The Newest New Map
Thanks for discussing this book here and in a future post (but I couldn't comment on that one?).
One of the key themes Zeihan makes over and over are the unique 'geographies of success' enjoyed by America. This is something we Americans would do well to internalize. Many of us have no idea how 'big' (I'm sure there's a better word) we are compared to every other country in the world. Its worth reading the book just to understand these imo.
A few American advantages (an exhaustive list is interesting, but long):
- best inland navigable water network in the world
- reliable agriculture due to the Jet Stream and seasonal rainfall. Yay Midwest! It turns out that growing your own food as globalization is ending is a big deal.
- proximity to Mexico for labor variation.
- demographics aren't awful. American Baby Boomers had kids, unlike much of the rest of the world.
- oceans on both sides gives us time to sort out our internal problems.
- world's cheapest electricity from shale revolution
- our delayed and staged upgrading process is way cheaper - its a feature not a bug.
One point I wish he had clarified: We have treaties, especially military alliances like NATO, that keep us connected to the rest of the world. It is not clear to me how we turn our backs on worldwide partners in their moment of need. Maybe though, it comes down to who is our Commander in Chief when the shiznit hits the fan?
Also interesting is Zeihan's contention that America will emerge more dominant and powerful after the dust settles in another 50-100 years, mostly because nobody else will still be standing. He points out this will be the first time in history that a world power survives the transition to a new era.