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4.0 out of 5 stars
Great Convergence: Asia, the West, and the Logic of One World
Format: Hardcover|Change
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on 16 September 2017
Thought provoking backed up with research and economic evidence
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on 6 December 2013
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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on 10 March 2013
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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on 13 December 2016
Ostensibly, the message of this book is that the world is converging. The force of globalisation is slowly eroding national differences and national agendas. It is unstoppable and will make the world a better place. We should be optimistic for the future without being complacent.

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.
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on 17 March 2013
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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