Monday, June 12, 2017

Grave New World (Stephen D. King)

Stephen D. King’s Grave New World is a thorough discussion of the current global world, divided not as much between conservative and liberal thinking as between globalization and nationalism. The book tackles much of the current state of affairs in Britain with Brexit, America with the current political environment, and elsewhere around the world, neatly packaging a short history of how we got to where we are.

From there, the picture muddles.  While King’s book offers an excellent summary explaining why the world is in its current political state, there is not much concrete substance to promote sound solutions to appease either side of the debate, offering some arguments for continuing international partnerships like NATO and the UN but not more suggestions on how to strengthen those partnerships or how to adapt those that exist to fit a world that is evolving fast.  The instances where he does go into some level of substance on tackling the problems can come across a bit wonky, and King spends a fair amount of time challenging those who are against NATO, the UN, etc. to come up with reasons why nationalism makes sense given the challenges that are on the horizon politically in Russia and China.  He also challenges the global community to sell the deal better but doesn’t offer much in solutions on how to get those who have been burned by automation and free trade back on track.

If you’re into economics, history, and/or politics, and can approach those topics from a non-biased perspective, King provides a great backdrop on how we’ve arrived at the current place we're in and makes a broad argument for global partnerships based on history, economic impact, and overall prosperity that globalization has brought the world through time. The suggestions to improve our partnerships domestically and abroad, however, come up a bit light in my eyes, and it prevents a good read from being a great one