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The Fourth Revolution: The Global Race to Reinvent the State (Anglais) Relié – 15 mai 2014


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Revue de presse

In their brilliantly incisive book - just as sparkling as their studies of religion, God is Back, and of America, The Right Nation - Micklethwait and Wooldridge claim that the West is losing ground to the East in the taming of Leviathan ... Having repeatedly reinvented the state to deliver law and order, liberty and welfare, they argue, the West now needs a 'fourth revolution' to create a leaner, more efficient state to preserve freedom and democracy. It is a compelling argument (Daniel Johnson Standpoint)

The great challenge of the next decade will . . . be to fix government . . . 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 (Allister Heath Telegraph)

The best current manifesto on the proper roles for market and state, intelligent but also accessible to a lay reader . . . 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 (Tyler Cowen Marginal Revolution)

The cost of government is no longer an ivory-tower whinge . . . [a] splendid diatribe (Simon Jenkins Mail on Sunday)

In their excellent new book ... John Micklethwait and Adrian Wooldridge argue persuasively that too much is expected of modern government, in a democratic culture that is both cynical and increasingly impatient (Matthew D'Ancona Sunday Telegraph)

Présentation de l'éditeur

In The Fourth Revolution, John Micklethwait and Adrian Wooldridge ask: what is the state actually for? Their remarkable book describes the three great revolutions in its history, and the fourth which is happening now In most of the states of the West, disillusion with government has become endemic. Gridlock in America; anger in much of Europe; cynicism in Britain; decreasing legitimacy everywhere. Most of us are resigned to the fact that nothing is ever going to change. But as John Micklethwait and Adrian Wooldridge show us in this galvanising book, this is a seriously limited view of things. In response to earlier crises in government, there have been three great revolutions, which have brought about in turn the nation-state, the liberal state and the welfare state. In each, Europe and America have set the example. We are now, they argue, in the midst of a fourth revolution in the history of the nation-state, but this time the Western way is in danger of being left behind.The Fourth Revolution brings the crisis into full view and points toward our future. The authors enjoy extraordinary access to influential figures and forces the world over, and the book is a global tour of the innovators. The front lines are in Chinese-oriented Asia, where experiments in state-directed capitalism and authoritarian modernization have ushered in an astonishing period of development. Other emerging nations are producing striking new ideas, from Brazil's conditional cash-transfer welfare system to India's application of mass-production techniques in hospitals. These governments have not by any means got everything right, but they have embraced the spirit of active reform and reinvention which in the past has provided so much of the West's comparative advantage. The race is not just one of efficiency, but one to see which political values will triumph in the twenty-first century: the liberal values of democracy and freedom or the authoritarian values of command and control. The centre of gravity is shifting quickly, and the stakes could not be higher. JOHN MICKLETHWAIT is the Editor-in-Chief of the Economist; ADRIAN WOOLDRIDGE was its Washington bureau chief until 2009, and now serves as Management Editor and 'Schumpter' columnist. They have written four previous books together: The Company: A Short History of a Revolutionary Idea; A Future Perfect: The Challenge and Promise of Globalization; The Witchdoctors: Making Sense of the Management Gurus; The Right Nation: Why America is Different; and God is Back: How the Global Rise of Faith is Changing the World.


