Great Degeneration : How Institutions Decay and Economies Die
The decline of the West is something that has long been prophesied. Symptoms of decline are all around us today: slowing growth, crushing debts, aging populations. But what exactly is amiss with Western civilization? The answer, Niall Ferguson argues, is that our institutions - the intricate frameworks within which a society can flourish or fail - are degenerating.
Representative government, the free market, the rule of law and civil society were once the four pillars of West European and North American societies. In our time, however, these institutions have deteriorated. The Great Degeneration is a powerful indictment of an era of negligence and complacency. While the Arab world struggles to adopt democracy, and while China struggles to move from economic liberalization to the rule of law, the West is frittering away the institutional inheritance of centuries. To arrest the decline, Ferguson warns, will take heroic leadership and radical reform.