Spring 2018 catalog cover

The Penn Press list for spring 2018 includes hardcover releases, first-time paperbacks, and ebook editions intended for scholars, students, and serious general readers worldwide. Click here to explore our forthcoming books, grouped by subject area.

Rude Awakening
Threats to the Global Liberal Order

Mauro F. Guillén

Apr 2018 | 192 pages | Cloth $24.95
Political Science | Economics | Sociology
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Table of Contents

Chapter 1. How Did We End up Here?
Chapter 2. The Rude Awakening
Chapter 3. New Actors Enter the Stage
Chapter 4. Allocating the Blame
Chapter 5. What Needs to Be Done?


Excerpt [uncorrected, not for citation]


Writing a book is a way of coming to terms with a topic. I had difficulty understanding why in recent years so many people turned away from the principles of liberalism. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the spread of democracy, and the successes of the market economy in at least some parts of the emerging world, it seemed to me that liberal economic and political ideas had demonstrated their power to deliver better standards of living in a free society. The most recent financial crisis, the rise of inequality, and the proliferation of political corruption quickly came to my mind as important reasons why so many people felt disenchanted. It seemed to me that technological change also played a role in the increasing economic and social dislocation all around us.
I was puzzled and concerned by the growth of parties on the far right and the radical left of the political spectrum, and by how quickly so many voters flocked to populist and nationalist proposals, shunning traditional parties and the political establishment. I had an overwhelming sense that we were approaching the end of an era guided by liberal principles.

I would not have written this book, thus failing to come to terms with the crisis of the global liberal order, had Eric Halpern and Peter Agree of the University of Pennsylvania Press not approached me with an irresistible offer to write one. I did not hesitate for a second, deciding to take on the challenge without realizing how complex and mercurial global politics have become. I am grateful to them, especially for providing me with some clear guidelines as to how to focus the analysis on the most critical elements of the problem. As always, my wife Sandra and my daughters Daniela and Andrea tolerated my long hours writing and gave me some very good ideas to pursue.