The world’s largest continent stretches from Japan and Indonesia across central Asia to the Arab world. It is the spiritual focus of such great religions as Islam, Buddhism, Confucianism and Hinduism and home to nearly 60 percent of the earth’s population. Asia’s economies are poised to surpass those of Europe and North America within the next fifty years, and yet Westerners have done little to adjust their attitudes in light of present-day realities. In order to avoid a “clash of civilizations,” Mahbubani believes that a great deal of self-reflection will be required by all concerned. His analysis of the past and his predictions for the future are a wake-up call to Asians and Westerners alike.
Read a Salon.com interview with the author about this book.
Selected for Young Presidents’ Organization Fellows Book List on Amazon.com.
Reviews of this book
“If you are looking for insight into how others perceive us – and the events of September 11 underscore that need – then I know of no better guide than Kishore Mahbubani. His collection of lively essays will both inform and challenge your thinking.” — Paul A. Volcker
“Mahbubani writes with a diplomat’s charm, gleefully untangling political knots into simple threads. This book has a special force because it comes from a man who is a prototype 21st century leader…” — Joshua Cooper Ramo, Time Magazine
“Kishore Mahbubani’s essays have always been among the most thoughtful and provocative distillations. They are invaluable in considering foreign policy, relations among civilizations and the panoply of issues called Asian values. In prose both sinewy and attractive, he has the great facility of making ideas come to life and setting them against each other as actors in an intellectual drama. Simply essential reading.” — Greg Sheridan, foreign editor, The Australian
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.”