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The Great Convergence: Asia, the West, and the Logic of One World by [Mahbubani, Kishore]
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The Great Convergence: Asia, the West, and the Logic of One World Kindle Edition

4.0 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Review

Fareed Zakaria, author of The Post-American World "Kishore Mahbubani has done it again. He has written a book that is provocative, engaging, and always intelligent. He brings a crucial perspective to bear on global affairs, rooted in the rise of Asia but with an understanding of Europe and America as well. Rudyard Kipling said, 'East is East and West is West and never the twain shall meet.' But they do in this book." Kofi Annan, former UN Secretary-General "In exploring the tensions that arise as our global community draws ever closer together, Kishore Mahbubani provides a compelling reminder that humanity is strongest when we work together for the benefit of all." Nouriel Roubini, Professor of Economics at New York University's Stern School of Business and Co-founder and Chairman of Roubini Global Economics "While I remain pessimistic for the global economy in the near-term, I share Kishore Mahbubani's long-term optimism for our world, including the emerging powers like China and India. The world order must now reinvent itself to accommodate these powers. Mahbubani's timely and brilliant book explains well both the challenges to our global order and the wise solutions that are at hand. We can create a better world. Mahbubani's book explains how. I strongly commend it." Lawrence H. Summers, Charles W. Eliot University Professor of Harvard University, Harvard Kennedy School "Most of the great errors in foreign policy and diplomacy come from a failure to understand the perspective of other nations. And this is a besetting problem for superpowers like the United States. That is why whether they like it or not, whether they agree or disagree, it so important that Western and especially American policymakers read this important book presenting a perspective on the global trends that is very different from their own." Joseph S. Nye, Distinguished Service Professor, Harvard University, and author of The Future of Power "Kishore Mahbubani is a thoughtful critic of the West and this book is full of provocations; some right, some wrong, but never boring. Above all, he seeks ways to reconcile the 12 per cent of the world's population who live in the West with the vast majority who do not. The result is a good and important read." Raghuram Rajan, Professor, University of Chicago Booth School "Few today know Asia as well as Kishore Mahbubani, and even fewer combine it with a deep understanding of the West's strengths and frailties. In The Great Convergence, Mahbubani offers a balanced but profoundly disturbing analysis of the political challenges that face our modern, increasingly interdependent, world. His proposals on how to fix the outdated system of global governance are both refreshingly novel and eminently practical. A truly stimulating read!" Pascal Lamy, Director-General, World Trade Organization "Thought provoking, sharp and full of wisdom as usual, this new book by Kishore Mahbubani not only offers in-depth analysis of world challenges today, but also offered fresh ideas on how to improve global order for the 21st century. A must read for those who are interested in power politics and the future of global governance." Christian Science Monitor"A world adrift desperately needs global thinkers, most of all from Asia. Kishore Mahbubani fits the bill with this signal work at this critical time." Foreign Affairs"[An] eloquent and searching portrait of today's transforming global order." Financial Times"[Mahbubani's] thesis is a welcome counterweight to the more familiar gloom of political scientists. The book is rich in insight into the hurdles and pitfalls that stand in the way of international co-operation. It takes a hard-headed look at the dynamics of China's rise: the threat of conflict with a US reinvented as a Pacific power, the dangerous tensions between China and India, and the west's troubled relationship with Islam among them. But the central argument is compelling... What is clear, though, is that west and east have still to grasp the paradox deftly illuminated by Mahbubani's call for global governance. To retain real sovereignty over their national affairs, leaders will have to share it internationally." Wall Street Journal"We all know how dismal the state of the world can often seem. We can be grateful, then, for Kishore Mahbubani's The Great Convergence, a sweeping survey that proves to be, in large measure, a counterweight to global gloom and doom. Mr. Mahbubani is a big-picture writer and thinker, a Thomas Friedman with a strong Asian perspective... [He] has good questions for Americans."

