America is in decline, and the rise of the East suggests a bleak future for the world’s only superpower - so goes the conventional wisdom. But what if the traditional measures of national status are no longer as important as they once were? What if America’s well-being was assessed according to entirely different factors? In The Upside of Down, Charles Kenny argues that America’s so-called decline is only relative to the newfound success of other countries.
And there is tremendous upside to life in a wealthier world: Americans can benefit from better choices and cheaper prices offered by schools and hospitals in rising countries, and, without leaving home, avail themselves of the new inventions and products those countries will produce. The key to thriving in this world is to move past the jeremiads about America’s deteriorating status and figure out how best to take advantage of its new role in a multipolar world.
A refreshing antidote to prophecies of American decline, The Upside of Down offers a fresh and highly optimistic look at America’s future in a wealthier world.
I can't say any of the rosy possibilities imagined here will come true. Who can? However, This book has a fine place, if for no other reason than to make our minds more limber, and help us shake off a bit of the fatigue of fearing the worst. (Look, Britain no longer rules the waves, and its standard of living has been pretty good, in a world where it was forced to assume a less unipolar "top dog" spot in the global community.) In the biggest of all narratives of current history, as I see suggested here, we live in a world where many economies have adopted roughly some version of our way of creating wealth, and I mean by productivity and trade. A China so entwined with the USA and the rest of the globe financially and in trade, is a far better vision than the possible alternatives -- such as a Nazi-type military kleptocracy. It isn't as bad as it could be, this book cogently argues. And I need to imagine in these sorts of directions, to commit some resources to the possibility of good global upsides (not least for the USA) in this type of possible future.
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