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Détails sur le produit

  • Relié: 320 pages
  • Editeur : Allen Lane (15 mai 2014)
  • Collection : ALLEN LANE HB
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ISBN-10: 1846147336
  • ISBN-13: 978-1846147333
  • Dimensions du produit: 16,2 x 3 x 24 cm
  • Moyenne des commentaires client : 4.8 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (4 commentaires client)
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1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile  Par Sir Cweldrik le 7 juillet 2014
Format: Relié
This books is written in a very readable style, yet is worthy of a thorough academic accolade. The authors give an excellent and detailed overview of the global situation which constitutes a source of useful references. They give their own opinions in such a way as to enable the readers to make up their own minds. Readers of several nation states will learn to appreciate not only the pitfalls of their own political systems but also those of their friends. J'espère qu'il sera bientôt traduit pour tous les Européens qui ne comprennent pas bien la langue anglaise. Les américanismes n'ajoutent ni ne retranche rien au texte. Je regrette seulement que des auteurs britanniques se croient obligés d'employer des expressions qui ne font pas partie de la culture européenne. Mais ce n'est qu'un tout petit reproche.
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Format: Format Kindle Achat vérifié
Brings together into a coherent framework may thoughts, flashes and concerns I've had over the years myself on big government. Given its origins, the book won't be read enough by those on the left who have the most to gain from it in terms of rebooting their fundamental approach. The book is better on US, UK and Asian examples than on the EU: yes, we know there's a problem of governance and legitimacy, but you won't learn how to solve it here. You do gain a mor integrated understanding of why the current state of democracy leads to populist politics.
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Par drapier le 2 janvier 2015
Format: Relié Achat vérifié
Un super travail sur les prévisibles évolutions de l'Etat pour s'adapter aux données nouvelles de la mondialisation et des technologies. Un livre que tout le monde devrait lire, surtout en France où l'ogre Etat sera un des plus difficiles à ramener à de justes proportions. Même ceux qui ne sont pas favorables à l'expansion du marché au détriment de l'Etat providence se régaleront à la lecture de ce travail très documenté.
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Par Michel Drouet le 27 octobre 2014
Format: Relié
Excellent livre, très clair et argumenté dans l'analyse et dans les propositions pour réinventer l'Etat et lancer la quatrième révolution.
Je conseille la lecture de ce livre à l'ensemble de la classe politique française.
Michel Drouet
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Amazon.com: 117 commentaires
104 internautes sur 117 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
An Important Book 15 mai 2014
Par James Strock - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié Commentaire client Vine pour produit gratuit ( De quoi s'agit-il? )
'The Fourth Revolution' is a tour de force.

Authors John Micklethwait and Adrian Wooldridge, both of the Economist (London) have written a book that merits a place in the shelves of decision makers in government, the private sector, and the not-for-profit world. Its ideas will, hopefully, make their way to dinner table conversations across America.

A few points for your consideration as a prospective reader:

1. 'The Fourth Revolution' is a straight shot against those oft-heard voices who suggest that the current dysfunction of government is inevitable. Instead, it's suggested that there have been a series of changes since the origination of the modern nation-state. Thus far, each has added value, incorporating needed adaptation to deal with changing circumstances.

This is important, because it suggests that we have a greater responsibility than simply throwing up our hands and walking away from the governmental crisis in our midst.

2. Government dysfunction is endemic worldwide. There are also exemplars--at least partial exemplars--in other nations of replicable improvements. The book points to success stories from Australia to Sweden to Singapore.

3. The incapacity of Western governments to come to necessary decisions and take actions in a timely manner poses significant questions for our competitive position vis-a-vis Asian nations. In turn, it may well come to constitute a national security threat.

4. In the United States, the blessings of longstanding peace and prosperity--and having had no war on American soil since the Civil War--have enabled politics to avoid hard choices. There has been little evident cost to this sloppiness. The system has become clogged with institution piled on institution, law piled upon law, regulation piled upon regulation. Special interests proliferate amid the complexity and opaqueness. It's an open question whether the challenges of change can be met absent an existential crisis.

5. The authors rightly point out that effective government management is more difficult, not easier, than business management. As government becomes increasingly distant and specialized, fewer citizens have direct experience in it, and less reason to understand this critical fact and its implications. Bottom line: we have to take governance seriously.

6. Reform of government institutions inevitably must include stem-to-stern reconsideration of the philosophical basis for various government functions. So, too, it must take into account the real-world experience of what is now a long history of government intervention in many areas of our lives.

I've worked extensively in the private and public sectors, in various capacities. As a result, I'm a pretty demanding reader on this topic.

I recommend this book most highly.
42 internautes sur 45 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
The Crisis of Political Imagination Redux 31 mai 2014
Par William L. Brown - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié Commentaire client Vine pour produit gratuit ( De quoi s'agit-il? )
This book comes on the fiftieth anniversary of the publication of Glenn Tinder's classic work, The Crisis of Political Imagination. Tinder's book dealt with mass disintegration and the isolation of the individual, along with the failure of the four main classifications of political thinking (liberalism, democracy, socialism and conservatism) to deal with the alienation of great numbers of people from political life specifically and society in general. Sadly, political imagination continues to be in crisis a half century after it was diagnosed by Tinder.

