Zakaria’s “The Rise of the Rest”

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“The Rise of the Rest,” by Fareed Zakaria, examines the impact of the growth of emerging economies on America's influence. The country will not lose its importance as a superpower, according to the author, but the emergence of other nations, such as the BRIC economies, means that America will no longer be in a position to wield extreme control compared to the developing powers. The nation's military, school system, infrastructure, and political influence have all greatly helped the rest of the world. Since the world is now interconnected and industrialized as a result of globalization, the fall of one economy will influence many others. America’s economy plays a key role in the performance of other world economies, the country should reevaluate its power strategy and shift from hard to soft power, to be able to control and manage the politics, cultures, and languages of the rising economies.

There have been three fundamental power shifts in the last 500 years. These distributions of power have reshaped international politics, cultures, economics, and lives of people. The first rise occurred in the fifteenth to eighteenth century in the Western world. It produced modernity in commerce, capitalism, science, technology, and the industrial and agricultural revolution (Burns 644). Moreover, it prolonged the political supremacy of the western nation. The second shift was the rise of the united country, which it took place in the early nineteenth century. After colonization, the United States became a powerful nation after the Imperial Roman Empire. It has dominated the global politics, economics, culture, and science. In the past two decades, the domination has been unrivaled, a phenomenon, which was unpredicted in modern history. The third significant power shift that we are now living in is called “The rise of the rest.” Due to globalization, countries around the world have experienced tremendous economic growth and political maturity. Nations are realizing the importance of democracy and all these is credited to America’s initiatives. The nation has also been instrumental in promoting world peace and countering terrorism through its military force so that the world economy can thrive under a peaceful atmosphere. Growth and development has been more visible in the Asian countries, and more than two-thirds of the nations in the African continent. Antoine van Agtmael, the pioneer of the term “emerging markets,” has pointed out approximately 25 companies that are likely to be large multinationals located in parts of Asia, South America, and Asia (Burns 644).

The rise of various nations, for instance, China, is the primary reason why the United States needs to change its power approaches by embracing cosmopolitanism and outward orientation. All the best corporations, the tallest buildings, equipment, and tools typically came from America, but this is gradually changing. Currently, the UAE has the world’s tallest building, a Mexican man is the world’s richest person, and a Chinese corporation is the country’s most traded company, while Bollywood has overtaken Hollywood as the world’s leading film industry in both ticket sales and movie making (Zakaria n.p).

Furthermore, the international political sphere is also changing. In the mid to the late 19th century, Europe was a force to reckon. A number of nations in the region were civilized earlier and they used their advantage to wage wars, conquer, colonize and shift alliances in many countries. The Cold War stabilized different nations. America became superior during this period due to its wealth and military strength. However, the period of unipolarity is slowly changing with countries such as China rising to be some of the leading global economies. Such nations are using their resources to influence the politics and economies of other nations; so, America must put them into consideration when making global decisions. Furthermore, globalization is directly related to cosmopolitanism and outward orientation; so, an American who settles for such characteristics will enhance their moral development and commitment to social justice issues. Such a person always feels at home in every country, appreciates the nation’s culture and seeks to improve the situation for better sustainability.

America has appeared supportive of other nations through its foreign policies, for example, it played a significant role in bettering countries such as Haiti, Philippines, Iraq, and Vietnam. The nation takes pride in such initiatives. However, China has risen and is now extending loans and grants to developing nations to show support as well. China’s use of soft power is a threat to America. Thus, the nation finds it difficult to accommodate such achievements, especially the one being made by the emerging economies. Being the world’s superpower, Britain was in the same position as the U.S., and during its reign in India, the nation believed that the colony could only be safer with their presence.

India has risen to be among the leading global economies, which is concrete indication that the days of America dictating global policies without consulting other nations are slowly fading away. The United States is on the same course as Europe and this is also portrayed in the number jobs being transferred from the nation to other states such as China and India. Andy Grove, the Founder of Intel asserted that the U.S. is in jeopardy of following Europe down the tubes (Zakaria n.p). Consequently, as the nations prosper, the Americans are losing significant industries to such countries. The U.S. government has become progressively indebted to Asian central banks, and its people have stopped saving money.

