Image - Fareed Zakaria and his book cover
Image - Fareed Zakaria and his book cover

Fareed Zakaria: Age of Revolutions

What can we learn about the polarized and unstable world in which we live by exploring the revolutions―past and present―that define our age?

Populist rage, ideological fracture, economic and technological shocks, war, and an international system studded with catastrophic risk―the early decades of the 21st century might be one of the most revolutionary periods in modern history. But it is not the first. Humans have lived, and thrived, through more than one great realignment. What are these revolutions, and how can they help us to understand our fraught world?

CNN host and bestselling author Fareed Zakaria has investigated the eras and movements that have shaken norms while shaping the modern world. He says three such periods hold profound lessons for today. First, in the 17th-century Netherlands, a fascinating series of transformations made that tiny land the richest in the world―and created politics as we know it today. Next, the French Revolution, an explosive era that devoured its ideological children and left a bloody legacy that haunts us today. Finally, the mother of all revolutions, the Industrial Revolution, which catapulted Great Britain and the United States to global dominance and created the modern world.

Zakaria, author of the new book Age of Revolutions: Progress and Backlash from 1600 to the Present, probes four present-day revolutions: globalization, technology, identity, and geopolitics. For all their benefits, the globalization and technology revolutions have produced profound disruptions and pervasive anxiety and our identity. And increasingly, identity is the battlefield on which the 21st century’s polarized politics are fought. All this is set against a geopolitical revolution as great as the one that catapulted the United States to world power in the late nineteenth century. Now we are entering a world in which the United States is no longer the dominant power. As they find themselves at the nexus of four seismic revolutions, people can easily imagine a dark future. But Zakaria says pessimism is premature. If we act wisely, he says, the liberal international order can be revived, and populism relegated to the ash heap of history.

As few public intellectuals can, Zakaria combines intellectual range, deep historical insight, and uncanny prescience to once again reframe and illuminate our turbulent present. Don’t miss his return to Commonwealth Club World Affairs.

Image - Fareed Zakaria

Fareed Zakaria

Host, CNN’s "Fareed Zakaria GPS"; Columnist, The Washington Post; Author, Age of Revolutions: Progress and Backlash from 1600 to the Present; X @FareedZakaria

Image - Mustafa Suleyman

In Conversation with Mustafa Suleyman

CEO, Microsoft AI; Author, The Coming Wave: Technology, Power, and the Twenty-first Century’s Greatest Dilemma; X @mustafasuleyman