Disorder Hard Times in the 21st Century

Helen Thompson

Disorder Hard Times in the 21st Century

Helen Thompson






19 May 2022




$47.95 AUD

$52.99 NZD

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Getting to grips with the overlapping geopolitical, economic, and political crises faced by Western democratic societies in the 2020s.

The 21st century has brought a powerful tide of geopolitical, economic, and democratic shocks. Their fallout has led central banks to create over $25 trillion of new money, brought about a new age of geopolitical competition, destabilised the Middle East, ruptured the European Union, and exposed old political fault lines in the United States.

Disorder: Hard Times in the 21st Century is a long history of this present political moment. It recounts three histories - one about geopolitics, one about the world economy, and one about western democracies - and explains how in the years of political disorder prior to the pandemic the disruption in each became one big story. It shows how much of this turbulence originated in problems generated by fossil-fuel energies, and it explains why as the green transition takes place the long-standing predicaments energy invariably shapes will remain in place.


Introduction: Disruption
I: Geopolitics
1: Eurasian limits
2: The impossible oil guarantee
3: Eurasia remade
II: Economy
4: Our currencies, your problem
5: Made in China, need dollars
6: We are not in Kansas any more
III: Democratic politics
7: Democratic time
8: The democratic tax state
9: Whither reform
Conclusions: The more things change


Helen Thompson , Professor of Political Economy, Cambridge University

Helen Thompson is Professor of Political Economy at Cambridge University. She is the author of Oil and the western economic crisis (2017); China and the mortgaging of America (2010); and Might, right, prosperity and consent: representative democracy and the international economy (2008). Since 2015, Helen has been a regular contributor to the podcast Talking Politics and has written articles for the London Review of Books, The New York Times, and The Financial Times.