Great Convergence: Asia, the West, and the Logic of One World Hardcover – 5 Feb 2013
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"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."
"A sweeping survey that proves to be...a counterweight to global gloom and doom. Mr. Mahbubani is a big-picture writer and thinker, a Thomas Friedman with a strong Asian perspective." -The Wall Street Journal --This text refers to the Paperback edition.See all Product description
Top customer reviews
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!
It is written by a diplomat turned academic globalist from an Asian perspective. Clearly written, well structured and supported by evidence and experience it discusses how we got to where we are today, the challenges to overcome for the convergence to progress, and some prescriptions as to how to oil its wheels.
I don’t share the view of some that this book is anti-Western. Mahbubani’s examples simply show that Western powers have largely acted to protect their own interests, as nations tend to. He does make a valid point that as power shifts eastwards, Western powers need to re-evaluate their attitudes to global governance as it becomes more valuable to them as their relative power declines.
His main criticism of America is that Americans believe that they are responsible for most of the good things that have happened in the world over the last 50 years or so. This observation conceals the book’s primary weakness. It is a book by a member of the global elite, for other members of the global elite, mostly about the global elite. Its conceit is that it argues that most of the good things that have happened in the world over the last 50 years or so have been achieved by the global elite. It is therefore guilty of the same conceit it levels at the US - a conceit that blinkers the book in too many ways.
The global elite didn’t create the Internet. They didn’t open factories in China or Vietnam, or establish e-finance in Africa. Nor will they complete the great convergence. Ordinary people will do this, responding to opportunities and trends created by other ordinary people. The global elite may help, but are also hitchhikers. So it’s a little disappointing that Mahbubani’s great idea for the future of the world is a restructuring of the permanent membership of the United Nations Security Council. Ironically, given how effectively Mahbubani exposes the inherent ineffectiveness of and corruption within the UN and international aid initiatives, if you believed that progress depended on these global elite organisations, you would be drawn to pessimism. Restructuring the security council won’t stop its permanent members looking out for themselves.
This obsession with elites leads to massive oversights in the book's analysis of the challenges of globalisation. Here’s one example. Globalisation leads (and will continue to lead) to economic convergence between nations but also leads to economic divergence within nations. This resulting inequality means that not everyone is a winner, and the losers (the less well-off in traditionally rich countries) have democratic power. Writing at the end of 2016 after the US election and Brexit vote the impact of this power on globalisation is very evident but it was clearly visible in 2013 when Mahbubani was penning this book. Alas, it was not visible to Mahbubani – this massive global tension is never even mentioned – it’s not about elites.
And so I can’t agree that this book is visionary. It is written from within an elite bubble – looking inwards. Interesting, intelligent yes, but largely irrelevant and already dated. I share its optimism, and learned from some of its insights, but (as a reader) feel mostly let down.
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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