The Fourth Revolution: The Global Race to Reinvent the State

May 21, 2014

4:30am - 6:00am

Santa Monica


John Micklethwait, Editor-in-Chief, and Adrian Wooldridge, Managing Editor and Schumpeter Columnist, The Economist 



"The Fourth Revolution: The Global Race to Reinvent the State" (The Penguin Press; May 19) is an ambitious and provocative argument that government as we know it is dying, and a new form is being born.

Dysfunctional government has become cliché, and most of us are resigned to the idea that nothing is ever going to change. John Micklethwait and Adrian Wooldridge of The Economist reveal that this is a very limited view of things. In fact, there have been three great revolutions in government in the history of the modern world, all led by the West. Now, we are in the midst of a fourth revolution, but the West is being left behind.

At this Milken Institute Forum, Micklethwait and Wooldridge point to a number of factors driving this revolution: the West's debt is unsustainable, the developing world has harvested all the low-hanging fruit, industrialization has transformed all the peasant economies it had left to transform, and the toxic side effects of rapid globalization are taking their toll around the world.

"The Fourth Revolution" sheds light on this dual crisis of political legitimacy and political effectiveness and points toward the future. The authors offer a global tour of today's leading innovators in the exercise of power. The age of big government, they find, is over. The age of smart government has begun. Micklethwait and Wooldridge argue that a country's success depends overwhelmingly on its ability to reinvent the state. How is the West -- the U.S. in particular -- faring at this task? How is China doing? What dangers stem from Washington gridlock and the inefficiencies it has created?


John Micklethwait is the editor-in-chief of The Economist. After studying history at Magdalen College, Oxford, he worked as a banker at Chase Manhattan from 1985 to 1987 before joining The Economist as a finance correspondent in 1987. His previous roles at The Economist included being the newspaper's Business editor and United States editor.

Adrian Wooldridge is The Economist's management editor and writes the Schumpeter column. He was previously based in Washington, D.C., as the Washington bureau chief where he also wrote the Lexington column. Previously he has been The Economist's West Coast correspondent, management correspondent and Britain correspondent.