cover image The Upside of Down: Why the Rise of the Rest is Good for the West

The Upside of Down: Why the Rise of the Rest is Good for the West

Charles Kenny. Basic, $26.99 (240p) ISBN 978-0-465-06473-1

China is poised to overtake the U.S. as the world’s largest economy within the next 15 years, but, according to former World Bank economist Kenny, there is a silver lining for the U.S. economy. Kenny continues in the optimistic vein of his first book, Getting Better, as he explains why America losing its status as the unchallenged global superpower doesn’t have to mean declining living standards for its citizens. “America is a country made great by the founding principles of broad-based democracy, education, civil rights, and openness embodied in [the Constitution]”—qualities that Americans should be glad to see spread throughout the world. As developing countries grow richer and more educated, global values will converge. Kenny decries the simplistic reasoning inherent in judging nations based solely on their GDP or military: “being biggest and among the richest hasn’t helped the United States stake a global lead on measures of the broader quality of life.” Unfortunately, his analysis feels incomplete: the fact that America (and much of the rest of the world) is facing very real economic headwinds goes largely unmentioned. Agent: Rafe Sagalyn, the Sagalyn Agency. (Jan.)