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The Post-American World

About.com Rating 4 Star Rating


Financial District

Financial District (Credit:Mario Tama/Getty Images)

The Bottom Line

The Post-American World by Fareed Zakaria. 292 pages.

Zakaria argues correctly that the economic shift occurring in the world is now more important than politics or even terrorism in impacting the future of the U.S. The American focus on "The War on Terror" takes its focus from maintaining its economic position, while only contributing 4.1% to GDP. The maintenance of a functioning global economy has superseded politics and national boundaries.


  • Provides a good argument for why economics is more of a threat to U.S. than terrorism
  • Very enjoyable read.
  • Well researched and knowledgeable.
  • Very clear.


  • Could provide more detailed proposal for American competitiveness.
  • Title is a little misleading, as he also argues that America will still be a world leader.


  • Chapter 1. The Rise of the Rest.
  • Chapter 2. The Cup Runneth Over.
  • Chapter 3. A Non-Western World.
  • Chapter 4. The Challenger.
  • Chapter 5. The Ally.
  • Chapter 6. American Power.
  • Chapter 7. American Purpose.

Guide Review - The Post-American World

This is an excellent book that discusses why America is being eclipsed in world economic power. For example, there are 124 countries around the world whose annual GDP growth rate is 4% or more, and 30 of them are in Africa. The world's largest shopping mall is in Beijing, and the U.S. only has one of the world's top ten malls. The United Arab Emirates has the world's most richly endowed investment fund. India has overtaken Hollywood in the number of movies being made and tickets beings sold, and Macao has overtaken Las Vegas as the gambling capital of the world. Ten years ago, the U.S. was the top of the list.

The U.S. was the world's largest economy from 1885 to 2007, when the EU replaced it. Even so, the U.S. has and will continue to contribute 20% of the world's GDP. The U.S. leads in nano- and bio-technology, both of which are leading-edge industries. That's because eight of the top ten universities in the world are in the U.S. As a result, the U.S. leads in the most profitable ends of the product process: the front end of innovation and industrial design, and the back end of marketing. China and other developing nations lead in manufacturing, which is the least profitable middle.

Zakaria attributes much of the U.S. dynamism to it immigration. Immigrants and their children account for 50% of science researchers and half of all Silicon Valley start-ups. He argues that the U.S. must not close its borders if it is to remain competitive.

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