(NWO) 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.
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.
Mahbubani Speaks on Global Challenges and a New World Order
In his talk, Mahbubani set out to answer three thematic questions: Why is there more optimism in Asia? What are the challenges to be faced? What are some remarkably easy
prescriptions for success?
Mahbubani started with what he described as the “good news,” several reasons why the world is better off than ever before. His first example was that the likelihood of a new major war was at its lowest point in history, and the number of people being killed in wars is at its lowest since statistics have been kept. “From the dawn of history, society has been concerned with war and peace. Today wars are a sunset industry,” he said. “Southeast Asia was once described as the Balkans of Asia, and now it’s at peace.”
Another reason for optimism is that global poverty is declining. The Millennium Development Goals (MDG) sought to halve global poverty by 2015; this goal will be met and exceeded by the end of 2013. The success of China and India alone has lifted 600 million people out of poverty. Today in Asia, 600 million people enjoy middle class standards of living, and by 2020 this figure will be 1.75 billion. This constitutes a 350% increase over 7 years. “This is the most remarkable transformation in human history, and part of the great convergence,” he said. “The reason for this convergence is that in all parts of the world people are coming to a common understanding of what it takes to build a good society.”
An audience member then asked, given the thesis in Acemoglu and Robinson’s Why Nations Fail that inclusive political institutions lead to inclusive economic institutions, how Mahbubani could explain the success of Singapore and China. Mahbubani responded that it was a Western project to spread education, science and technology around the world, and China has succeeded because of its ability to use state power
to incorporate these key elements.
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