Micklethwait and Wooldridge are editors of the Economist (" a global weekly magazine written for those who share an uncommon interest in being well and broadly informed"). They describe what they call three and a half revolutions in the evolution of government and the state:

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

Hobbes' contribution was to describe Leviathan, in which the first duty of the state is to be powerful enough to provide law and order. The power of the state frees man from misery and makes human civilization possible. Prior to the existence of the state, man was tossed between fear and greed into an existence that was, by its very nature, brief and brutish. By giving up some of his autonomy to the state, man could work and survive without having to defend himself at every turn from his fellow human beings.

Mill feared Leviathan nearly as much as (or even more than) he feared his fellow man. He was born into a family of Victorian intellectuals who devoted their lives to fashioning an alternative to domination by Britain's landed aristocrats and Anglican clergymen. (One need only to read the works of Thomas Hardy and Charles Dickens to understand the problems created by the British aristocracy.) His father, James Mill, believed that Britain's traditional overlords were threats to liberty, reason and effort. The public had traded fear of fellow man for tyranny of the state. If one lost his job, he would lose his right to vote and was consigned to semipenal workhouses which were developed to discourage idleness and provide incentives to work and save. Mill argued that the government should have as little as possible a role in the general business and interests of the people.

Webb is known as the godmother of the welfare state, which was designed to provide citizens with an "enforced minimum for a civilized life," thereby creating a ratchet toward ever-bigger government. Her object was to train intellectuals and functionaries to staff an ever-increasing administrative machine. Failure to follow the dictates of the state could lead to fines and imprisonment. The administrative state, being unelected and beyond the reach of the people, became a fearful master whose self-interest trumped the interests of the common man.

Friedman's economic philosophy caught the eye of Margaret Thatcher, lending intellectual support to the idea of dismantling many aspects of the administrative state by privatizing state-run enterprises, cutting taxes, giving vouchers to parents for schools, etc. In the United States, Ronald Reagan also came under Friedman's influence, declaring in his First Inaugural Address that "Government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem."

The authors suggest, very strongly and with intellectual support, that democratic politicians will always pander to their electorates - and thus build up deficits and underinvestment in infrastructure - a worry that has proven to be painfully accurate. They note that modern nation-states cannot pursue democracy, national self-determination and globalization simultaneously. The result is conflict among the people and increasing regulation of all aspects of life, in direct opposition to the principles upon which constitutional governments were founded.

I heartily recommend this book for anyone who is interested in learning how we got where we are politically and who want to know what needs to be done to free us from the looming administrative straitjacket. It will be well worth their time to read what the authors have to say.
27 internautes sur 31 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
... two senior editors at The Economist and unsurprisingly reads like an extended Economist article 8 juillet 2014
Par Matt King - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié
This book has been written by two senior editors at The Economist and unsurprisingly reads like an extended Economist article. Whilst this makes it well researched and enjoyable to read I found their argument was ultimately confused.

This book covers the three and half revolutions that they defined to have occurred in Western political thought. The first revolution is that of the centralised state that arose in the seventeenth century. The second took place in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries as regal patronage systems were replaced by more meritocratic and accountable governments. The third was the rise of the welfare state that slowly took place over the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. They then define a half revolution in political thought taking place in the 1980s with the rise to prominence again of classical liberal thinking. This was only half a revolution in their mind since, whilst the political leaders espoused small government ideals, little was actually in actually shrinking the size of the state.

This is where the book excels. Its coverage of the history and development of Western political thought is superb.

Unfortunately on the back of this the authors make the case that Western states have become bloated and need to be dramatically reformed. Whilst I am sure many would agree with that I felt their subsequent arguments were confused. They expounded the virtues of the Singapore and Chinese states (whilst admitting some of their flaws) but true to their Economist background then went on to claim the only solution to the West’s political anxieties is a return to laissez faire. As the FT put it, in their review “an unkind description of this approach would be one of policy-based evidence making“. As another criticism, the I think the book would benefit from a deeper look at the development of states in Africa, Latin America and Eastern Europe as it focusses primarily on Western and (East) Asian political thinking.

