Thursday, March 6, 2008

Parag Khanna

Paul Comstock, editor of the California Literary Review, interviewed Parag Khanna, author of The Second World: Empires and Influence in the New Global Order.

A couple of questions from the interview:

What is “The Second World” from the title of your book?

The “second world” is a swath of the world’s most strategic countries around the world that are located between or on the peripheries of the three dominant empires: America, the European Union, and China. These countries include: Ukraine, Turkey, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Colombia, Brazil, Libya, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Malaysia, Indonesia, and others. Second world countries are the emerging markets, but we have to understand them more than just economically: they now hold the majority of the world’s reserves and a growing share of the total global economy, but they are also endowed with natural resources and are pursuing political agendas on their own. In every second world country I have heard people talk about how they will no longer be listening to the US but doing things “our own way.”

Europe is often portrayed in the U.S. as having an unsustainable socialist economy that will soon collapse under its own weight. You see it in a very different light.

Every day on the news we hear about how our own medicare and social security systems are under great stress and may collapse, so I’m dubious about such characterizations of Europe. At least their system works now and has for decades. Europeans are for more efficient in public management with far lower inequality – America has a great deal to learn from them.

Read the full interview.

Visit Parag Khanna's website.

--Marshal Zeringue