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The Siren Song of Big History

Given the overwhelming complexity of the modern global economy and international order, it is natural for policymakers and pundits to grasp for simple historical narratives to make sense of it all. But such frameworks are poor guides for current policymaking.

MUNICH – Behind today’s global disorder are two related narratives about countries’ relative strengths and weaknesses in the competition for global power. One is about the long-term rise and fall of nations and civilizations, and the other is about much shorter-term conjunctures.