Why did the West, after winning the Cold War, lose its political balance?
In this brilliant work of political history, Ivan Krastev and Stephen Holmes argue that the supposed end of Communism turned out to be only the beginning of the age of the autocrat. Reckoning with the history of the last thirty years, they show that the most powerful force behind the wave of populist xenophobia that began in Eastern Europe stems from resentment at the post-1989 imperative to become Westernized. The Light That Failed is a landmark book that sheds light on the extraordinary history of the fall of the Western ideal and the crisis of liberalism.
Krastev, IVAN and Holmes, STEPHEN, The Light that Failed: Why the West is Losing the Fight for Democracy, Penguin 2019
In the third book of his monumental trilogy, Jared Diamond reveals how successful nations recover from crises while adopting selective changes – a coping mechanism more commonly associated with individuals recovering from personal crises.
Diamond compares how six countries have survived recent upheavals — ranging from the forced opening of Japan by U.S. Commodore Perry’s fleet, to the Soviet Union’s attack on Finland, to a murderous coup or countercoup in Chile and Indonesia, to the transformations of Germany and Austria after World War Two. These nations coped, to varying degrees, through mechanisms such as acknowledgment of responsibility, painfully honest self-appraisal, and learning from models of other nations. Looking to the future, Diamond examines whether the United States, Japan, and the whole world are successfully coping with the grave crises they currently face. Can we learn from lessons of the past?
Diamond, JARED, Upheavel: Turning Points for Nations in Crisis, Little Brown & Co 2019
It is worse, much worse, than you think. The slowness of climate change is a fairy tale, perhaps as pernicious as the one that says it isn’t happening at all.
If your anxiety about it is dominated by fears of sea-level rise, you are barely scratching the surface of what terrors are possible, even within the lifetime of a teenager today. But however sanguine you might be about the proposition that we have ravaged the natural world, which we surely have, it is another thing entirely to consider the possibility that we have only provoked it, engineering first in ignorance and then in denial a climate system that will now go to war with us for many centuries, perhaps until it destroys us. In the meantime, it will remake us, transforming every aspect of the way we live – the planet no longer nurturing a dream of abundance, but a living nightmare.
Wallace-Wells, DAVID, The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming, Penguin Books 2019
Our ethics need to adapt to a new reality: our relationship with intelligent machines. [BOOK ONLY IN SPANISH]
The arrival of advanced artificial intelligence puts into question our supposed superior intelligence, our essence, and our place in the world. José Ignacio Latorre reflects on the ethics we must apply to highly advanced technologies as they make decisions for us. Our responsibility is to leave them a human legacy.
Latorre, JOSÉ IGNACIO, Ética para máquinas, Editorial Ariel 2019
Did political correctness cause Trump´s or Brexit´s victory? Is the new Left and its discourse on cosmopolitanism and diversity responsible for the rise of the ultra-Right? [BOOK ONLY IN SPANISH]
In this book, Ricardo Dudda breaks down why political correctness dominates political debates and obsesses populist movements. He believes that the concept has turned into a double-edged sword: it defines a cultural attitude and at the same time it is a form of controlling public opinion. Political correctness may be rooted in civics and respect to minority groups, but it is ridden with euphemisms and vacuous rhetoric.
Dudda, RICARDO, La verdad de la tribu: La corrección política y sus enemigos, Editorial Debate 2019
A versatile, wide-lens study of immigration policy and demography worldwide.
In this ambitious study, Anna K. Boucher and Justin Gest present a unique analysis of immigration governance across thirty countries. Relying on a database of immigration demographics in the world’s most important destinations, they present a novel taxonomy and an analysis of what drives different approaches to immigration policy over space and time. In an era defined by inequality, populism, and fears of international terrorism, they find that governments are converging toward a ‘Market Model’ that seeks immigrants for short-term labor with fewer outlets to citizenship – an approach that resembles the increasingly contingent nature of labor markets worldwide.
Gest, JUSTIN and Boucher, Anna K., Crossroads: Comparative Immigration Regimes in a World of Demographic Change, Cambridge University Press 2018
What moral values do human beings hold in common? As globalization draws us together economically, are our values converging or diverging? In particular, are human rights becoming a global ethic?
