*The Fourth Revolution*

That is the new book by John Micklethwait and Adrian Wooldridge, with the subtitle The Global Race to Reinvent the State.

I very much liked this book.  It is probably the best current manifesto on the proper roles for market and state, intelligent but also accessible to a lay reader.  For me the biggest takeaway was the import of the technological revolutions coming to government, or already arrived, and how countries do not have the luxury of sitting still in response.  Looking forward, quality of government will be an increasingly important competitive factor.  This book is also the single best statement of the thesis that these days government simply is not working very well, and that such an insight is recognized by many voters better than by many intellectuals.  Many of the illustrations of this point come from the state of California.

One interesting feature of this book (not its main point, nor a point the authors are celebrating) is the recurring recognition that democracy has diminished in global status over the last decade.

From the book, here are two facts about China:

In 2012 revenue from land-rights sales made up more than half of local-government tax revenue.


The Beijing-based Unirule Institute of Economics argues that, when you allow for all the hidden subsidies such as free land, the average real return on equity for state-owned companies between 2001 and 2009 was -1.47 percent.

Definitely recommended.


Comments for this post are closed