The Future of Almost Everything | Patrick Dixon

Summary of: The Future of Almost Everything: The global changes that will affect every business and all our lives
By: Patrick Dixon

Introduction

Welcome to the summary of ‘The Future of Almost Everything,’ where Patrick Dixon explores the powerful global changes that will shape the future of business and our lives. Within this summary, you will discover how the powerful political trend of democracy has evolved through the years, the role of technology in fostering it, and how it differs from liberty. Examine the origins of liberty, the impact of capitalism, and how weak economic development threatens it. Learn about ‘illiberal democracies’ like Russia and China, and the challenges of democracy in the Middle East. This engaging summary of ‘The Future of Almost Everything’ will present you with illuminating insights into the ever-evolving political landscape.

The Rise of Democracy

Democracies have become THE trend globally over the last century. What started with no country allowing all citizens to vote became a wave of democratization currently flattening hierarchies and distributing economic power across the masses. The power behind democratization lies in technology, wealth, expanding middle class, the fall of communism, and America’s rise. However, democratization has reduced the power of the state, leading to increased terrorism and smuggling worldwide. Liberty is no longer guaranteed in most “democratic” countries, leading to a struggle between democratization and centralized state power.

The Rise of Liberty

The origin of liberty can be traced to the rise of the Christian Church in Rome after 324 A.D. The Christian church prospered and gained public control, eventually becoming powerful enough to influence the state. As the church grew stronger, the aristocracy also developed unchallenged, leading to a conflict with the king. This led to the Magna Carta and the establishment of individual liberties. Capitalism intensified tensions between social and political classes, allowing families to hold money and pass it to their heirs, leading to the growth of a middle class. By 1776, England’s advances had migrated to America, where the basics of consumerism, entrepreneurship, and liberal democracy were already in place.

Wealth and Democracy

Weak economic development poses the greatest threat to liberty worldwide, while wealth links to liberal democracy, as wealthy countries tend to have a developed middle class and the business community that are independent of political sponsorship.

The social scientist, Seymour Martin Lipset, discovered a correlation between wealth and liberal democracy. Many studies have found that per capita income is directly related to a country’s new democracy’s longevity. Rich democracies become immortal because wealth provides a power base for the middle class and business community independent of political or state sponsorship. As a state’s wealth increases, it relies more on formalized laws and becomes more responsive to society’s general needs. Contrarily, some past nations placed the state above society, democracy above constitutionalism, and equality above liberty, and they lost their liberties.

Poorly developed economies pose a significant threat to liberty. When compared to better-off nations, countries like Romania, Belarus, Bulgaria, Croatia, Malaysia, Turkey, Morocco, Tunisia, and Iran now have a higher per capita income that would enable them to develop democracies. While each country has its political baggage, liberalizing a nation’s economy can lead to liberal politics, as is happening in China. Though the Communist Party still controls political power, China has opened considerable parts of its economy to capitalism, leading to unprecedented growth. However, the government still maintains its tough political position to control change and prevent disorder, as seen during the Tiananmen Square Massacre.

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