For years former diplomat and academic Kishore Mahbubani has closely studied the changing relationship between Asia and the United States and its consequences in works like Can Asians Think? and The New Asian Hemisphere. In The Great Convergence, his new book, he assesses East and West at a remarkable turning point in world history and reaches an incredible conclusion.
China stands poised to become the world’s largest economy as soon as 2016. Unprecedented numbers of the world’s population, driven by Asian economic growth, are being lifted out of poverty and into the middle class. And with this creation of a world-wide middle class, there is an unprecedented convergence of interests and perceptions, cultures and values: a truly global civilization.
A full 88% of the world’s population lives outside the West and is rising to Western living standards, and sharing Western aspirations. But while the world changes, our way of managing it has not and it must evolve. The Great Convergence outlines new policies and approaches that will be necessary to govern in an increasingly interconnected and complex environment. Multilateral institutions and world-wide governing organizations must be strengthened. National interests must be balanced against global interests. The United States and Europe must share power and China, India, Africa and the Islamic world must be integrated. And the world’s increasing consumption must be balanced against environmental sustainability.
About the Speaker
From 1971 to 2004 Kishore Mahbubani served in the Singapore Foreign Ministry, where he was Permanent Secretary from 1993 to 1998, served twice as Singapore’s Ambassador to the United Nations (UN), and in January 2001 and May 2002 served as President of the UN Security Council.
Mahbubani is the author of Can Asians Think?, Beyond the Age of Innocence: Rebuilding Trust Between America and the World, and The New Asian Hemisphere: the Irresistible Shift of Global Power to the East.
Foreign Policy and Prospect magazines have listed him as one of the top 100 public intellectuals in the world, and in 2009 the Financial Times included him on their list of Top 50 individuals who would shape the debate on the future of capitalism. In 2010 and 2011 he was selected as one of Foreign Policy’s Top Global Thinkers.