The Ordinary Virtues presents Ignatieff’s discoveries and his interpretation of what globalization―and resistance to it―is doing to our conscience and our moral understanding. Ignatieff finds that while human rights may be the language of states and liberal elites, the moral language that resonates with most people is that of everyday virtues: tolerance, forgiveness, trust, and resilience. Ordinary virtues, he concludes, are antitheoretical and anti-ideological. They can be cheerfully inconsistent. When order breaks down and conflicts break out, they are easily exploited for a politics of fear and exclusion―reserved for one’s own group and denied to others. But they are also the key to healing, reconciliation, and solidarity on both a local and a global scale.
Ignatieff, MICHAEL, The Ordinary Virtues: Moral Order in a Divided World, Harvard University Press 2017
From one of the most internationally admired political thinkers, a controversial polemic on the failures of identity politics and what comes next for the left — in America and beyond.
The Once and Future Liberal is a passionate plea to liberals to turn from the divisive politics of identity and develop a vision of the future that can persuade all citizens that they share a common destiny. Driven by a sincere desire to protect society’s most vulnerable, the left has unwittingly balkanized the electorate, encouraged self-absorption rather than solidarity, and invested its energies in social movements rather than party politics. Identity-focused individualism has insidiously conspired with amoral economic individualism to shape an electorate with little sense of a shared future and near-contempt for the idea of the common good. A fiercely argued, important book, enlivened by acerbic wit and erudition.
Lilla, MARK, The Once and Future Liberal: After Identity Politics, Harper Paperbacks 2018
“A study in creativity: how to define it, how to achieve it…Most important, it is a powerful story of an exhilarating mind and life” (The New Yorker).
Based on thousands of pages from Leonardo da Vinci’s astonishing notebooks and new discoveries about his life and work, Walter Isaacson “deftly reveals an intimate Leonardo” (San Francisco Chronicle) in a narrative that connects his art to his science. He shows how Leonardo’s genius was based on skills we can improve in ourselves, such as passionate curiosity, careful observation, and an imagination so playful that it flirted with fantasy.
Isaacson, WALTER, Leonardo Da Vinci, Simon & Schuster 2017
A personal and urgent examination of Fascism in the twentieth century and how its legacy shapes today’s world, written by one of America’s most admired public servants, the first woman to serve as U.S. secretary of state.
A Fascist, observes Madeleine Albright, ‘is someone who claims to speak for a whole nation or group, is utterly unconcerned with the rights of others, and is willing to use violence and whatever other means are necessary to achieve the goals he or she might have.’ The twentieth century was defined by the clash between democracy and Fascism, a struggle that created uncertainty about the survival of human freedom and left millions of innocent people dead. Given the horrors of that experience, one might expect the world to reject the spiritual successors to Hitler and Mussolini should they arise in our era. In Fascism: A Warning, Madeleine Albright, draws on her own experiences as a child in war-torn Europe and her distinguished career as a diplomat to question that very assumption.
Albright, MADELEINE, Fascism: A Warning, William Collins 2018
A sounding alarm on the mathematical models that pervade modern life and threaten to rip apart our social fabric.
We live in the age of the algorithm. Increasingly, the decisions that affect our lives—where we go to school, whether we get a car loan, how much we pay for health insurance—are being made not by humans, but by mathematical models. In theory, this should lead to greater fairness: Everyone is judged according to the same rules, and bias is eliminated. But as Cathy O’Neil reveals in this urgent and necessary book, the opposite is true. The models being used today are opaque, unregulated, and uncontestable, even when they’re wrong. Most troubling, they reinforce discrimination: If a poor student can’t get a loan because a lending model deems him too risky (by virtue of his zip code), he’s then cut off from the kind of education that could pull him out of poverty, and a vicious spiral ensues. Welcome to the dark side of Big Data.
O´Neil, CATHY, Weapons of Math Destruction: How Big Data Increases Inequality and Threatens Democracy, Random House 2016
Arsuaga, TERESA, El abogado humanista, Civitas 2018
Are we worse-off because of the new ways we work, communicate, and inform ourselves? [BOOK ONLY IN SPANISH]
According to Belén Barreiro, the digital revolution has divided us into four groups; digitally well-adapted, digitally impoverished, saved analogues, and failed analogues. Politically, the first group leans towards the Ciudadanos party, the second to Podemos, the third to PP, and the fourth to PSOE. Post-recession, nothing will be the same, and the future is already here.
