Age Of Revolutions

Frank Diana
2 min readJun 12, 2024

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Another book hits my library. “Age of Revolutions: Progress and Backlash From 1600 to the Present” by Fareed Zakaria is a thought-provoking exploration of the upheavals, breakthroughs, backlashes, and transformations that shaped Western liberalism and industrial modernity. It’s the signals of history that illuminate possible futures — and Mr. Zakaria’s book is loaded with signals, Here are the key points:

  1. Historical Context: Zakaria begins with the “liberal revolutions” of the sixteenth-century Dutch Republic and England’s Glorious Revolution of 1688. He then traces the path of economic, technological, and political modernization through British and American industrial supremacy and post-Cold War globalization.
  2. Central Dynamic: Zakaria identifies a recurring struggle in each revolution of modernity. On one side are forces seeking to harness economic and technological change for profit and progress. On the other side are groups clinging to old identities and ways of life.
  3. Liberal Commitments: Societies that embrace liberal commitments-such as trade, openness, and free thinking-tend to be more innovative and powerful. However, illiberal forces are never fully vanquished, both domestically and globally.
  4. Mirror to Our Times: By illuminating past revolutions, Zakaria holds a mirror to our current global moment. He warns that while liberalism frees people from arbitrary constraints, it also leaves individuals isolated, susceptible to tribalism, populism, and identity politics.

If we are to see the possibilities, then it is imperative to explore periods that reflect elements of our current world. Exploration is illuminating — but learning from the past is crucial. I highly recommend the book.

Originally published at http://frankdiana.net on June 12, 2024.

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Frank Diana

TCS Executive focused on the rapid evolution of society and business. Fascinated by the view of the world in the next decade and beyond https://frankdiana.net/