The Battle to Save the World’s Most Successful Political Idea
Author: Bill Emmott
Publisher: Profile Books
Category: Political Science
When faced with global instability and economic uncertainty, it is tempting for states to react by closing borders, hoarding wealth and solidifying power. We have seen it at various times in Japan, France and Italy and now it is infecting much of Europe and America, as the vote for Brexit in the UK has vividly shown. This insularity, together with increased inequality of income and wealth, threatens the future role of the West as a font of stability, prosperity and security. Part of the problem is that the principles of liberal democracy upon which the success of the West has been built have been suborned, with special interest groups such as bankers accruing too much power and too great a share of the economic cake. So how is this threat to be countered? States such as Sweden in the 1990s, California at different times or Britain under Thatcher all halted stagnation by clearing away the powers of interest groups and restoring their societies' ability to evolve. To survive, the West needs to be porous, open and flexible. From reinventing welfare systems to redefining the working age, from reimagining education to embracing automation, Emmott lays out the changes the West must make to revive itself in the moment and avoid a deathly rigid future.
In this perfect match of author and subject, Pulitzer Prize-winner Samantha Power tackles the life of Sergio Vieira de Mello, whose work for the U.N. before his 2003 death in Iraq was emblematic of moral struggle on the global stage. Power has drawn on a staggering breadth of research (including 400 interviews) to show us a heroic figure and the conflicts he waded into, from Cambodia's Khmer Rouge to the slaughter in Bosnia to the war-torn Middle East. The result is a peerless portrait of humanity and pragmatism, as well as a history of our convulsive age.
Modern societies currently lack positive alternative visions of the future. Many writers have claimed that the only option is a return to free-market capitalism, in which success and survival depend on being as competitive as possible whether as a nation, firm or individual.; Paul Hirst argues that there are viable alternative futures and widely applicable models that can be used to structure change. Hirst's distinctive approach to political theory reasons from real political problems rather than confining itself to abstract concepts.; Presenting an innovative political position, this collection of essays represents an attempt to re- state a practical third way between the discredited ideals of state socialism and laissez-faire capitalism.
In the eleventh century, a vast Christian army, summoned to holy war by the pope, rampaged through the Muslim world of the eastern Mediterranean, seizing possession of Jerusalem, a city revered by both faiths. Over the two hundred years that followed this First Crusade, Islam and the West fought for dominion of the Holy Land, clashing in a succession of chillingly brutal wars, both firm in the belief that they were at God's work. For the first time, this book tells the story of this epic struggle from the perspective of both Christians and Muslims, reconstructing the experiences and attitudes of those on either side of the conflict. Mixing pulsing narrative and piercing insight, it exposes the full horror, passion and barbaric grandeur of the crusading era. One of the world's foremost authorities on the subject, Thomas Asbridge offers a vivid and penetrating history of the crusades, setting a new standard for modern scholarship. Drawing upon painstaking original research and an intimate knowledge of the Near East, he uncovers what drove Muslims and Christians alike to embrace the ideals of jihad and crusade, revealing how these holy wars reshaped the medieval world and why they continue to echo in human memory to this day.
If the study of politics is to be rewarding both intellectually and practically it must. by definition. concern itself with the great issues which arise in the real world and with the fundamental arguments which occur about their nature and the possible solutions to them. Abstract political philosophy which is not informed by the experi ence of practice will become sterile. A study of constitutions and the machinery of government can become dry-as-dust and hence boring unless the underlying principles are analysed and grasped. But theo ries of political change divorced from an understanding of consti tutions and institutions will degenerate into mere phrase-mongering. Attempts to apply the techniques of the natural sciences to politics will lead to model building for its own sake and thence to arid and barren intellectualism unless it is understood that it is impossible to quantify the intangible. Indeed. anyone-sided approach to politics and consequent failure to grasp the essential wholeness of the sub ject is bound to end in disaster. The study of politics is a study of changing human relationships in dynamic societies. Thus it involves. since the present and hence the future are shaped in part by the past. an appreciation of history.