The Fourth Revolution: The Global Race to Reinvent the State

The Fourth Revolution: The Global Race to Reinvent the State

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By (author) John Micklethwait, By (author) Adrian Wooldridge

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  • Publisher: ALLEN LANE
  • Format: Hardback | 320 pages
  • Dimensions: 162mm x 240mm x 30mm | 585g
  • Publication date: 15 May 2014
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 1846147336
  • ISBN 13: 9781846147333
  • Sales rank: 48,337

Product description

In The Fourth Revolution, John Micklethwait and Adrian Wooldridge ask: what is the state actually for? Their remarkable book describes the three great revolutions in its history, and the fourth which is happening now. In most of the states of the West, disillusion with government has become endemic. Gridlock in America; anger in much of Europe; cynicism in Britain; decreasing legitimacy everywhere. Most of us are resigned to the fact that nothing is ever going to change. But as John Micklethwait and Adrian Wooldridge show us in this galvanising book, this is a seriously limited view of things. In response to earlier crises in government, there have been three great revolutions, which have brought about in turn the nation-state, the liberal state and the welfare state. In each, Europe and America have set the example. We are now, they argue, in the midst of a fourth revolution in the history of the nation-state, but this time the Western way is in danger of being left behind. The Fourth Revolution brings the crisis into full view and points toward our future. The authors enjoy extraordinary access to influential figures and forces the world over, and the book is a global tour of the innovators. The front lines are in Chinese-oriented Asia, where experiments in state-directed capitalism and authoritarian modernization have ushered in an astonishing period of development. Other emerging nations are producing striking new ideas, from Brazil's conditional cash-transfer welfare system to India's application of mass-production techniques in hospitals. These governments have not by any means got everything right, but they have embraced the spirit of active reform and reinvention which in the past has provided so much of the West's comparative advantage. The race is not just one of efficiency, but one to see which political values will triumph in the twenty-first century: the liberal values of democracy and freedom or the authoritarian values of command and control. The centre of gravity is shifting quickly, and the stakes could not be higher. John Micklethwait is the Editor-in-Chief of the Economist; Adrian Wooldridge was its Washington bureau chief until 2009, and now serves as Management Editor and 'Schumpter' columnist. They have written four previous books together: The Company: A Short History of a Revolutionary Idea; A Future Perfect: The Challenge and Promise of Globalization; The Witchdoctors: Making Sense of the Management Gurus; The Right Nation: Why America is Different; and God is Back: How the Global Rise of Faith is Changing the World.

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Author information

John Micklethwait is the Editor-in-Chief of the Economist; Adrian Wooldridge was its Washington bureau chief until 2009, and now serves as Management Editor and 'Schumpeter' columnist. They have written four previous books together: The Company: A Short History of a Revolutionary Idea; A Future Perfect: The Challenge and Promise of Globalization; The Witchdoctors: Making Sense of the Management Gurus; The Right Nation: Why America is Different; and God is Back: How the Global Rise of Faith is Changing the World.

Review quote

In their brilliantly incisive book - just as sparkling as their studies of religion, God is Back, and of America, The Right Nation - Micklethwait and Wooldridge claim that the West is losing ground to the East in the taming of Leviathan ... Having repeatedly reinvented the state to deliver law and order, liberty and welfare, they argue, the West now needs a 'fourth revolution' to create a leaner, more efficient state to preserve freedom and democracy. It is a compelling argument -- Daniel Johnson Standpoint The great challenge of the next decade will ... be to fix government ... Micklethwait and Wooldridge's must-read manifesto is a plea for more reform, inspired this time by successful reforms in other countries and the harnessing of the digital revolution -- Allister Heath Telegraph The best current manifesto on the proper roles for market and state, intelligent but also accessible to a lay reader ... This book is also the single best statement of the thesis that these days government simply is not working very well, and that such an insight is recognized by many voters better than by many intellectuals ... Definitely recommended -- Tyler Cowen Marginal Revolution The cost of government is no longer an ivory-tower whinge ... [a] splendid diatribe -- Simon Jenkins Mail on Sunday In their excellent new book ... John Micklethwait and Adrian Wooldridge argue persuasively that too much is expected of modern government, in a democratic culture that is both cynical and increasingly impatient -- Matthew D'Ancona Sunday Telegraph