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Welcome to the WhoWhatWhy Podcast.

May 11, 2018

Globalization has created a true global middle class, brought millions out of poverty, reduced the price of goods, and created remarkable economic benefits. As an economic system, it has worked exactly as promised. On the other hand, globalism, as a political idea, has been a dismal failure. This is according to Eurasian Group CEO and global analyst Ian Bremmer.

In his conversation with WhoWhatWhy’s Jeff Schechtman about what connects so many of the global problems we face today, Bremmer makes the case that democracy, plus technology, plus political globalism simply can't work. The West’s existing institutions cannot cope with huge amounts of wealth concentration, technology, big data, and artificial intelligence. According to Bremmer we need look no further than Trump, Brexit, and recent European elections for proof.  

As counterexamples, he cites Japan and Israel. Each has, in different ways, walled itself off, maintained homogeneity, and either rejected or blocked immigrants. As a result, each has been far more successful than Western democracies in negotiating the perils of the global age. Japan, he points out, made a conscious decision to trade slower growth for more “us” and no “them.”

Adding to the global unease is the rise of China. An authoritarian capitalist state, China is thriving in the global age — so much so that its leaders are offering its economic success as a model to the world. Bremmer notes that with all these challenges, the US could not have picked a worse time to precipitate an “America First” crisis of confidence.

Ian Bremmer is the author of Us vs. Them: The Failure of Globalization (Penguin Audio, April 24, 2018);  Superpower: Three Choices for America’s Role in the World (Penguin Audio,  May 19, 2015); Every Nation for Itself: Winners and Losers in a G-Zero World (Co-authored with Willis Sparks) (Gildan Media, LLC, May 1, 2012).

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