Time to Start Thinking: America and the Spectre of Decline

Edward Luce

Time to Start Thinking: America and the Spectre of Decline

On its present course, the US faces a world of rising new countries that will compete with it ever more fiecely as its own power is declining. In order to slow and improve this steady leakage of power, the US must change course internationally, economically and domestically. It must also restructure to remain the world's most competitive economy. And it must address quality of life issues and fairness at home. But American politics is broken -- competing forces and interests have led to stasis. With change so tough, where now for a country where the middle classes are suffering as they have never suffered before, the pensions crisis is growing, the deficit out of sight, and radicalism waiting in the wings? 4.1 out of 5 based on 5 reviews
Time to Start Thinking: America and the Spectre of Decline

Omniscore:

Classification Non-fiction
Genre Society, Politics & Philosophy, Business, Finance & Law
Format Hardback
Pages 304
RRP
Date of Publication April 2012
ISBN 978-1408702758
Publisher Little, Brown
 

On its present course, the US faces a world of rising new countries that will compete with it ever more fiecely as its own power is declining. In order to slow and improve this steady leakage of power, the US must change course internationally, economically and domestically. It must also restructure to remain the world's most competitive economy. And it must address quality of life issues and fairness at home. But American politics is broken -- competing forces and interests have led to stasis. With change so tough, where now for a country where the middle classes are suffering as they have never suffered before, the pensions crisis is growing, the deficit out of sight, and radicalism waiting in the wings?

Reviews

The Literary Review

Dominic Sandbrook

Sober, clever, measured and deeply depressing … What is so impressive about Luce's diagnosis of American decline is the quiet, methodical compilation of damning facts — all the more damning because he eschews histrionics and clearly has great affection for his current beat. He is very good, for example, on the miserable fortunes of American manufacturing ... The obvious criticism of Luce's book might be that we have heard it all before ... But none of this means that Luce is wrong ... Just twenty years from now, he will probably be able to say: 'I told you so.'

01/04/2012

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The New York Times

Jonathan Rauch

Luce is a good writer with a vacuum-cleaner for a notebook. His book could not be bettered as a compendium of American problems, at least as filtered through the center-left sensibilities of a pro-American European. But a narrower, more focused approach would have gone a long way. As I marched through the list of failures and obstacles, I began to think a better title for the book might be Time to Start Drinking ... For all its overkill, Time to Start Thinking raises the right questions at the right moment, which is what books are supposed to do. It deserves an audience in America. And I wouldn’t be surprised, too, if it ends up stacked on the best-seller tables in China.

03/04/2012

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The Observer

John Gray

... what emerges from Luce's carefully balanced and often startlingly evocative analysis and reportage is the denial of history by the current crop of American leaders. Every one of the gallery of grotesques that have tried to challenge Obama for the presidency interprets America's slide from pre-eminence as the result of Democrat policies, while Obama himself dismisses all talk of decline. The assumption underlying practically all US discussion is that any slippage in America's global standing is the result of misguided policies that can be reversed by an act of will ... Surprisingly, Luce says little about the foreign policy disasters that have speeded America's fall from grace.

13/05/2012

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The Sunday Times

Martin Ivens

... this is as good a diagnosis of America’s failings as you will get. The remedies are not so clear. Luce, like many of his subjects, fashionably advocates an industrial policy. Yet in a recent survey, the FT’s sister magazine, The Economist, concluded that successful industrial policies in developed economies are as rare as hen’s teeth. Sclerotic Europe is certainly providing no solutions, and America has been written off by many an agonised British liberal before.

15/04/2012

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The Financial Times

Mark Damazer

I found myself from the outset wanting to quarrel with Luce ... After all, an apparently declining US has given us the wonders of Google and Facebook, outstanding medical research, brilliant satellite technology. The Nobel Prizes are still coming and the top universities dominate any world league table. American soft power, although enfeebled by aspects of its foreign policy, has not vanished either ... But Luce does far more than collect and display American contemporary discontents, and by the end of the book this fan of America was a great deal more anxious about the health of the republic.

07/04/2012

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