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Summary

A brilliant analysis of the transition in world economics, finance, and power as the era of globalization ends and gives way to new power centers and institutions.

The world is at a turning point similar to the fall of communism. Then, many focused on the collapse itself, and failed to see that a bigger trend, globalization, was about to take hold. The benefits of globalization - through the freer flow of money, people, ideas, and trade - have been many. But rather than a world that is flat, what has emerged is one of jagged peaks and rough, deep valleys characterized by wealth inequality, indebtedness, political recession, and imbalances across the world's economies. 

These peaks and valleys are undergoing what Michael O'Sullivan calls "the levelling" - a major transition in world economics, finance, and power. What's next is a levelling-out of wealth between poor and rich countries, of power between nations and regions, of political accountability from elites to the people, and of institutional power away from central banks and defunct 20th-century institutions such as the WTO and the IMF. 

O'Sullivan then moves to ways we can develop new, pragmatic solutions to such critical problems as political discontent, stunted economic growth, the productive functioning of finance, and political-economic structures that serve broader needs. 

The Levelling comes at a crucial time in the rise and fall of nations. It has special importance for the US as its place in the world undergoes radical change - the ebbing of influence, profound questions over its economic model, societal decay, and the turmoil of public life.

©2019 Michael O'Sullivan (P)2019 Hachette Audio

Critic reviews

"Michael O'Sullivan chronicles a 'world turned upside down' in this fascinating new book detailing the 21st century's seismic shifts in technology, the global economy, and the balance of power. His call for a revival of democracies under siege in Britain, the US, and elsewhere is critical for the stable, productive, and peaceful world we all seek." (Nicholas Burns, professor, Harvard University, and former US Under Secretary of State)

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Excellent, timely account

Very well researched and written/read. An excellent account of the paradigm shift from globalisation to a multipolar world. Depth of argument is good, as is the accessibility of the text. Thoroughly recommended.

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  • Joe_Boo
  • 31-01-21

Grand musings; few solutions

Skip to the last chapter where the author attempts to summarize his largely idealistic and rambling assertions, then decide if you care to bother with the rest. I unfortunately had high hopes for this book, but both the narration and content were disappointing. Not that the subject is poor, but rather, the author's handling of it left me feeling consistently unsatisfied. After hours and hours of exposition, I said aloud several times, "When will there be a clear point?" There was a great improvement about 4/7ths in, but that ended abruptly when the author chose to shift the narration. Rather than the *author* directly stating evidence, analysis, and assertions, the author puts on a caricature sock puppet of Alexander Hamilton, and casts everything from the perspective of what AH might think or say or do. Of course, this is not actually AH, as he is long dead. Rather, it's the author's hamiltonian- inspired analysis presented by the sock puppet, I suspect, to lend "credibility" to what is said. Done briefly, I would not complain, but after 90+ minutes, I grew quite weary of the AH sock puppet show. In fairness, the reader should know this form of sock puppetry is a great pet peeve of mine. The author truly has no idea what a genius of the past might think or do or say about our current world, as it is impossible to fathom a great mind from what writings and deeds remain on record-- the tiniest tip of the iceberg of who any past person actually was. So I largely view this sock-puppetry as an annoying waste of everyone's time. Had that section not irked me so, I would have given the story 3 stars, but still given the reader 2. Not the worst reader, but probably in the bottom five.