Open in the App Open in the App Open in the App
Get the key ideas from

Us vs. Them

The Failure of Globalism

By Ian Bremmer
15-minute read
Audio available
Us vs. Them: The Failure of Globalism by Ian Bremmer

Us vs. Them (2018) explores how globalism has created both winners and losers and explains how the losers are now looking to set things right. In countries from the United States to China, from Venezuela to Turkey, unhappy citizens are making new demands of their governments, and populist politicians are promising easy answers. Us vs. Them offers a lucid take on the forces disrupting societies around the world and suggests potential solutions for the future.

  • Anyone interested in understanding populist forces and their origins
  • People concerned about the impact of robots on the workforce and society
  • Readers interested in foreign affairs and political science

Ian Bremmer is a leading thinker on global affairs. He is the president and founder of the Eurasia Group, a successful global political-risk consultancy, and is a weekly columnist for Time magazine. He has published ten books including the bestseller, The End of the Free Market: Who Wins the War Between States and Corporations?

Go Premium and get the best of Blinkist

Upgrade to Premium now and get unlimited access to the Blinkist library. Read or listen to key insights from the world’s best nonfiction.

Upgrade to Premium

What is Blinkist?

The Blinkist app gives you the key ideas from a bestselling nonfiction book in just 15 minutes. Available in bitesize text and audio, the app makes it easier than ever to find time to read.

Discover
3,000+ top
nonfiction titles

Get unlimited access to the most important ideas in business, investing, marketing, psychology, politics, and more. Stay ahead of the curve with recommended reading lists curated by experts.

Join Blinkist to get the key ideas from
Get the key ideas from
Get the key ideas from

Us vs. Them

The Failure of Globalism

By Ian Bremmer
  • Read in 15 minutes
  • Audio & text available
  • Contains 9 key ideas
Upgrade to Premium Read or listen now
Us vs. Them: The Failure of Globalism by Ian Bremmer
Synopsis

Us vs. Them (2018) explores how globalism has created both winners and losers and explains how the losers are now looking to set things right. In countries from the United States to China, from Venezuela to Turkey, unhappy citizens are making new demands of their governments, and populist politicians are promising easy answers. Us vs. Them offers a lucid take on the forces disrupting societies around the world and suggests potential solutions for the future.

Key idea 1 of 9

Globalism has created economic winners and losers and an “us vs. them” mentality.

For decades, Western political leaders have promoted globalism: the flow of ideas, commerce, services and people across borders.

Globalism makes economies more efficient by moving production and operations to parts of the world where the people and materials are cheaper. That has helped people everywhere get wealthier – consumers in rich nations get cheaper goods on shop shelves, and workers in developing nations get access to new jobs.

But there have also been many losers, as companies have moved jobs abroad or simply automated them. Since 1979, for example, the US has lost almost 40 percent of its factory jobs. The American middle class, traditionally the country’s economic majority, is declining. In 1970, middle-income households earned 62 percent of income in the United States. In 2014, that number was 43 percent.

These impacts of globalism are having an effect on our society and politics. A growing sense of economic insecurity is driving dissatisfaction, and, in turn, populist movements.

For example, polling conducted in 2015 found that only 6 percent of people in the United States, 4 percent in Britain and 3 percent in France believed the state of the world was getting better.

Populist politicians of the left and right are tapping into this sense of frustration with an “us vs. them" message. It sets "us" against "them" – "us" being the working and middle classes, and "them" being elites, immigrants, or both.

You can see this “us vs. them” paradigm from the left, when Senator Bernie Sanders or the Greek leftist prime minister Alexis Tsipras talk of big corporations, exploitative bankers and the political elite.

From the right, we’ve seen how the impact of globalism, and, in particular, the sense of a threat to American jobs, has helped propel Trump into office. Trump was able to talk plainly to voters angry that their factories were shuttered, and jobs lost; while bankers in New York and politicians in Washington appeared to thrive, and Mexican and other Latin American immigrants found new opportunities.

And though French far-right populist Marine Le Pen may not have won the French presidency in 2017, her election campaign looked a lot like Trump’s. She called for a “revolution” against open borders and the incoming foreigners supposedly stealing French jobs.

As the popularity of figures like Le Pen indicates, this sense of us vs. them is not purely about jobs, but also about culture and nationality. Let’s take a closer look.

Upgrade to continue Read or listen now

Key ideas in this title

Upgrade to continue Read or listen now

No time to
read?

Pssst. Sign up to your secret to success: key ideas from top nonfiction in just 15 minutes.
Created with Sketch.