What’s in it for me? A blueprint for a better world.
Society rests on three “pillars” – the state, markets and communities. Each pillar has a different role. The state guarantees law and order as well as providing the infrastructure that makes social life possible. Markets provide an outlet for ingenuity and wealth creation. Finally, communities create a sense of attachment, identity and solidarity.
But societies only create the conditions for human flourishing when each of these three supports is equally strong – undermine one pillar and the whole structure begins to look pretty shaky. That balance has been historically elusive. Medieval society had strong communities but lacked both a state and markets. Commercial nations in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, on the other hand, had thriving marketplaces but sorely lacked a state capable of creating a level playing field.
Today, we’re suffering from our own imbalances. After the failure of the state-driven models, which delivered unprecedented growth in the wake of the Second World War, Western societies attempted to construct a new order that emphasized efficiency and profit-making. The result? Inequality has exploded, creating a resentful class poorly equipped to deal with the challenges of globalization. That, in turn, has fuelled the great anti-establishment crusade of today’s populists.
But as Raghuram Rajan shows, it doesn’t have to be this way. In these blinks, we’ll explore his blueprint for a better and more balanced world.
Along the way, you’ll learn
- how the nation-state eventually replaced the medieval social order;
- why China will have to rethink its current economic model; and
- what an Indian city struggling with littering can teach us about localism.