The twenty-first century has seen a rise in the global middle class that brings an unprecedented convergence of interests and perceptions, cultures and values. Kishore Mahbubani is optimistic. We are creating a new global civilization. Eighty-eight percent of the world’s population outside the West is rising to Western living standards, and sharing Western aspirations. Yet Mahbubani, one of the most perceptive global commentators, also warns that a new global order needs new policies and attitudes.
Policymakers all over the world must change their preconceptions and accept that we live in one world. National interests must be balanced with global interests. Power must be shared. The U.S. and Europe must cede some power. China and India, Africa and the Islamic world must be integrated. Mahbubani urges that only through these actions can we create a world that converges benignly. This timely book explains how to move forward and confront many pressing global challenges.
“Charles Dickens famously wrote that it was the best of times and the worst of times. Many in the West today believe these are the worst of times. Yet, in many ways, these are the best of times for the West and the Rest.
Global poverty is disappearing. The global middle class is booming. Inter-state wars have become a sunset industry. Never has so large a percentage of the world’s population been as well-educated and well-travelled as it is today. We are becoming more integrated and interconnected. The potential for a peaceful new global civilization is evolving before our eyes almost unnoticed.
Yet challenges remain. Seven major geopolitical fault lines have to be resolved. Institutions of global governance need serious reform. The IMF and the World Bank cannot remain in western pockets. The UN Security Council must reflect contemporary great power configurations. The world order has to be reconstructed. And it can be done.
Kishore Mahbubani’s book could not be more timely. He masterfully describes how our world has seen more positive change in the past 30 years than the past 300 years. By prescribing brilliant and pragmatic solutions for improving our global order – including a 7-7-7 formula that can finally break the logjam in the UN Security Council – Mahbubani maps a road away from the geopolitical contours of the nineteenth century that have shackled us, and identifies the defining condition of our era: the great convergence.”