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Wednesday, Oct 27, 2021
Outlook.com

It Takes A Quake To Tango

The old Liberal Order is under great stress from global economic convulsions. Desai runs through the past century to provide its socio-political context.

It Takes A Quake To Tango
Photograph by Getty Images
It Takes A Quake To Tango
outlookindia.com
2017-09-02T10:39:03+05:30

Politic Shock is a breezy canter that reviews more recent macro developments in politics and economics and examines the rise of Modi and Trump and what this means for liberal dem­ocracy. Identifying the year 2016 as one of seminal import, the author, a Labour party Peer in the House of Lords, poses a question as to whether it will be “marked in history as the year when there was a dramatic political shift across the world?.... When the Old Order—the Liberal Order, which had set the agenda over the previous fifty years—had a number of reverses?”

In six pithy chapters Desai embarks on a sweeping survey that locates the history of the Liberal Order (LO) in 1917, the year which marked the entry of the US into the First World War, as also the Bolshevik Revo­lution—events that symbolised the waning of “European domination”. The first chapter is the most substantive and reviews the last century when “the Old Order collapsed”. In broad brushstrokes, Desai glides from 1918 through the Great Depression of 1929 and strings the more significant political and economic developments right down to April 2017.

These include a thumbnail of the Cold War and US-Soviet rivalry; the anomalous denouement in December 1991; the rise of an Islamic theocracy in Iran; a sweep of the US as the sole superpower; the Balkan nightmare and the ambitious attempt to create a European Union; the rise of China and the late ‘90s Asian fin­ancial crisis; Islam as a challenge to the LO; the enormity of 9/11 and the global war on terror; the challenge to globalisation and multi-cultural tolerance. The final sweep is a panoramic tour of the Lehman Brothers crisis that erupted on September 15, 2008, and how “things fall apart”, leading to the crisis in the Eurozone and the current ‘Reckoning’ within...

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