by Edward Luce
In his widely acclaimed book Time to Start Thinking, Financial Times columnist and commentator Edward Luce charted the course of American economic and geopolitical decline, proving to be a prescient voice on our current social and political turmoil. In The Retreat of Western Liberalism, Luce makes a larger statement about the weakening of western hegemony and the crisis of democratic liberalism - of which Donald Trump and his European counterparts are not the cause, but a symptom. Luce argues that we are on a menacing trajectory brought about by ignorance of what it took to build the West, arrogance towards society's losers, and complacency about our system's durability - attitudes that have been emerging since the fall of the Berlin Wall, treated by the West as an absolute triumph over the East. We cannot move forward without a clear diagnosis of what has gone wrong. Luce contrasts Western democratic and economic ideals, which rest on an assumption of linear progress, with more cyclical views of economic strength - symbolized by the nineteenth-century fall and present-day rise of the Chinese and Indian economies - and with the dawn of a new multipolar age. Combining on-the-ground reporting with intelligent synthesis of the vast literature already available, Luce offers a detailed projection of the consequences of the Trump administration and a forward-thinking analysis of what those who believe in enlightenment values must do to defend them from the multiple onslaughts they face in the coming years.