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The End Of The World Is Just The Beginning: Mapping the Collapse of Globalization Paperback – 6 July 2022
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A New York Times Bestseller!
2019 was the last great year for the world economy.
For generations, everything has been getting faster, better, and cheaper. Finally, we reached the point that almost anything you could ever want could be sent to your home within days - even hours - of when you decided you wanted it.
America made that happen, but now America has lost interest in keeping it going.
Globe-spanning supply chains are only possible with the protection of the U.S. Navy. The American dollar underpins internationalized energy and financial markets. Complex, innovative industries were created to satisfy American consumers. American security policy forced warring nations to lay down their arms. Billions of people have been fed and educated as the American-led trade system spread across the globe.
All of this was artificial. All this was temporary. All this is ending.
In The End of the World is Just the Beginning, author and geopolitical strategist Peter Zeihan maps out the next world: a world where countries or regions will have no choice but to make their own goods, grow their own food, secure their own energy, fight their own battles, and do it all with populations that are both shrinking and aging.
The list of countries that make it all work is smaller than you think. Which means everything about our interconnected world - from how we manufacture products, to how we grow food, to how we keep the lights on, to how we shuttle stuff about, to how we pay for it all - is about to change.
A world ending. A world beginning. Zeihan brings readers along for an illuminating (and a bit terrifying) ride packed with foresight, wit, and his trademark irreverence.
About the Author
Peter Zeihan is a geopolitical strategist and the founder of the consulting firm Zeihan on Geopolitics. His clients include energy corporations, financial institutions, business associations, agricultural interests, universities, and the U.S. military. He is the author of The Accidental Superpower, The Absent Superpower, and Disunited Nations. He lives in Colorado.
Twitter: @PeterZeihan 47.6K followers
Newsletter subscribers: 41K
- Publisher : HarperCollins US (6 July 2022)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 400 pages
- ISBN-10 : 006326692X
- ISBN-13 : 978-0063266926
- Dimensions : 15.3 x 3.8 x 23 cm
- Best Sellers Rank: 452 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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It is a highly readable step forwards from Zeihans previous books. The first 3 Zeihan books - "The Accidental Super-Power", "The Absent Super-Power" and "Disunited Nations" significantly overlap. I read them all but by the end felt as though it was just on repeat. This book concentrates more on the likely outcomes of collapse, working accross all significant areas of human existence as made possible by global economics; energy, resources, finance, manufacturing and agriculture. It adds significantly to overall theme that Zeihan likes to explore and of all his books I think it is the best one.
This book does not cover so much the reasons why a collapse is likely. So I would recommend to read just 2 of his books "The Absent Super-Power" and this one to get the full picture.
He is an engaging author and the often irreverant interjections had me laughing out loud. Above all this book has really got me thinking about things in a big way.
Another review dismissed one of his books as the mutterings of a racist taxi driver. He does sometimes come accross that way, yet the book is very well researched and convincing in its arguments, despite getting some of the details wrong. For example, he says that the British political left was all but captured by fascists under Jeremy Corbyn - the reality is that there was a succesfull smear campaign to paint Corbyn as a racist by a media that supported the other party and was prepared to do their dirty work. When you read things like that you do wonder how much of the subtleties of things he misses elsewhere coming from a USA centric viewpoint. Despite that, the overall arguments he makes are pretty convincing and I feel certain that many of his predictions are likely to come true.
Zeihan goes against much of contemporary thinking that sees the innevitable rise of China. He is very down on China and with well thought out reasons. Current China worries are hugely over-done, and I think we should be ready to be sympathetic towards the Chinese because their suffering is likely to be immense.
There are two main angles to the writer’s argument. First, the end of the world order due to the United States stepping down from their role as global policeman. This will leave shipping at the mercy of pirates and nefarious states, which will break down all important trade routes and end 70 plus years of globalisation. Second, ageing populations in the developed and newly industrialised worlds will put economies into free fall as consumer spending and tax revenues dry up and pension payments consume the bare bones of what is left.
Both discussions are interesting but full of holes. The writer makes no mention of NATO or America’s continued military presence across the world, including in the western Pacific. I was also baffled by the writer’s insistence that Japan’s navy would protect trade routes in the Pacific. A Google search will tell you that China has not only the largest navy in the region, but on the planet. Use that information as you will.
As for ageing populations, Japan seems to be doing okay despite it being a model of where many countries are headed. Mr Zeihan also fails to mention immigration, which has helped increase the birth rates in the US and could do the same for ageing societies such as Germany and countries in Eastern Europe.
Reading this book, you are left with the impression that the USA is a land of milk and honey that is about to get even sweeter. East Asia and most of the developing world are staring down an abyss of famine and de-industrialisation. It does come across as a PR exercise for the US, Mr Zeihan’s home. Much as I like the place, in my eyes it is a country riven by political differences, and which seems prepared to tear itself apart.
Read this book for the entertainment value but for a more accurate – and positive - vision of the future, look elsewhere.
1. The most powerful part of his thesis is his discussions on the coming decline in the population of the world. Countries like Japan and China as well as most of Europe are already in a state of population decline. The rest of the world is not far behind. The coming outcomes that he describes as a result of population decline are hard to dispute, however he has not discussed anywhere what impact AI/Robotics will have on addressing the coming shortages of labor.
2. The second major part of his thesis is that because the USA is no longer willing to be the world’s policeman means that we may be entering a period of lawlessness on the high seas. He says that only those countries that can project naval power beyond their coastal shores can protect their own shipping if for any reason anyone wants to impede them e.g. Japan has a long-range navy and could impede Chinese ships from reaching China by blockading the Straits of Malacca. China does not have sufficient navy to counteract this. India could decide to impose a ”transit charge” on any shipping using the Indian Ocean. Piracy? Privateers? He states that for any of these reasons, there will grow a desire to move manufacturing closer to the end consumer. He does not address very well how regional powers will/could pick up the slack and even more countries will have to participate in global policing. This idea that the USA has stopped being the worlds policeman and that international lawlessness will rise is probably the weakest of his arguments. But we shall all see!
3. Mr. Zeihan states that it’s agriculture that keeps him awake at night. If anything happens to the current world system of inputs and delivery of final product to the rest of the world, then there will likely be chaos and starvation. China will likely be the biggest loser since it has the longest supply chains for everything and lacks the navy to guarantee delivery of necessary inputs.
4. Peter talks about global warming in two areas of the book – Energy and Agriculture. However, it does not factor in his comments in other areas. For example, Finance – if New York, London and Singapore, all coastal cities, are underwater because of global warming, it will be hard for them to remain as global capitals of Finance.
Finally, one outcome that he predicted was that global supply chains will collapse and we have seen this come true with the onset of COVID. Peter is saying that COVID is just the precursor of what will become the norm going forward. Hope he is wrong!