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Us vs. Them: The Failure of Globalism

3.54  ·  Rating details ·  880 ratings  ·  108 reviews
"A cogent analysis of the concurrent Trump/Brexit phenomena and a dire warning about what lies ahead...a lucid, provocative book." --Kirkus Reviews

Those who championed globalization once promised a world of winners, one in which free trade would lift all the world's boats, and extremes of left and right would give way to universally embraced liberal values. The past few
Kindle Edition, 208 pages
Published April 24th 2018 by Portfolio
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May 10, 2018 rated it it was ok
An executive summary of platitudes framed as if they'll blow your mind. If you have functioning eyes and a subscription to the Guardian, you'll be able to spit this shit out in your sleep.
Matt Schiavenza
May 08, 2018 rated it it was ok
Ian Bremmer's latest book is a breezy tour d'horizon of contemporary global affairs that offers little fresh insight and makes no real argument. The theme, such as there is one, is that populist movements have gained power across the world and that the neoliberal moment that emerged in the '90s is coming to an end. What's next? Bremmer offers a few possibilities but refuses to make any predictions or even state a preference.

There was a time when Bremmer was an incisive analyst of global
Ryan Rommann
May 05, 2018 rated it did not like it
I generally like Bremmer's books (G-Zero, End of the Free Market, J-curve etc) but this book seemed lazy. It didn't seem well thought out nor researched. Very little in Us vs Them will strike you as enlightening, if you've been alive the past 2 years. His other books have a rather novel idea that is well argued. This idea isn't well argued and sure as hell isn't novel. I would have preferred a much deeper analysis of public perceptions on things like Brexit, TPP or Schengen. Instead it is a few ...more
Gary Moreau
Apr 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
Really, a 4.5.

The “us/them” division is global in scale and catastrophic in scope. It is already testing our civility, our security, our cultural identity, and our commitment to the ideals of democracy. But you already know that.

This is the latest in a growing list of books that seeks to understand why the we/they divide exists without, to its credit, falling into the trap of using the data to simply fan the fires of partisan division. Bremmer has a political agenda (we all do), and he’s no fan
Jul 21, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Read it in two sittings. For all of Bremmer's qualities as a thinker and writer (and there are many), this book glosses over the great inflection point of our time without any real offered insight. Disappointing....
Nancy Mills
Feb 13, 2019 rated it liked it
Easy reading and makes some good points. I found myself saying "well, duh!" many times. The stuff just seems so obvious. But apparently it isn't obvious to our elected officials who are either hopelessly dumb or are more interested in their own well-being that that if their people.
Nov 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
In a way, there is nothing new here if you follow the news, but in another way, there is. In a relatively short book, the author addresses the political, economic, environmental, and social pressures for various developing countries and predicts where it will lead them. There is a particular emphasis on the impact that AI will have on the global community. Just when you start to get really depressed, he ends with some examples of hope. In a nutshell, we have to get our act together, not just in ...more
Excellent analysis of the political, economic, and cultural problems facing the world. However, Bremmer's solutions slip into Progressive/Socialist cant failing to fully grasp human psychology and the immensity of the problem facing the OECD and emerging nations now and in the near future.

As an explanation of the problem, this is a good book but the solutions are socialist idealism...or very nearly this.

Worth a look, but not a serious one.

Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars
Amy C.
Jun 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
Ian Bremmer expertly elucidates the shortcomings of globalism in this miniature guide. With the ascension of political polarization occurring in both industrialized and developing countries, a world in which the government ensures egalitarianism rather than tribalism is more imperative than ever, as Bremmer decisively states in this concise analysis of the globe's discrete governments.
Michael Huang
Unless you were living in a cave for a while, this book summarizes what you saw in the news.

The increasing globalism didn't benefit everybody equally. Automation further intensified the inequity. Those who suffered made the populist movements gain traction. Le Pen didn't win but it was close. Trump did. And so on.

