Sunday, 26 November 2017

Book review: The end of the liberal order? Niall Ferguson and Fareed Zakaria, 2017

Two intellectual heavyweights debating whether liberal international order is on the wane. Ferguson argues it has been for about a century, whereas Zakaria argues it's still going strong and worth fighting for. At times the question seems academic: while Ferguson argues that globalisation has increased inequality, he doesn't dispute Zakaria's point that it has lifted hundreds of millions of people out of poverty - which made me think: if something's working, does it matter what?

But actually, it's important for deciding where we should direct our efforts and resources to further global peace and prosperity: into things like the UN and EU, or into beneficent, cooperative nation states.

It's an interesting debate, but the downside of a debate is that it doesn't come to a tidy conclusion like a typical book, but rather leaves the audience or reader to decide which argument won out. Yet with a typical book you can choose to disagree, whereas here I was left agreeing and disagreeing with both debaters on certain points, and essentially just wanting more.

But still, a decent way to spend two hours.

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