The authors are right that the West needs to adapt and it is important that these issues are considered especially with the rise of new technologies that could help transform the state. But whilst I think the book is great at highlighting the dysfunctions of the modern Western state I remained unconvinced of their argument for what they consider to be the right reforms. It has found the problem, but not the cure.

3.5/5 stars.
63 internautes sur 77 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
No matter what political party you favor, if you'd lke a better world for your grandchildren, this is an essential read 10 mai 2014
Par Man in the Middle - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié Commentaire client Vine pour produit gratuit ( De quoi s'agit-il? )
I've read lots of books on how to reform government and solve social problems. Most are full of good ideas that will never ever be adopted in the real world. This volume is different. Rather than just assuming human nature will suddenly and magically change to allow reforms to be enacted, we are brought back to first principles and history, to see both what problems reformers in other eras faced, their reasoning for seeking change, and the results of their efforts. Why should we care? Because many of our hardest-fought current political battles are impossible to either understand or resolve without that background.

In addition, this book does not focus on only U.S. issues. Rather, it relates those well to similar issues in Europe and Asia, memorably explaining WHY (for example) China is more interested in how Singapore is run than in how Washington DC is run. Those despairing of any good news emerging from D.C. will be glad to hear of recent hope from such other places as Singapore, India, and Sweden. And whether you are a Progressive, OWS supporter, Conservative, Tea Partier or Libertarian, you will find important points being made about your views - things you will want to have considered well before your next political discussion.

This book for me is not just a keeper. I'll be buying a Kindle copy immediately for a politician friend who shares many of my goals but favors a different party, and another for my own Kindle, so it can always be with me.

Very highly recommended.
11 internautes sur 11 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Learning from Singapore and Sweden to Reinvent Government 28 juin 2014
Par Paul Froehlich - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Format Kindle
Liberals and conservatives will each find some things to like and to dislike in this fascinating book. Conservatives will, for example, like to read about the widespread and successful use of education vouchers in Sweden, and the call for more emphasis on individual rights, and for a slimmer state offering fewer benefits. Liberals will like to hear how Sweden has transformed the welfare state over the last two decades, making the wide safety net compatible with strong economic growth, government efficiency and fiscal responsibility.

The authors, John Micklethwait and Adrian Wooldridge, write for the Economist, a conservative-leaning publication. They recognize their bias for a smaller state, though they are not libertarians who see government as inherently evil. Their thesis is that the state is about to change and that will change the world.

For 500 years, they write, the West has been the font of new ideas about government, and has been through three and a half great revolutions. The first was in the 17th century when Europe’s princes build centralized states that began to pull ahead of the rest of the world. The second took place in the late 18th and 19th centuries, beginning with the American and French revolutions, and eventually spread across Europe, as regal patronage systems were replaced with more meritocratic and accountable government. Third was the invention of the modern welfare state. The Reagan-Thatcher interregnum ultimately failed to reverse the size of the state.

The authors greatly admire Singapore and Sweden -- the former for its efficient, low-cost, honest government where meritocracy rules, and the latter for demonstrating how to make a public health care system that “is now arguably the most efficient in the rich world.”

The most talented Singaporeans are identified, given training, recruited for government and paid well. Singapore’s government consumes a smaller share of GDP than Western states. Its world class education system consumes only 3.3 percent of GDP. To be a teacher, a student must be in the top third of his class, as in South Korea and Finland. China’s leadership also admires what Singapore has accomplished.

Micklethwait and Wooldridge recognize there is no political freedom in the island nation, though they see advantages in being able to adopt policies that would not be tolerated in a democracy where government is accountable to the people. What they leave out is that Singapore is an oligarchy with a wealth concentration at the top six times greater than in the USA, which has greater economic inequality than any the rich democracies.