Towards the end, there is finally some policy prescription. We need to give people the chance to learn -- in a life-long process.
Amanda Hunsberger
Jul 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Could've used more detail in certain areas, but overall a good summary of the current state of affairs. Did not go much into possible solutions.
Apr 30, 2019 rated it liked it
Watch a detailed review along with my favorite ideas and takeaways at:
Tom Walsh
Jun 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018-books
Bremmer knows today’s World

I’ve always been a follower of Ian Bremmer’s analyses of the state of the world’s governments. Here again he has painted a picture of a Populist plague gradually infecting America, The EU and Eastern Europe. No doubt it will blanket the rest of the developed world if we cannot meet its challenge. Us vs Them tries to explain and empathize with the people Globalization has left behind. His analysis is unbiased and well-reasoned and deserves a hearing.

The book is
Aug 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
For a short bird's eye view of the entire geopolitical landscape, it's quite impressive. From Brazil to Russia to Hungary to China, Bremmer shows the politics of the Us vs. Them. This is not a detailed analysis of anything; it's a telegram. The book also manages to cover the imminent changes in economy, i. e., the advent of artificial intelligence and the disruptions that will follow. I was interested in what seemed to be a (typically American) optimistic last chapter, "How to Solve This", but, ...more
Eddie Choo
Apr 26, 2018 rated it liked it
A summary of developments

Ian Bremmer describes the tendencies that have caused ruptures in the politics of major countries. He takes a politics-first view and describes how trends might affect the politics-society relationship. Provides a good overview of the developments, but not much else.
Nathanael Roy
Nov 28, 2018 rated it it was ok
Ian Bremmer is a political scientist specializing in US foreign policy, and to his credit he does help illuminate the big picture by traveling to several regions of the world and demonstrating how the other is defined throughout the world. He lays out in broad strokes the trouble with society being defined along ideological, cultural, religious, and immigrant lines and how those divisions increasingly define our politics in a globalist world. He suggests that while globalism (neoliberalism) has ...more
Anurag Mishra
Some aspects been covered but more like science , space, pharma industries have not been talked about . Even it mainly limits itself in comparing China and USA with a little light on some other developing countries
Michael Hames
Oct 17, 2018 rated it it was ok
I found this book to be a really tough slog to read and it didn’t really provide any solutions. Just raised issues. Not sure i could recommend this book to anyone else.
May 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book and Amy Chua’s Political Tribes are the two that did most to help me understand what is going on in the world today. I found both highly illuminating, and each in its way provided insights new to me. I obviously don’t agree with the negative reviews for this book.
Dec 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I wasn't prepared to admire this book, afraid that it would attack things that I hold dear, including welcoming immigrants a la the words on the Statue of Liberty and a less nationalistic world. However, Bremmer's steely but thoughtful analysis of how we arrived at this point in history and what its defining characteristics are is compelling. It was strangely heartening to read about the ways in which the disfunction and toxic divisions that are present in America are also present in many other ...more
John DeRosa
Jul 04, 2018 rated it did not like it
Seems a mere regurgitation of a close reading of newspaper and magazine reporting
May 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The Future Will Be Here

Thought provoking and easy to understand. This made me see through someone else’s eyes. And made me realize I am not alone in my fear, that all of us are feeling our way in the dark.
The future is coming, what it is and how we live in it. That’s the question.
Jefferson Costa
Oct 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
If you want to understand the tools being used in politics to communicate, this book will help you.
Apr 28, 2018 rated it it was ok
Ian Bremmer remains a strong story-teller, doing what he's always done best - expressing crystal-clear concepts and thoughts, and presenting International Relations for non-specialists.

Yet the book is short, covers a billion ideas very superficially, and is some weird combination of examples from the last 18 months. Basically, if you've been reading any newspapers in the last 1-2 years, you're unlikely to hear any particularly deep new analysis.

Unfortunately, the book is disappointing...
Burt Schoeppe
Jun 13, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: business, political
Terrible. Really, really bad.