Barreiro, BELÉN, La sociedad que queremos: Digitales, analógicos, acomodados y empobrecidos, Editorial Planeta 2017
None of us has ever lived through a genuine industrial revolution. Until now.
Digital technology is transforming every corner of the economy, fundamentally altering the way things are done, who does them, and what they earn for their efforts. In The Wealth of Humans, Economist editor Ryan Avent brings up-to-the-minute research and reporting to bear on the major economic question of our time: can the modern world manage technological changes every bit as disruptive as those that shook the socioeconomic landscape of the 19th century. Traveling from Shenzhen, to Gothenburg, to Mumbai, to Silicon Valley, Avent investigates the meaning of work in the twenty-first century: how technology is upending time-tested business models and thrusting workers of all kinds into a world wholly unlike that of a generation ago.
Avent, RYAN, The Wealth of Humans: Work, Power and Status in the Twenty-First Century, St. Martins PR 2016
A provocative analysis of how a new era of global instability has begun, as the flow of wealth and power turns from West to East.
Easternization is the defining trend of our age — the growing wealth of Asian nations is transforming the international balance of power. This shift to the East is shaping the lives of people all over the world, the fate of nations, and the great questions of war and peace. As it becomes clear that the West’s historic power and influence is receding, Gideon Rachman offers a road map to the turbulent process that will define the international politics of the twenty-first century.
Rachman, GIDEON, Easternization: Asia´s Rise and America´s Decline from Obama to Trump and Beyond, Other PR 2017
Politics has been polarized between parties that represent the democratic liberal system and a populism that presents itself as harbringer of change. [BOOK ONLY IN SPANISH]
Populism is not new but it does not have a clear ideaology either. What it proposes to offer is a challenge and an alternative to the politics that have reigned since the post-war. It is a proposal that is especially gripping in the current political climate charachterized by civil fatigue and and increasing divorce between government and the will of the people. This book takes a look at populism, its charachteristics, varieties, the conditions that nurture it, and the tell-tale examples of the last years in the USA, France, Spain, and more.
Vallespín, FERNANDO y Bascuñán, MÁRIAM M., Populismos, Alianza Editorial 2017
This startling biography explores the remarkable life of an iconic figure of the twentieth century, Václav Havel, author and dissident, who became the first president of the Czech Republic.
Vaclav Havel: iconoclast and philosopher king, an internationally successful playwright who became a political dissident and then, reluctantly, a president. His pivotal role in the Velvet Revolution and the modern Czech Republic makes him a key figure of the twentieth century. Michael Zantovsky was one of Havel’s closest confidants. They lived through the revolution and during Havel’s first presidency Zantovsky was his press secretary, speech writer and translator. Their friendship endured until Havel’s death in 2011, making him a rare witness to this most extraordinary life.
Žantovský, MICHAEL, Havel: A life, Atlantic Books 2014
We increasingly live in our own, unique information universe; what Eli Pariser calls the filter bubble.
In December 2009, Google began customizing its search results for all users, and we entered a new era of personalization. With little notice or fanfare, our online experience is changing, as the websites we visit are increasingly tailoring themselves to us. As a result, we receive mainly news that is pleasant, familiar and confirms our beliefs. Our past interests determine what we are exposed to in the future, leaving less room for the unexpected encounters that spark creativity, innovation and the democratic exchange of ideas. As Pariser reveals, this new trend is nothing short of an invisible revolution in how we consume information, one that will shape how we learn, what we know, and even how our democracy works.
Pariser, ELI, The Filter Bubble: How the New Personalized Web is Changing What We Read and How We Think, Penguin 2012
Michael Sandel’s Justice: What’s the Right Thing to Do? invites readers of all ages and political persuasions on a journey of moral reflection, and shows how reasoned debate can illuminate our lives.
Is it always wrong to lie? Should there be limits to personal freedom? Can killing sometimes be justified? Is the free market fair? What is the right thing to do?Questions like these are at the heart of our lives. In this acclaimed book Michael Sandel – BBC Reith Lecturer and the Harvard professor whose ‘Justice’ course has become world famous – gives us a lively and accessible introduction to the intersection of politics and philosophy. He helps us think our way through such hotly contested issues as equal rights, democracy, euthanasia, abortion and same-sex marriage, as well as the ethical dilemmas we face every day.
Sandel, MICHAEL, Justice: What´s the Right Thing to Do?, Penguin 2010