Conservatives who haven’t recently updated their knowledge about Sweden will be surprised by the authors’ enthusiasm for the Nordic nations. It’s not Olaf Palme’s bloated socialism any more:
• Public spending as a share of GDP dropped in Sweden from a high of 67 percent in 1993 to the current 49 percent.
• The top marginal tax rate was reduced by 27 points to 57 percent.
• Public debt fell from 70 percent of GDP in 1993 to 37 percent in 2010 and from an 11 percent deficit to a small surplus.
• All four Nordic countries have AAA credit ratings and debt loads well below the Eurozone average.
• The Nordic states have the world’s highest rates of social mobility, and top the lists of competitiveness and well-being, such as living longer than most in the developed world.
• “The new Swedish system is a highly successful update of…a socialist country (that) uses capitalist methods of competition to ensure that public goods are delivered as successfully as possible.”

While touting the benefits of Swedish vouchers, the authors leave out the fact that Finnish students have the highest test scores in Europe and virtually all Finns attend public schools, where the top priority is to boost students who might be left behind.

“Rather than extending the state into the market, the Nordics are extending the market into the state…The Nordic countries provide strong evidence that it is possible to contain government while improving its performance…Both Sweden and Singapore demonstrate something beyond doubt: Government can be made slimmer and better.” The authors see better government as part of an inexorable process. Control is giving way to pluralism, uniformity to diversity, centralization to localism, opacity to transparency, and resistance to change to experimentation.

They recognize, however, that private delivery of public services is no guarantee of good quality or economy; “some of the worst abuses by American forces in Iraq were by private-security firms.” Vigilant supervision of contractors is indispensable.

Micklethwait and Wooldridge recommend the state downsize in three ways:
1) Sell or privatize things the state need not own. “Privatization is the American Right’s great blind spot.”
2) Cut subsidies that flow to the rich and well connected. Dismantling the welfare state for the rich and powerful should be, but isn’t, at the top of progressive America’s agenda.
3) Reform the explosion of entitlements, which is “the biggest problem that governments face.” Their reform proposals have something for everyone to like or dislike:

• They prefer a single-payer system for health care as more cost effective and more transparent than the “muddle” of Obamacare.
• They would target entitlements to people who need them, instead of dishing out universal perks.
• The proportion of the US working-age population on Social Security disability has jumped from 1.7 percent in 1970 to 5.4 percent; they would follow Denmark in granting disability only if injuries permanently prevent people from working even with flexible work options.

They question whether democracy is up to the task of trimming the state. They propose ways to revitalize democracy so it will be capable of making hard choices. One is to reduce the filibuster in the Senate, which in modern times is used routinely to delay or prevent decisions, creating a “vetocracy.” A second is to end gerrymandering, which entrenches extremism. Third is to curb the growing role of money in politics, which creates the impression “that American democracy is for sale…that the rich have more power than the poor. ..Teddy Roosevelt would be horrified by the influence of money and special interests.”

Though the Fourth Revolution will be hard, “the West has been the world’s most creative region because it has repeatedly reinvented the state. We have every confidence that it can do so again.”

Micklethwait and Wooldridge obviously pull insights and solutions from both sides of the political spectrum, from Singapore and Sweden. Nevertheless, Conservatives may be surprised to learn a few facts from the book:

• Bill Clinton moved his party to the right and largely operated within the Reagan consensus.

• George W. Bush’s “compassionate conservatism” was a license for bloated government and a spending “splurge.”

• “Tax codes almost everywhere are riven with subsidies, exemptions, and complications that favor the rich.”

• “If you put spending and taxes together, including all the deductions, the government lavishes more dollars overall on the top fifth of the income distribution than the bottom fifth.”

• “Governments are very different entities from private companies – and citizens are very different creatures from customers.” The notion that government should be run like a business reveals a misunderstanding about the nature of government.

• “America’s semiprivate insurance system involves far more form filing than Europe’s nationalized ones…Europe’s single-payer systems are clearly more efficient than America’s jumble of private insurance systems, as well as fairer.”

• “The Right can be just as guilty” as the Left in overfeeding Leviathan. The growth of the security state since 9/11, for example, has dramatically shifted the balance between liberty and security “in a way that may not have advanced security but has certainly diminished liberty.”

This book leads the reader to recognize that no rigid political ideology has all the answers to our problems. That what works comes from the best ideas of left and the right. ###
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