We all know the bad news. Our economies are stagnant. Wages are flat and income inequality keeps rising. The Middle East is burning and extremism is spreading. Frightened voters are embracing populist outsiders and angry nationalists. And no wonder: we are living in an age of unprecedented, irreversible decline—or so we’re constantly being told.
Jonathan Tepperman’s The Fix presents a very different picture. It identifies ten pervasive and seemingly impossible challenges—including immigration reform, economic stagnation, political gridlock, corruption, and Islamist extremism—and shows that, contrary to the general consensus, each has a solution, and not merely a hypothetical one. By taking a close look at overlooked success stories—from countries as diverse as Canada, Botswana, and Indonesia—Tepperman discovers practical advice for problem-solvers of all stripes, making a data-driven case for optimism in a time of crushing pessimism.
Tepperman, managing editor of Foreign Affairs, examines global problem solving in this survey of how 10 countries and their respective leaders addressed concerns such as Islamic fundamentalism, inequality, and political corruption. His survey is global, providing an in-depth look at such controversial figures as Paul Kagame of Rwanda, Harry Lee of Singapore, and Enrique Pe a Nieto of Mexico. He tells the story of how Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau in Canada devised an immigration policy that "abandoned ethnicity" in favor of "educational, professional, and technical qualifications." He explains how Brazil's President Luiz In cio Lula da Silva's welfare program "Bolsa Fam lia" (Family Grant) curbed inequality by providing cash assistance to its recipients. In the United States, he looks at how the fracking industry was developed under President Gerald Ford's leadership, and how former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg tackled post-9/11 security issues. He concludes that the world's leaders will only solve the biggest problems by putting party alliances and ideology aside. The book is an enjoyable read, even for those less informed about foreign policy. Tepperman's attempt to provide solutions rather than mere analysis of the problems is noble, even if many readers will disagree with the solutions he puts forward.