The Commanding Heights: The Battle for the World Economy

Front Cover
Simon and Schuster, Jun 15, 2002 - Business & Economics - 464 pages
0 Reviews
The Commanding Heights is about the most powerful political and economic force in the world today -- the epic struggle between government and the marketplace that has, over the last twenty years, turned the world upside down and dramatically transformed our lives. Now, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Prize joins with a leading expert on the new marketplace to explain the revolution in ideas that is reshaping the modern world. Written with the same sweeping narrative power that made The Prize an enormous success, The Commanding Heights provides the historical perspective, the global vision, and the insight to help us understand the tumult of the past half century.
Trillions of dollars in assets and fundamental political power are changing hands as free markets wrest control from government of the "commanding heights" -- the dominant businesses and industries of the world economy. Daniel Yergin and Joseph Stanislaw demonstrate that words like "privatization" and "deregulation" are inadequate to describe the enormous upheaval that is unfolding before our eyes. Along with the creation of vast new wealth, the map of the global economy is being redrawn. Indeed, the very structure of society is changing. New markets and new opportunities have brought great new risks as well. How has all this come about? Who are the major figures behind it? How does it affect our lives?
The collapse of the Soviet Union, the awesome rise of China, the awakening of India, economic revival in Latin America, the march toward the European Union -- all are a part of this political and economic revolution. Fiscal realities and financial markets are relentlessly propelling deregulation; achieving a new balance between government and marketplace will be the major political challenge in the coming years. Looking back, the authors describe how the old balance was overturned, and by whom. Looking forward, they explore these questions: Will the new balance prevail? Or does the free market contain the seeds of its own destruction? Will there be a backlash against any excesses of the free market? And finally, The Commanding Heights illuminates the five tests by which the success or failure of all these changes can be measured, and defines the key issues as we enter the twenty-first century.
The Commanding Heights captures this revolution in ideas in riveting accounts of the history and the politics of the postwar years and compelling tales of the astute politicians, brilliant thinkers, and tenacious businessmen who brought these changes about. Margaret Thatcher, Donald Reagan, Deng Xiaoping, and Bill Clinton share the stage with the "Minister of Thought" Keith Joseph, the broommaker's son Domingo Cavallo, and Friedrich von Hayek, the Austrian economist who was determined to win the twenty-year "battle of ideas." It is a complex and wide-ranging story, and the authors tell it brilliantly, with a deep understanding of human character, making critically important ideas lucid and accessible. Written with unique access to many of the key players, The Commanding Heights, like no other book, brings us an understanding of the last half of the twentieth century -- and sheds a powerful light on what lies ahead in the twenty-first century.

What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.


Europes Mixed Economy
Americas Regulatory Capitalism
The Rise of the Third World
Britains Market Revolution
The Global Critique
Asias Emergence
Chinas Transformation
Indias Awakening 9 PLAYING BY THE RULES The New Game in Latin America
Americas New Balance
The Battle for the World Economy
The New Rules of the Game PHOTOGRAPHS

The Journey After Communism
Europes Search for a New Social Contract

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

Popular passages

Page xxix - At last." Sometimes I go along with what Susan wants, but in an absurd parodic way, hoping she will see how foolish I find her. But she doesn't see it, and, much to my annoyance, my cooperation pleases her. I sit in front of her with my diary, flipping through the pages. After today the pages are blank. She says how much she is looking forward to the weekend away that we have planned. We will stay at the country hotel we visited several years ago, when she was first pregnant. The weather was warm....
Page vii - It is the saddest night, for I am leaving and not coming back. Tomorrow morning, when the woman I have lived with for six years has gone to work on her bicycle, and our children have been taken to the park with their ball, I will pack some things into a suitcase, slip out of my house, and take the tube to Victor's place. There I will sleep on the floor in a tiny room next to the kitchen. Each morning I will heave the thin single mattress back into the airing cupboard and stuff the musty duvet into...
Page xxxvii - You remind me of someone who reads only the first chapter of a book. You never discover what happens next." "How old is she?" he asked. There was a discernible look of repulsion on his face, as if he were trying to swallow sour milk. "It's only sex, then." "There is that," I said. "But marriage is a battle, a terrible journey, a season in Hell, and a reason for living. You need to be equipped in all areas, not just the sexual.
Page xxxi - ... aunts, and uncles, of vicars, police, and teachers, and of being kicked, abused, and insulted by other children. The fear of getting into trouble, of being discovered, castigated, smacked, ignored, locked in, locked out. There is, too, the fear of your own anger, of retaliation and of annihilation, as well as the fear of who you might become. It isn't surprising that you become accustomed to doing what you are told while making a safe place inside yourself and living a secret life. "By the way,"...
Page xxxvii - Lie for you," he said. "Aren't we friends?" I said. "It's a sensible lie. Susan doubts me. It is making her unhappy." He shook his head. "You are too used to having your own way. You are making her unhappy." "I am interested in someone else," I said. I told him little of my relationships with women; he imagined such fabulous liaisons that I didn't want to disillusion him. He said to me once, "You remind me of someone who reads only the first chapter of a book. You never discover what happens next.
Page xxvii - ... liked her humdrum dexterity and ability to cope. She wasn't helpless before the world. I envy her capability, and wish I had half of it. At the office Susan is too prudent to want power, but she is clear and articulate, and it is not difficult for her to make less confident people feel ineffectual. After all, she is cleverer than her colleagues, and has worked harder. Like many girls brought up to be good and well-behaved, she likes to please. Perhaps that is why young women are so suitable for...

About the author (2002)

Daniel Yergin, chairman of Cambridge Energy Research Associates and the Global Energy Expert for the CNBC business news network, is a highly respected authority on energy, international politics, and economics. Dr. Yergin received the Pulitzer Prize for the number one bestseller The Prize: The Epic Quest for Oil, Money & Power, which was also made into an eight-hour PBS/BBC series seen by 20 million people in the United States. The book has been translated into 12 languages. It also received the Eccles Prize for best book on an economic subject for a general audience.

Of Dr. Yergin’s subsequent book, Commanding Heights: The Battle for the World Economy, the Wall Street Journal said: “No one could ask for a better account of the world’s political and economic destiny since World War II.” This book has been translated into 13 languages and Dr. Yergin led the team that turned it into a six-hour PBS/BBC documentary — the major PBS television series on globalization. The series received three Emmy nominations, a CINE Golden Eagle Award and the New York Festival’s Gold World Medal for best documentary. Dr. Yergin’s other books include Shattered Peace, an award-winning history of the origins of the Cold War, Russia 2010 and What It Means for the World (with Thane Gustafson), and Energy Future: The Report of the Energy Project at the Harvard Business School, which he edited with Robert Stobaugh.

Bibliographic information