The Wake-Up Call: Why the Pandemic Has Exposed the Weakness of the West, and How to Fix It

John Micklethwait and Adrian Wooldridge. HarperVia, $18 (176p) ISBN 978-0-06-306529-1
Economist columnist Wooldridge and Bloomberg News editor-in-chief Micklethwait team up again (after The Fourth Revolution) for this thought-provoking yet flawed look at how the Covid-19 pandemic exemplifies the decline of the “Western state” since the mid-1960s and what can be done to reverse course. They credit Asian nations such as South Korea and Singapore with steadily improving their governing systems, public infrastructure, and technological know-how over recent decades, allowing them to better respond to the pandemic, and explain how Western governments have been weakened by bureaucratic overreach, private interest group influence, and lackluster leadership. In the book’s last chapter, Micklethwait and Wooldridge imagine a hypothetical president named Bill Lincoln (after 19th-century U.K. prime minister William Gladstone and Abraham Lincoln) and his initiatives, including a carbon tax, police reform, reduced Social Security spending, and a mix of public and private health care options. The gimmicky imagining of a fantasy leader who is both a progressive “social reformer” and a conservative “small government man” allows the authors to skirt the considerable roadblocks standing in the way of their goals, which include somehow making America a “race blind society.” Nevertheless, this is a succinct and credible assessment of Western government dysfunctions. (Sept.)
Reviewed on : 08/26/2020
Release date: 09/15/2020
Genre: Nonfiction
MP3 CD - 978-1-7999-5170-4
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Ebook - 176 pages - 978-0-06-306531-4
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