From Mr Obama’s Reading List

Starting reading a book … but for now, the question is … should I continue? The book is Fareed Zakaria’s The Post-American World. Apparently, one of the books noted as a book our President has read recently. I think I may continue, but some of the errors spotted in a quick perusal at the start were annoying.

For example, Mr Zakaria notes in pointing out how commodity prices are getting higher because, apparently Malthusian shortages. One of his examples is Helium. He notes that Helium is the “second most abundant element” in the Universe … yet is a shortage. This is really ignorant. Helium is called helium because it is very very rare terrestrially. It was discovered via spectral analysis of solar radiation … because it is so rare on earth. It is basically only found in any quantity from oil wells.

I think the thesis that American’s dominance in all sphere’s is going to wane is uninteresting. The question is what to make of it. America will likely remain dominant at the “things at which we excell” and no longer be dominant in sphere’s in which we had been dominant by default.

As Mr Collier notes in the The Bottom Billion that of the 6 1/2 billion people on the globe, one billion are “very rich”, 4 1/2 billion are “getting rich very quickly” and one billion are stuck at the bottom. While his book concentrates on the billion which are stuck in poverty, the obvious logical consequence of the other 5 1/2 billion being rich or getting rich quicker is that influence of nations and economies will spread.

I think I’m going to skip or quickly skim (and try not get hung up on rhetorical simplification and overstatement) this book tomorrow night. I’ll hunt for some conclusions … because otherwise the book just a long winded statement of the obvious.

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