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The Myth of America's Decline: Politics, Economics, and a Half Century of False Prophecies [NOOK Book]

Overview

“A bracing and intelligent reminder that, for all its woes, America remains extraordinarily dynamic, innovative, and resilient.”—Fareed Zakaria


Hailed by the Wall Street Journal as one of the best books of 2013, The Myth of America’s Decline is a highly provocative look at how the United States, for all its failings, continues to be the leading business, political, and intellectual model for all other nations. In a world where America bashers constantly chortle that the United States is in decline, Josef Joffe, ...
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The Myth of America's Decline: Politics, Economics, and a Half Century of False Prophecies

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Overview

“A bracing and intelligent reminder that, for all its woes, America remains extraordinarily dynamic, innovative, and resilient.”—Fareed Zakaria


Hailed by the Wall Street Journal as one of the best books of 2013, The Myth of America’s Decline is a highly provocative look at how the United States, for all its failings, continues to be the leading business, political, and intellectual model for all other nations. In a world where America bashers constantly chortle that the United States is in decline, Josef Joffe, using lively historical examples and empirical economic models, demonstrates that these doomsday contentions are flawed, and that America—even when compared with a resurgent China—is the land where the future is being born.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
09/09/2013
Editor of Germany’s esteemed weekly Die Zeit, Joffe (Überpower) builds his latest book around the idea of the U.S. as the world’s “default power.” Joffe rebuts those doomsayers who, over the course of the last half-century, have predicted that American influence was secondary to the Soviet Union, or Japan, and now China. While Joffe’s counter-argument that indeed America is not in relative decline is persuasive on the issue of military power, he sidesteps domestic issues such as education, urban deterioration, and racial conflict. Joffe’s detailed catalogue of economic and civil weaknesses in the Chinese police state is the book’s high point, however, with the author observing that repression has been the Chinese way since the Ming Dynasty. Aggressively capitalistic and resolutely optimistic, Joffe revisits familiar conservative talking points about American vitality, private enterprise, and individual freedom. For readers tired of blame-America-first critics or who want to find out what a smart, influential European thinks of the country’s prospects, Joffe’s book is a useful place to begin. (Nov.)
Bret Stephens - The Wall Street Journal
“Among the pleasures of Mr. Joffe's book is the sheer accumulation of silly comments by smart people about America's many impending dooms….[and his] explanation for why declinism seems to have such a grip on the American mind…. But the heart of the book lies in Mr. Joffe's vivisection of the China myth… [A] lively, convincing, salutary argument.”
James Kirchick - The Daily Beast
“A stirring case against the Fareed Zakaria and Thomas Friedman’s of the world that America is strong and getting stronger…. While acknowledging that anything is possible and America’s best days may yet be behind us, Joffe is adept at explaining the intangible factors that will likely ensure America’s preeminence for ages to come.”
Walter Russell Mead - Foreign Affairs
“Brave and bracing.”
Bret Stephens - Wall Street Journal
“[A] lively, convincing, salutary argument.”
Henry A. Kissinger
“Effectively lays to rest the belief that America has lost its preeminence. . . . A book that should be of interest to all who may be worried about America’s future.”
Joseph S. Nye Jr.
“In lucid and logical style, one of Europe’s leading intellectuals skewers the anti-Americanisms of his compatriots while telling the United States how to survive as the only superpower.”
Fareed Zakaria
“Joseph Joffe has written a bracing and intelligent reminder that, for all its woes, America remains extraordinarily dynamic, innovative and resilient. Pessimists on the left and right should read it carefully, as should all of us.”
Larry Summers
“Joe Joffe is one of the world's keenest geopolitical thinkers. This book is a valuable corrective for those caught up in the latest wave of American declinism.”
Kirkus Reviews
2013-10-03
Think Yankee power is doomed? The answer is no, argues German magazine editor Joffe, even if the patient seems to be running a fever. America, some wag once observed, went from colony to empire without an intervening period of civilization. Even in the colonial era, observers (mostly French) were predicting that the British experiment in North America was doomed to failure. The modern strain of doomsaying, all talk of decadence and collapse, began in the 1950s, "when Decline 1.0 came to grip the land." It did not come to pass, though by Joffe's reckoning, we're in the fifth iteration (Decline 5.0) of the idea that some crisis--Sputnik, Vietnam, the dot-com collapse, the Great Recession--is finally going to put the nation out of business. Joffe considers various metrics, such as the size and extent of America's military, to argue that the nation's power in the world is not diminished. If this argument sometimes seems uncritical--not everyone believes that the nation's treasury should be devoted to war-making--it does a solid enough job of refuting the declinism so feared by the right and perhaps welcomed by some even farther to the right and left. Along the way, Joffe cites some little-discussed statistics, such as the fact that China's aging population and the need for a replenished labor pool to support it fall into "ratios [that] are far worse than any in the West." So much for China as the rising dominant world power. There is no triumphalism here, for Joffe notes that there are plenty of problems for the United States to overcome, such as "the breakdown of bipartisanship…intractable deficits and rising debt…[and] social polarization." Mostly good news, then, with some bad thrown in to balance the picture. Of interest to those with a bent for policy wonkery, geopolitics and demographic trends.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780871407283
  • Publisher: Liveright Publishing Corporation
  • Publication date: 10/29/2013
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 272
  • Sales rank: 484,013
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author

Publisher-editor of Die Zeit and the author of Überpower, Josef Joffe was educated at Swarthmore College and Harvard University. A frequent contributor to Foreign Affairs and Foreign Policy, he is a founding board member of the American Interest. He is a Fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution and the Freeman-Spogli Institute for International Studies.
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