Synopses & Reviews
One popular image of the probable condition of humanity in the twenty-first century anticipates a new Armageddon with all the great civilizations at war with each other. This model neglects a less dramatic but deeper-seated process of worldwide change in which national economic and political systems become more alike and populations worldwide come to adopt similar lifestyles and develop similar attitudes and values for daily living. Alex Inkeles’ penetrating analysis focuses on this process of convergence.In One World Emerging? Inkeles clarifies the meaning of convergence in the social organization of modern societies, shows how it can be measured, and illustrates in detail the manner and degree of convergence across national boundaries. Sensitive to evidence counter to the main trend, he gives close attention to the many instances in which national differences persist and nations and their populations diverge from a common path.At the national level, he compares and contrasts the modernization of the United States, Russia, China, and India. Focusing on particularly important institutions, he reviews the process of convergence in prestige hierarchies, the family, education, and communications. Capping the enterprise, Inkeles assesses the extent to which convergence in institutional patterns is reflected in the emergence of more common attitudes, values, and daily behaviors in different national populations as individuals and communities—in North America, Europe, and increasingly in Asia—engage with and respond to the standardizing pressures of national development and global modernization.
About the Author
Alex Inkeles is senior fellow at the Hoover Institution of Stanford University.