About the Author

Kishore Mahbubani is a writer, professor, and a former Singaporean diplomat who served twice as ambassador to the UN. Currently, he is the dean of the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at National University of Singapore. A prolific writer, he has published three books and numerous articles in leading global journals and newspapers, like Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, and the Financial Times. Foreign Policy listed him as one of the top 100 global thinkers in 2005, 2010, and 2011.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2328 KB
  • Print Length: 330 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1610390334
  • Publisher: PublicAffairs; First Trade Paper ed edition (5 Feb. 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00B3M3KYW
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #477,268 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Although at (some) times, it start to feel like Mr. Mahbubani start bashing on the Western world (and especially the US), he did force me to try to look at ourselves from a different perspective - and that's not always a pleasure.And no matter if you then still believe that the Western world leads in moral values, etc. - the Realpolitik is that the times of Western world domination are over and we better create a more balanced structure for international cooperation - and do it soon!
Where Mr Mahbubani starts to feel like "bashing" is for example when he discusses the P5 (permanent members of the UNSC), most wrongdoing by this group is put on the US, whereas China is a P5 member as well. Also in the bribery in the Iraqi "oil for food program", only US companies are listed as examples whereas China got a lot more oil from this program than the US. This is not mentioned as all.
All in all, a very well written and insightful book - even if you don't always agree with him, you're better off understanding this view from Asia on the world's politics!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A great read, very informative, should be on the reading list of ALL international politicians. Well argued, a somewhat right wing viewpoint one could argue, but we are where we are, at an interesting crossroad in international politics. The author really knows his subject. Highly recommended.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I can not say much about the book as I have not read it yet. I bought it for getting it signed by Kishore (who was in London for releasing his book). I enjoyed meeting the gentleman and it seems that he is knowledgeable about East Asian policy.

The packaging was slightly off, in that the front cover was folded on the top and bottom, but overall happy with AMZN's speed as always
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars 24 reviews
29 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Positive view of Globalization. 15 Feb. 2013
By Jose Ernesto Passos - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Kishore Mahbubani is very optimistic about the current trends in the world economy. The way he writes is almost euphoric.
The rhythm of his words communicates the speed of the current economic development of the big Asian countries. It sounds like advertising.

He analyses several facts like the speed of economic growth, the increase in the global middle class, specially in Asia, the reduction in war fatalities, to demonstrate his point of view. His position is to help improve the development of current institutions to keep the current momentum.

He sees a world in which governments and their leaders increasingly are adopting a common set of concepts: acceptance of modern science, logical reasoning, acceptance of free-market economics as the base of policy, transformation of the relationship of the government with its subjects (their own people) and increase in multilateral treaties/organizations to solve international problems. This adoption is causing a major change in direction for all of humanity as we are becoming more and more globalized.

It is worth reading it, not only for the ideas spoused by the author but also for the facts and stories he presents to illustrate his points. Many of the stories are a good summary of what happened in recent history.
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Could Globalization mean the end of war? 25 Mar. 2013
By Joanna Daneman - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
The author takes a new tack on the upheavals we are experiencing in the globalization of the world market and politics. Will war be a thing of the past, as nations cooperate and are trade partners rather than rivals? That is an optimistic view, but one that is possible. It doesn't deal withe wars of ideology, however, whether political or religious, or the desire to disrupt and grab power--that is not economic in nature.

The author also discusses the end to poverty. Almost anyone is bothered by the fact that a good part of the world, throughout history and even in our age, has suffered disease and starvation. This suffering is not acceptable to most people. The growth of the Asian powerhouses of China and India has indeed reduced a lot of suffering; the changes are remarkable in a single decade.

The good news; we have new markets for high tech and manufactured goods, software, and ideas. The bad news, the old economic systems that relied on a majority of people doing unskilled or semi-skilled labor means that jobs will flow to the areas with the lowest cost of labor. The development of huge cargo ships and the computerization of off-loading at docks already made importation cheaper than home manufacture. But this could change. Either wages will rise as standards of living rise, making importation less advantageous, or cost of fuel could impact on long-distance shipping.

The author also discusses how he sees integrating the Islamic world. I am not so sanguine as the author; time and again, history has shown us that an ideological regime can push its agenda against the logic of cooperation and that ideas can take hold of a society and push it to conflict.

However, I share the author's view that ultimately, a less impoverished world is a good thing. Happy people tend not to want war. If we can export our most treasured creation, American rules of contract law and government, we may have a globalized market that is fairer to all. The issue, however, I have with Mahbubani's book is the idea of global governance. How can this be representative? How can we integrate wildly-diverging philosophy? It is significant that Mahbubani comes from Singapore, a benevolent dictatorship. Yes, this is a very efficient form of government, but it depends on the goodness of the ruling class, and also the size of the area being governed (Singapore is diverse, but it is small.) Would we be better off giving up our representative form of government, for a distant and unchangeable set of super-powerful rulers, who are possibly a new aristocracy? The outcome would inevitably be rulers who rule by inheriting their jobs from family, and a large unyielding bureaucracy that would not have individual rights at the forefront. I think we can retain national identity and governments without giving up our sovereignty. Commerce with all nations, alliance with none, should be our motto.(Jefferson.)
16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The Great Convergence 19 Jun. 2013
By TDMerrittPE - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I have very mixed comments regarding this book. The author, Kishore Mahbuhani, presents some meritorious concepts for the improvement of global governance. He proposes reforming the UN Security Council to a 7 permanent member, 7 semi-permanent member and 7 temporary member configuration. The seven permanent members would consist of the US, China, Russia, European Union, India, Brazil and Nigeria. There would be seven semi-permanent members elected from 28 second tier powers. Also the WTO and IMF would need modernization. These and other concepts are certainly worthy and need further discussion and are largely presented in the first four chapters.

