In This Review

Action and Reaction in the World System: The Dynamics of Economic and Political Power
Action and Reaction in the World System: The Dynamics of Economic and Political Power
By Thierry de Montbrial
University of British Columbia Press, 2013, 376 pp.

This well-regarded book is now appearing in English, 12 years after its original publication in French. It is characteristic of fine French scholarship: abstract and logical but enlivened by numerous examples. The author tells readers how to think about problems in the current international political and economic system, but not exactly what to do about them. He is impressed by the system’s complexity but believes it is unstable and fragile, since relatively small perturbations could (but not necessarily will) lead to large and disturbing changes in the alignments among states and between states and increasingly important nonstate entities. This is a dense but thoughtful and thought-provoking book.