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95 Foreign Aff. 126 (2016)
The Fusion of Civilizations: The Case for Global Optimism

handle is hein.journals/fora95 and id is 592 raw text is: 

The Fusion of Civilizations

The Case for Global Optimism

Kishore Mahbubani and Lawrence H. Summers

he mood of much of the world is grim these days. Turmoil
        in the Middle East, causing hundreds of thousands of deaths
        and millions of refugees; random terrorist attacks across the
globe; geopolitical tensions in eastern Europe and Asia; the end of
the commodity supercycle; slowing growth in China; and economic
stagnation in many countries-all have combined to feed a deep
pessimism about the present and, worse, the future.
   Historians looking back on this age from the vantage point of later
generations, however, are likely to be puzzled by the widespread
contemporary feelings of gloom and doom. By most objective
measures of human well-being, the past three decades have been
the best in history. More and more people in more and more places
are enjoying better lives than ever before. Nor is this an accident-
because despite Samuel Huntington's foreboding, what has occurred
over recent generations is not a clash of civilizations but a fusion
of civilizations.
  To put it simply, the great world civilizations, which used to have
detached and separate identities, now have increasingly overlapping
areas of commonality. Most people around the world now have the
same aspirations as the Western middle classes: they want their
children to get good educations, land good jobs, and live happy, pro-
ductive lives as members of stable, peaceful communities. Instead of
feeling depressed, the West should be celebrating its phenomenal
success at injecting the key elements of its worldview into other
great civilizations.
KISHORE MAHBUBANI is Dean of the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the
National University of Singapore and the author of The Great Convergence: Asia, the West,
and the Logic of One World.
LAWRENCE H. SUMMERS is President Emeritus and Charles W. Eliot University Profes-
sor of Economics at Harvard University. He served as U.S. Secretary of the Treasury from
1999 to 2001 and Director of the National Economic Council from 2009 to 2010.


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