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“Debate over the health of democracy and the liberal world order is all the rage these days, sparked by President Trump’s brand of “America First” nationalism, similar movements in Europe, the emergence of a revanchist Russia, and the rise of China.
In 1989 Francis Fukuyama published an essay heralding the “end of history,” by which he meant the triumph of representative democracy over all other forms of government. For a decade he appeared prescient, as democracy swept through Central and Southeastern Europe, Latin America and much of Asia. More recently some of those democracies have faltered. Although few have definitively collapsed, the democratic wave seems to have begun ebbing.
Yet in a larger sense, the “end of history” came in 1945. Since then there have been no wars between major powers and few between smaller states. The business cycle has been moderated if not eliminated. The subsequent seven decades saw almost continuous economic growth, lifting nearly half the world’s population into the middle class.
These accomplishments are based on two basic, widely accepted norms of international behavior: Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s territory, and thou shall open thy markets to all equally. The norms were buttressed by numerous postwar institutions—the United Nations, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, now the World Trade Organization. Equally important, the norms were backed by U.S. military and economic power and the attractiveness of the American political and economic model.”
JJ Editor's Daily Picks
"China’s Hydrogen economy Is coming: The world’s electric-vehicle king is seeking leadership in fuel cells, too. Investors are probably right to be excited."
"It would be the height of naivete to believe the book is closed. Democrats on Capitol Hill are not just going to take the attorney general's conclusions and move on to new things."
"Netanyahu has brazenly allied himself with Trump’s Administration and his family (including the cryptic peace negotiator, Jared Kushner, whose family he has known for years), as well as with the Republican Party and Republican funders..."
"Us is stranger than Get Out, with deeper philosophical undercurrents flowing through it. The rabbit that greets you at the movie’s start is an invitation. Will you follow, like Alice in her Wonderland?"
"Democrats and Republicans seem to have irreconcilable views on economics, but on one point they agree: Small business is better than big."
"Sanctuary, a digital astrology start-up backed by $1.5 million in venture capital, made the considered decision to launch its service on Wednesday — the dawn of the new astrological year, when Pisces gives way to Aries in the astral cycle."
"It is a Vessel for the depths of architectural cynicism, of form without ideology and without substance: an architectural practice that puts the commodifiable image above all else, including the social good..."
"Apartment Therapy posted a photo to Instagram of a bookshelf with the spines facing inward, and the dramatic response — dozens of users denouncing the trend as anti-intellectual, even comparing it to book-burning ..."
"Perhaps it is time to add parenting to the growing list of “replacement religions” competing for our attention and currency these days, a list that already includes workism and politics."
"Only a fraction of the world’s yeast species have been discovered. The ones still out there could revolutionize health care, green energy, and beer."
"We’ve recently fixated on expunging “fake news” but the medical world also has its charlatans. The snake-oil salespeople, masquerading as health professionals, are naturopaths."
"...should we continue to teach thinkers like Kant, Voltaire and Hume without mention of the harmful prejudices they helped legitimize?"