The Anglosphere Challenge: Why the English-Speaking Nations Will Lead the Way in the Twenty-First Century

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The Anglosphere Challenge: Why the English-Speaking Nations Will Lead the Way in the Twenty-First Century

By James C. Bennet
Rowman & Littlefield, 2004
352 pp. $39.95

Lurking beneath a prose style that sometimes manages to be breathless and turgid at the same time are two important and even brilliant ideas. Bennett points out that although the Internet collapses geography, it strengthens the force of culture in international affairs; with the price of telecommunications falling toward zero, and with users in widely separated locales able to work together easily, the chief barriers to human cooperation are likely to be linguistic and cultural. He also notes that the English-speaking world shares, in addition to a common language, a legal heritage and a set of ideas and assumptions that make it easier for Canadian companies to operate in Ireland than in China or Ukraine. Bennett's Anglosphere will thus integrate more rapidly and assume more of the dimensions of a common economic and social space in the decades ahead. But it will not stand alone; Bennett looks to the emergence of a Hispanosphere, a Sinosphere, a Lusosphere, and of course a Francosphere, among others. This is almost certainly right, and it clearly has important implications for the global future--although Bennett never quite succeeds in making clear just what those implications are. His other big idea is that history and culture have given the Anglosphere strong civil society traditions that make the English-speaking world uniquely able to thrive in a century that will be dominated by accelerating waves of economic, technological and social change. Many readers will find this proposition controversial and even offensive; nevertheless, it is a point worth considering.

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