The Retreat of Western Liberalism
By Edward Luce
An insightful and brilliantly researched book about modern society, and a stirring analysis of how enlightened ideas can be defended from the issues we currently face.
'Read this book: in the three hours it takes you will get a new, bracing and brilliant understanding of the dangers we in the democratic West now face. Luce is one of the smartest journalists working today, and his perceptions are priceless' Jane Mayer, staff writer on the New Yorker
'No one was more prescient about the economic malaise and popular resentment that has hit the United States than Ed Luce in his previous book, Time to Start Thinking. His new book, Retreat of Western Liberalism, broadens that picture to cover the Western world. It is a must read for anyone trying to make sense of the waves of populism and nationalism we face today' Liaquat Ahamed
In his widely acclaimed book Time to Start Thinking, Financial Times columnist and commentator Edward Luce charted the course of American economic and geopolitical decline, proving to be a prescient voice on our current social and political turmoil.
In The Retreat of Western Liberalism, Luce makes a larger statement about the weakening of western hegemony and the crisis of democratic liberalism - of which Donald Trump and his European counterparts are not the cause, but a symptom. Luce argues that we are on a menacing trajectory brought about by ignorance of what it took to build the West, arrogance towards society's losers, and complacency about our system's durability - attitudes that have been emerging since the fall of the Berlin Wall, treated by the West as an absolute triumph over the East. We cannot move forward without a clear diagnosis of what has gone wrong. Luce contrasts Western democratic and economic ideals, which rest on an assumption of linear progress, with more cyclical views of economic strength - symbolized by the nineteenth-century fall and present-day rise of the Chinese and Indian economies - and with the dawn of a new multipolar age.
Combining on-the-ground reporting with intelligent synthesis of the vast literature already available, Luce offers a detailed projection of the consequences of the Trump administration and a forward-thinking analysis of what those who believe in enlightenment values must do to defend them from the multiple onslaughts they face in the coming years.
Edward Luce is a graduate from Oxford University in Politics, Philosophy and Economics. He worked as a speech writer for the treasury secretary in the Clinton administration, worked as the South Asia bureau chief for the Financial Times and is based in Washington DC as the Financial Times Washington columnist and commentator.
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- Publication date:
04 May 2017
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No one was more prescient about the economic malaise and popular resentment that has hit the United States than Ed Luce in his previous book, Time to Start Thinking. His new book, Retreat of Western Liberalism, broadens that picture to cover the Western world. It is a must read for anyone trying to make sense of the waves of populism and nationalism we face today — Liaquat Ahamed
Edward Luce provides a terrifying view of the challenges facing the West. We have to hope that his prophecies are self denying - something that is more likely if his penetrating analysis gets the wide attention it richly deserves — Lawrence Summers
A knowledgeable tour through the unmapped terrain in which Western politicians and governments must now operate — The Economist
Luce is at his best writing about America, on which his knowledge is voluminous . . . his writing has a vigour and sweep all too absent in the deadly prose of social scientists; and he has identified a fundamental question facing democracies — Financial Times
Beautifully written — The Times
[A] brisk, pointed and fascinating book . . . is far more than a disappointed liberal's angry tirade. His achievement is to put the rise of antiestablishment populism in a broader global economic context — Literary Review
An illuminating book — Will Hutton, Observer