“The Post-American World Release 2.0” by Fareed Zakaria

I confess…I like Fareed Zakaria.  He’s a host over at CNN, and he’s a columnist for both Time and the Washington Post.  Yup, he’s got an agenda, but for the most part I like his reasoning and his ability to see the interplay of trends and processes.

The original Post American World was written in 2008.  It was updated in 2011 to include some thoughts about the wonderful financial call-it-what-you-will that happened soon after.

It’s an interesting premise.  The 21st century is going to see a lot of changes.  Not all of them are doom and gloom.  But the positioning of the United States is going to be significantly different at the end of the century versus the beginning.  “Developing” countries such as Brazil, India, Russia and China are hardly worthy of the term “developing” any more.  And the relative importance of the US in terms of economic dominance is going to change.  Not because of trouble in the US, but because of prosperity elsewhere.

On the surface, that actually sounds pretty cool.  The free market system is…wait for it…working!  For the most part that brings stability, opportunity and relative peace.  It’s not perfect by a long shot.

But that means that the relative differences in terms of economic, social and political prominence between the US and these other prosperous countries will have to adjust.  We’re going to have to get used to not being the be-all and end-all in terms of the world.

Fareed lays the discussion out with what I think is a thoughtful discourse.  It’s actually a pretty easy read, and although it includes a lot of facts and statistics, the narrative is pretty smooth.

The one complaint is I do think he’s not considering the impact that technology will have in the next 2-3 decades.  The increase in job displacement I think will be significant, and have an impact worldwide.  But you don’t hear a lot of folks talking about that directly.

I recommend this book highly if you’re interested in a great perspective of where this world is heading.