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Commanding Heights
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  Key Themes Articulated in the Series


The current global economy is the outgrowth of a century of trial-and-error experimentation with different political and economic ideologies.

The core battle of ideas is an argument about the best way to promote the economic welfare of society as a whole.

For most of the last century the argument has centered on the role that central governments should or should not play in economic activity.

For much of the last century the argument appeared to swing in favor of central planning and government control.

More recently, the pendulum has swung the other way, toward greater reliance on market forces to determine the allocation of resources.

The transition away from central control has increased productivity and expanded wealth, but has also been societally wrenching for the peoples of many nations.

In recent decades, technology has also fundamentally changed the way economies behave and interrelate. We are just beginning to understand how to reap the benefits and manage the risks these changes have introduced.

While the growth of globally integrated markets has expanded wealth and raised living standards in many parts of the world, there have also been destructive effects. The Asian economic contagion of 1997-8 is one example.

Because the benefits of globalization have not been distributed equitably, the gulf between rich and poor continues to threaten the stability of the system as a whole.

Equipping dispossessed populations to benefit from open global markets and entrepreneurial capitalism constitutes one of the major challenges of the 21st century.

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