Although the U.S. is facing challenges, the country is still registering economic growth. These trends have been there for a while, and they have helped America’s lowermost lines. Over the past twenty years, outsourcing and globalization have accelerated colossally. The country has an average annual growth rate of 3%, which is higher than that of France and Germany. Additionally, for the past decade, productivity has increased by 2.5% (Zakaria n.p). Thus, the nation remains the most competitive economy in the globally. Furthermore, the U.S is a leading center of innovation around the world, the second largest spender in R&D to enhance the quality of goods and services, and the ninth country in technology advancement. On the other hand, China does not fall in any of these categories since it centers more on product duplication and marketing (Zakaria n.p).

The US expects intense competition in future and the social and economic systems are gradually adjusting to the changes. The changes must take place and none of its political systems can control any of the changes taking place around the world. Most American people are certain about the adjustments taking place. For instance, the business environment is slowly changing to guarantee continuity. US companies are adopting cost reduction policies and procedures to remain profitable amid competition with the Chinese products. Further, multinational companies are extending their tentacles to emerging economies while some are shifting their headquarters to such states in a bid to enhance their market share and profitability. The Americans can only achieve this dream if they are outward oriented. This means they will be able to appreciate other non-U.S companies setting up subsidiaries and thriving in the country (Zakaria n.p).

In addition, a cosmopolitan American will have the freedom to leave their prestigious universities to study in foreign countries as a way of interacting with different cultures and getting to know the politics, cultures, and languages of such economies. In the process, they may learn ways of engraining themselves in the global economy. Although the average American has not embraced this, but it is one of the primary methods, the nation may utilize to tackle its challenges (Nussbaum n.p).

Nussbaum indicates that may Americans are swept their patriotism pride, which is good but is also morally risky. According to the author, “to worship a country as a god is to bring a curse upon it” (Nussbaum n.p). However, the author asserts that the nation can focus on building national unity by acquiring moral ideals of equality and justice, which is also a reflection of cosmopolitanism (Nussbaum n.p). The citizen of United States may learn that they ought to respect fundamental human rights, which are provided by the law of the nation. They should also learn good ideals regularly and learn to align with the rest of the world, especially the emerging economies such as BRIC, in order to overcome the challenges stated by Zakaria.

Another argument that Nussbaum put across is that cosmopolitanism seeks to understand variances in dialogical and deliberative manner, the distinctiveness of politics of multicultural education, the models of alternative cultural instructions, and the competing market ideas and the continuously struggling for power (Nussbaum). Behavioral and value differences should be perceived as elements that are accepted and affirmed rather than criticized and consistently being challenged by leaders who are hungry for power. Cosmopolitanism and outward orientation will ensure such problems are bridged. Multicultural learning will seeks to teach an average American to learn to appreciate other persons’ or nations’ cultures and languages so tackle the challenges affecting them (Nussbaum n.p).

Nussbaum also argues that Cosmopolitan citizenship should be encouraged because it helps in promoting better diplomatic relationships and as a result, strengthens the world’s economy as America will still be exercising its powers but in a soft manner. Thus, the nation, by the virtue of being a superpower, will be well positioned to influence policies in foreign soils with minimum conflicts and use of its military strength (Nussbaum n.p).

Works Cited

Burns, Anthony. "Nussbaum, Cosmopolitanism and Contemporary Political Problems." International Journal of Social Economics. 40.7 (2013): 648-662.

Nussbaum, Martha C. “Philosophy and Religion: Patriotism and Cosmopolitanism.” Boston Review, 1994. Accessed on December 6, 2017.

Zakaria, Fareed. The Post-American World: Release 2.0. New York: W.W. Norton, 2012, pp. 1-12.

January 13, 2023

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