Debate Magazine

Professor Nye’s New Book on the American World Order

Posted on the 07 February 2011 by Shahalexander
Joseph Nye, University Distinguished Service Professor at Harvard University, has released a new book “The Future of Power”. See the interview video below by the Harvard Center for Public Leadership.

According to conventional wisdom, power of the state consists of hard power and soft power. A new concept, called smart power, is a combination of both powers. Today, the nature of power has become increasingly complicated, which is beyond military and economic dimensions. Nye points out that democracy is inefficient in converting power resources into desired results, but a competition of ideas endows legitimate soft power. Autocracy may be efficient in converting power resources into desired results, but in the long term, Nye says that it will lead to corruption and poor governance.
Professor Nye denies what is called “American decline”, because the share of US GDP in the world economy has not changed so much since 1970s. Nye argues this is just a psychology, because Americans around 2001 were “overconfident” in their power. Nye points out two important power shifts. One is from Western industrialized economies to Asian emerging economies. The rise of China should be understood in this context, as Asian nations develop their industrial basis. The other is from state actors to non-state actors. Information technology has led to information diffusion, which provides unprecedented power with individuals and private groups to exert influences on global policymaking. There are some typical cases such as humanitarian NGOs, terrorist groups, and Facebook revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt.
Professor Joseph Nye talks of key points of US foreign policy and its global leadership in this century. Particularly, changing nature of power is the vital issue in this book.

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