A Hinge of History: Governance in an Emerging New World

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Publication Date: November 2020

The world is at an inflection point, much like the one it faced at the end of World War II. Advancing technologies are creating new challenges and opportunities. The demographic picture of the world is changing rapidly and greatly, with truly significant consequences. And governance everywhere is in disarray.

These are some of the key insights to emerge from a multiyear series of roundtables and expert contributions hosted by the Hoover Institution. In this book, George P. Shultz and James Timbie take a region-by-region “walk around the world,” examining a range of issues shaping our present and future. They argue that if we are careful and deliberate, the United States is remarkably well positioned to ride this wave of change—and lead other nations in doing the same.

“We can face the future with confidence, provided we take the necessary steps,” the authors write. They discuss migration, reversing the decline of K–12 education, updating the social safety net, maintaining economic productivity, protecting our democratic processes, and improving national security. They argue that meeting the transformational challenges of this “hinge of history” will require international cooperation and constructive international engagement—but also that “America can help the world through this new hinge of history through leadership.”



George P. Shultz, the Thomas W. and Susan B. Ford Distinguished Fellow at the Hoover Institution, has had an eminent career in government, academia, and business. He has held four federal cabinet posts; taught at three of this country’s great universities; and was president of a major engineering firm. He is the coauthor of Choose Economic Freedom (Hoover Institution Press, 2020).

James Timbie is an Annenberg Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the Hoover Institution. A physicist and arms control negotiator, he was previously a senior advisor at the US State Department between 1983 and 2016. He is the coeditor of Beyond Disruption (Hoover Institution Press, 2018).