On the other hand, the final portion of the book becomes largely an exercise in blaming the West and in particular the US for all the global problems. The US is assigned overwhelming responsibility for rectifying those problems. He refuses to assign an equitable degree of responsibility to China and Russia. These two nations are permanent members of the UN Security Council, yet are the only members without liberal forms of government. In general they are functioning as obstacles to developing solutions to many global problems, e.g. global warming and environmental degradation. Also, they are obstacles to developing a solution to the Syrian Civil War. To my mind, they are both revanchist powers.

To my mind, there are numerous global issues to need cooperative solutions. All states must approach these problems cooperatively. That includes the US, China, Europe, Russia and India. The fact that the second half of the book is overwhelmingly devoted to criticizing the US, precludes a reasonable consideration of Mr. Mahbubani's concepts, and results in the impression that the book is basically and anti-US diatribe. To me that largely negates the meritorious concepts he has for improving global governance, and will result in the concepts being ignored.

Tom Merritt
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Global protocols and international referee. 24 Mar. 2013
By SInohey - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Anyone feeling depressed about the current state of our western culture, the economic chaos, high unemployment, dysfunctional government and political polarization should read this book for a dose of salutary optimism. Professor Mahbubani, no Pollyanna himself, is a realist of considerable experience in international politics with a mature view of the world. His book is on the impressive economical progress of Asian countries that has occurred within the past 30 years, greater and faster than it had for the last 300 years. The author credits the emphasis on education, building of infrastructure and market liberalization for such advances.

Present conditions and predictions for the future are thoughtfully presented. The enthusiasm is buttressed by sobering statistics, data and graphs, which are the result of "a great convergence" of different (sometimes opposing) cultures and technical advances. "It is truly good news that the vast majority of the world's people now have a common set of material aspirations. Once material aspirations become more important than differing ideological or religious aspirations, an overriding set of common interests will motivate the vast majority of the world's population to work together" and he goes on to emphasize the importance of universal education, "These material aspirations are matched by similarly shared educational aspirations. A hundred years ago, getting into Harvard and Yale may have represented the aspirations of elites in America. Today, getting into Harvard and Yale represents the aspirations of elites all over the world. Parents in Santiago or Singapore, Tehran or Tokyo, Beijing or Budapest, jump for joy when their child gets admitted into Yale."

The book has startling examples of progress unimaginable only a few decades ago. "While today about 500 million Asians are considered middle class; this number will mushroom to 1.75 billion in 2020. In 1990 there were 11 million mobile phone users compared to 5.5 billion today." Early childhood deaths, extreme poverty and armed conflicts are declining rapidly. The rise in international trade is exponentially opposite to the decline in interstate wars. But this progress comes with a price of increased demands for consumer goods with the inevitable rise in carbon footprint and its consequences. The author does not believe that the existing international bodies are effective in managing global changes, because the West keeps multilateral organizations weak; the United Nations, IMF, WHO, IAEC are all beholden to the superpowers that pursue only their self-interest. Mahbubani castigates the USA as a hegemon solely interested in promoting its international policy when dealing with the U.N. Many would disagree with him. He also questions whether the USA is prepared to accept being #2 superpower behind China that will catch up and pass the USA economy in less than five years. In the 1980s China was only 2% of the global economy while the USA was ten times more; the projection is China shall be 18.5% and America 17% in five years or less.

Ambassador Mahbubani appears to have a predilection for the (magical?) number 7; he mentions "Seven global contradictions" < the USA vs China competition and collaboration> and "Seven global challenges" < Industrialization vs Global warming> and proposes an idea for reforming the Security Council with three tiers of seven countries. He also suggests the formation of an international governing body as a sort of referee to adjudicate between countries and restrain superpowers "now that the USA will have to share power and China is on the rise"; a proposition that may not appeal to many patriotic Americans unwilling to subordinate our Constitution to the vagaries of potential adversaries.

The 315 pages book is easy to read, well divided into comprehensive segments, chock full of information about contemporary Asia and its future as well as its impact on the world. The absence of mention of the effect of the rising tide of militant Radical Islamism and its retrogressive influence on the Asian continent, which I believe would affect the future, left me somewhat dissatisfied.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The New world, whether we like it or not 25 April 2013
By Amy Smith - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A very thoughtful narrative of geopolitics with some history and prophesy thrown in. I am not too comfortable with the one world theory, but it may be the logical answer. It is a book that makes you think. Always a good thing.
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