non-fiction · review

The end of power- from boardrooms to battlefields and churches to states,why being in charge isn’t what it used to be-Moises Naim

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After reading a plethora of fiction, I really wanted to switch over the genre for sometime thereby making use of my time effectively and gain some knowledge.I do agree to the fact that, I got motivated to read this book after I followed Mark Zuckerberg’s year of books which is his goal for this year. I’m not sure whether this blog would be read by anyone or would this page be ever visited, however I would still like to go and provide the book review as part of my regained hobby and also for my own records.This book was one of the heaviest reads so far and I had to literally keep my eyes wide open in order not to fall asleep in terms of the subject and not the size of the book.
The book starts with a personal note from the author apart from the usual contents, preface, dedication pages.He explains as to how he came about to write this book. Moises, with his personal experience in geopolitics in Venezuela, way back in February 1989  had observed that there is an ocean gap between the expected power and the reality.He had to cut the subsidies and raise fuel prices after having landslide victory in the election, but it turned out to be something that is chaos and violence triggered with a limited ability to deploy and mobilize resources .This book talks about the process of decay of power, causes, consequences, manifestations and the limitations that not only impacts the top 1% but also the vast middle class.After reading this book, I understand that the author is a very learned person who has super excellent knowledge about everything under the sun with a majority in politics, business, and the other affairs.
The author describes as to what is interfering with the power in almost most of the scenarios in today’s world that causes everything from the climate change to the nuclear proliferation, economic crises, resource depletion,pandemics,poverty,terrorism,cyber-crime, trafficking and others.He also conveys that micropower entrenched by the small players needs to be sustained due innovation,initiative, despite of areas opening up to extremists, activists and the bad ones and what is the balance that need to be achieved so that there is very less room for vetoes, foot-dragging,diversion and interference by these micro powers.
Over the years, big players are being challenged by the micro powers. He had cited an example of achieving Chess grandmaster status for players under 14 years of age.One Master, James Black Jr, had become a grand master by practicing different moves using the computer program and thereby there is a tremendous increase in the kiddos becoming grand masters unlike earlier. So he does not
come to a conclusion that information technology is the only thing that had eased out the bureaucracy or the power from the big players and the emergence of the micro ones,but many other factors that needs to be watched out in the forthcoming chapters.
He outlines that, the soft power of the culture is displaced by hard power of the armies, power shift from brawn to brain, north to south, west to east, old autocratic corporations to agile start-ups. It is not that power had completely shifted from the former however there is a great amount of power that had been dwindled to the latter thus the president of USA or a CEO of the company has less power unlike before.There are number of countries that embrace democracy than dictatorship.
He also provides examples of how asymmetric wars were won by the weaker side that inflict casualties at a lower cost by improvised explosive devices and how sovereign countries have quadrupled over the years thus apart from competing with each other they have become transnational.
Similar trends have been observed in the business world where the wealth power and status had shifted and the rise of income inequality. After the Great Recession, there was 36.3% drop in the income of the top 1% in USA.Even though the corporate heads earn more, their tenure is tenuous due to a risk of failure.There is a tremendous increase in newcomer companies and the investments in developing countries that were also some of the causes for the change in the billionaires record for every few years.
He says that major foundations have exploded into smaller constellations that also includes expansion of pentecostal churches that holds Vatican, surge in the number of philanthropists, etc.
The one that has changed this entrenchment is the result of barriers that shield incumbents from rivals which earlier prevented new competitors from growing had reinforced unprecedented discoveries and its cumulative effect.
In this book, Naim had majorly explained about how the More, Mobility and Mentality Revolution and how those factors have impacted to make the power subtle. He concludes by suggesting that, there is a need of political innovation and increase in political participation so that the evils like terrorism, the immensely leaping gap between rich and poor dwindles and the like need combatting. Retention of power is a must for an orderly functioning of affairs and to safeguard interests of the citizens of the world.
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