Didn't get what the purpose of this book was. Instead of dismissing populism, perhaps a real attempt at understanding why it is becoming more prevalent in the world. Instead of dismissing Donald Trump, perhaps an acknowledgment of why he succeeded. It's as if Bremmer considers himself a coastal elite. Don't you have to be successful to be elite?

This book perfectly summarizes the pomposity of Goodreads reviews. The more pompous and self-absorbed the review of this
Fraser Kinnear
Sep 12, 2018 rated it liked it
A mixed bag for me. Much of the book is marinating you in statistics that provide context for how inequality and a feeling of insecurity in the US and abroad are creating fragility in our governments and societies. Early on, Bremmer summarizes the problem we appear to be facing in the coming decade: "It is not rising China, a new Cold War, the future of Europe, or the risk of a global cyber conflict that will define our societies. It's the efforts of the 'losers' not to get 'fucked over', and ...more
Ken Hamner
Aug 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Excellent book. It describes many of the failures, or at least limited success of the multilateral trade agreements. It doesn't condone protectionism, but it rightly points out that many of the US trading partners engage in activity that is protectionist and nationalist while professing to embrace free trade. The book is critical of Trump, but also rightly summarizes the impact of globalization on the American middle class which gave rise to much of why Trump won the election. Those factors ...more
Jul 29, 2018 rated it it was ok
Maybe I had high hopes for this book, but the truth is that it’s full of common knowledge ideas that most of us already read in the reference newspapers. There is little fresh content here unfortunately.
May 02, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: junk
Globalism. Capitalism. It is amusing to see Bremmer fluctuate from considering each -ism an anthropomorphic entity with a will of its own to making each -ism some sort of label of a greater conspiracy. Sadly, the text gets boring quickly.
Cathryn Conroy
Dec 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
Be afraid. Be very afraid. That is exactly how I felt after reading this cogent book that explains why the "us vs. them" thinking that currently pervades virtually all nations on Earth will hurt us all politically and financially sooner or later.

And even though it isn't the primary point of the book, the lucid and forceful arguments laid out by author Ian Bremmer succinctly and understandably explain why Donald J. Trump won election as president of the United States in 2016 and why the
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Ian Bremmer (born November 12, 1969) is an American political scientist specializing in US foreign policy, states in transition, and global political risk. He is the president and founder of Eurasia Group, a leading global political risk research and consulting firm, and a professor at Columbia University. Eurasia Group provides financial, corporate, and government clients with information and ...more
“In American and European politics, “them” is often an immigrant hoping to come inside—the Mexican or Central American migrant hoping to enter the United States or the Middle Eastern/North African Muslim refugee hoping to live in Germany, France, Britain, or Sweden. In poorer countries, especially those with borders drawn by colonizers, “them” is often the ethnic, religious, or sectarian minorities with roots that are older than the borders themselves. Think of Muslims in India, in western China, or in the Caucasus region of Russia. Sunni Muslims in Iraq or Shia Muslims in Saudi Arabia. Think of Christians in Egypt or Kurds in Turkey. Think of Chinese and other ethnic minorities in Indonesia and Malaysia. There are many more examples. These groups become easy targets when times are hard and a politician looks to make a name for himself at their expense.” 2 likes
“There are many reasons why the tech revolution will hit the emerging world much harder than it will hit Europe and the United States. In developed countries, children are more likely to grow up with digital technologies as toys and then to encounter them in school. Governments in these countries have money to invest in educational systems that prepare workers, both blue and white collar, for change. Their universities have much greater access to state-of-the-art technologies. Their companies produce the innovations that drive tech change in the first place. This creates a dynamic in which high-wage countries are more likely than low-wage ones to dominate the skill-intensive industries that will generate twenty-first-century growth, leaving behind large numbers of those billion-plus people who only recently emerged from age-old deprivation. The wealth in developed countries helps them maintain much stronger social safety nets than in poorer countries to help citizens who lose their jobs, fall ill, or need to care for sick children or aging parents. In short, wealthier countries are both more adaptable and more resilient than developing ones.” 1 likes
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