality, Luce doles out blame to both sides; indeed, particularly damning is his chapter on how moneyed interests have polluted Obama's agenda. Despite ample doom and gloom, Luce's analysis is sound, and his data irrefutable required reading for pessimists and pious optimists alike.