- € 2,49
The twenty-first century has seen a rise in the global middle class that brings an unprecedented convergence of interests and perceptions, cultures and values. Kishore Mahbubani is optimistic. We are creating a new global civilization. Eighty-eight percent of the world's population outside the West is rising to Western living standards, and sharing Western aspirations. Yet Mahbubani, one of the most perceptive global commentators, also warns that a new global order needs new policies and attitudes.
Policymakers all over the world must change their preconceptions and accept that we live in one world. National interests must be balanced with global interests. Power must be shared. The U.S. and Europe must cede some power. China and India, Africa and the Islamic world must be integrated. Mahbubani urges that only through these actions can we create a world that converges benignly. This timely book explains how to move forward and confront many pressing global challenges.
The world is coming together with a reconfiguration of power that the West should accommodate, according to this optimistic but unfocused overview of international relations. Mahbubani (The New Asian Hemisphere), Singapore's former U.N. ambassador, surveys hopeful statistics on global peace and prosperity, showing that wars are growing less frequent while poverty worldwide is declining and trade, education, tourism, and the middle class are swelling. That "new global civilization," he contends, creates new problems: global warming; alienation in the Muslim world; anxieties over China's influence; most of all, the West's continuing disproportionate power over international institutions and failure to adjust self-interested policies he's especially critical of American food aid and monetary policy to global needs. The author's calls for a "Theory of One World" and a "global ethic" are nebulous (we need a treaty on the atmosphere, he argues, because "without oxygen we are doomed"); his specific proposals are rather U.N.-centered, including calls to hike Western funding of U.N. programs and open the Security Council to rising powers in the developing world. Mahbubani's interpretation of shifting global realities is canny and cogent, though hardly original, but his ideas for reform are too vague or small-bore to have much impact.