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The Fourth Revolution: The Global Race to Reinvent the State Hardcover – May 15 2014

4.0 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Press (May 15 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1594205396
  • ISBN-13: 978-1594205392
  • Product Dimensions: 16.2 x 3 x 24.1 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 522 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #40,103 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

Review

Joe Scarborough, “Morning Joe”:
“This is an important book. This book changes everything.”

Tyler Cowan, Marginal Revolution:
“It is probably the best current manifesto on the proper roles for market and state….  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.”

The Daily Mail (UK):
“Splendid.”

The Telegraph:
“Superb…. 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.”

Seattle Times:
“[The authors] offer thoughtful proposals…. a useful look at America from the outside in.”

Times of London:
"The basic argument of this well-written, intelligent book is twofold. First reform [of the state] is essential. Second, reform is possible because it is happening all over the world and because new technology is available. By the end of reading The Fourth Revolution it is hard to deny either of these points."

Kirkus Reviews:
“A different, provocative view of the challenge emerging in Asia.”

Fareed Zakaria, author of The Post American World:
"This is a book with an important message. It is also one that brims with intelligence, erudition, and—best of all—common sense. I found myself nodding in agreement on almost every page."

Walter Russell Mead:
"This brilliant and courageous book is also a gripping read. At a time when most politicians and pundits on the left and the right look back to past golden ages, the Economist’s John Micklethwait and Adrian Wooldridge dare to ask what must be done to make democracy work again. Their answers point beyond the dull nostrums of conventional politics toward new ideas and reforms that could renew the democratic systems in both the US and Europe. This is a landmark study of a vital subject, told with great verve and dash, and it is a book that no one who cares about the future of politics can afford to miss."

About the Author

John Micklethwait is the editor in chief of Bloomberg News. After studying history at Magdalen College, Oxford, he worked as a banker at Chase Manhattan before joining The Economist as a finance correspondent in 1987. He served as The Economist’s editor in chief from 2006 to 2015 and was named an Editors’ Editor by the British Society of Magazine Editors in 2010.

Adrian Wooldridge is The Economist’s management editor and writes the Schumpeter column. He was previously based in Washington, D.C., as the Washington bureau chief, where he also wrote the Lexington column. Together they are the authors of five books: The Witch Doctors, A Future Perfect, The CompanyThe Right Nation, and God Is Back.

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
John Micklethwait and Adrian Wooldridge focus on a process that led to a revolution that is now "in the air, driven partly by the necessity of diminishing resources, partly by the logic of renewed competition among nation-states, and partly by the opportunity to do things better."

This Fourth Revolution in government will "change the world" and is preceded by three others: "The first took place in the seventeenth century, when Europe's princes began to pull ahead of the rest of the world...The second revolution took place in the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. It began with the American and French revolutions and eventually spread across Europe, as liberal reformers replaced regal patronage systems `Old Corruption, as it was known in England -- with more meritocratic and accountable government...an improved life for every citizen became part of the contract with Leviathan. That paved the way for the aberration of communism but also for the third revolution: the invention of the modern welfare state. That too has changed a great deal from what its founders, like Beatrice and Sidney Webb, imagined: but it is what we in the West live with today."

In essence:

Revolution 1: Thomas Hobbes and the Nation-State
Revolution 2: John Stuart Mill and the Liberal State
Revolution 3: Beatrice Webb and the Welfare State
Revolution 4: Milton Friedman's Paradise Lost

I value this book more in terms of the number and quality of the questions it raises than in terms of the answers it provides as the latest of four revolutions develops. For example, what will determine the reconciliation of the on-going competition for primacy between authoritarianism and self-determination?
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The experienced journalists that the authors are, they have written an eminently readable text on a very contemporary topic. I liked most their comments on the Asian Model, which presented a clear eyed (no rose coloured glasses!). I also liked their introduction, which provides a very clear perspective of the evolution of democracy and its weaknesses.
The only weakness is the section on conclusion, where the authors have their complete laundry list of changes to Western democracies to compete with the Asian (read Chinese) version. It seemed to ignore the realities of political life in a multiparty democracy. It also ignored the role of a defining leader to initiate and push through the weaknesses of democracies, namely, focus on short-term tied to the electoral cycle at the expense of the long-term needs of the nation.
This book will be of great interest to those following the shifting geopolitical balance of power from the West to the emerging nations and China in particular.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I enjoyed the discussion of history and prognostication; less so the suggestions for solutions. Nonetheless, if the book's intent is to create conversation and improve understanding of critical need for change in Western democracies, it achieved that purpose.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Poor arguments and weak proof. Affirmations supported by lots of exampls do not constitute valid demonstration. The idea that the Freedman-Thatcher_Reagan 'revolution' should be pursued is litterally terrifying. What we need is a 5th revolution to reinstate the ideals of human dignity and equality. Deregulated capitalism has delivered much suffering and increased inequality.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The 4th Revolution is a timely essay and a 'should read' for those who want some idea of the direction that present politics is taking us. 19th Century Liberals put freedom at the heart of the state, and the individual at the heart of society. Thomas Hobbes ideal was order. John Stuart Mill's ideal was Liberty.
The 4th Revolution argues that there have been 3 sciences since the dawn of the modern era: the politics of the 16th & 17th centuries that emphasized sovereign power; the politics of the 18th & 19th centuries that emphasized Liberty, and the politics of the 20th Century that has emphasized Social Welfare.
Our 4th Revolution is to re-imagine the science of politics in the light of new technology and new political pressures.
What makes the state more efficient? The barriers to progress have been weakened. It is the animating ideas that determines the workings of the state in much the same way operating systems determine the workings of computers. The authors claim that the crisis of the state is more than an organizational crisis. It is a crisis of ideas.
Micklethwaite and Woodridge state that "we must re-think 2 things: (1.) the Welfare State, and (2.) Democracy in practice. #1 does not work, nor can it! and #2 must be very limited to work". The revolution is about Liberty and the rights of the individual. "Any state that harnesses the most powerful innovative forces in society will pull ahead of its peers." I am in quite full agreement with their thesis as far as it goes.
The fault that I find with their thesis, is the lack of attention to the idea that individuals must first instill throughout the vast majority of society the necessity of the self discipline of virtue and the golden rule.
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