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Book Review: “Intelligent Governance for the 21st Century”

Book Review: “Intelligent Governance for the 21st Century”


On Thursday, 8th November 2012, Maureen Childs from London, UK and member of Democracy International, attended a talk given by Nicolas Berggruen and Nathan Gardels, at the RSA in London, entitled 'How to Govern Intelligently in the 21st century'.

The speakers have written the book “Intelligent Governance for the 21st Century. A middle way between West and East”. It compares so called 'democracy' in the west (UK and USA) and the meritocracy style of the East (China) and examines why both systems are doomed to failure. Consumer 'democracies' have ended up with countries massively in debt whilst 'meritocracy' of the east encourages corruption and civil unrest.

Enlightened people, from both extremes of governance, are demanding a new system of ' intelligent governance', which meaningfully involves citizens to make their own intelligent choices. Whilst making the comparisons between east and west the book offers tips and solutions to a middle ground. Not a one size fits blueprint for all but a 'localised' solution which considers and solves local social issues in context. Chapter 9 in the book, entitled 'Survival of the Wisest' says it all.

Following up from this talk the RSA hosted another talk on Tuesday 13th November 2012 on How to build a mass movement now. Jeremy Heimans of Purpose called for the need of a shift in power. David Milliband, brother of Ed Miliband leader of the UK Labour Party, supported the issues raised and added further insights into the ways citizens can be encouraged to act.

Further information:
- Nicolas Berggruen and Nathan Gardels: “Intelligent Governance for the 21st Century. A middle way between West and East", 2012.
Both talks were filmed and can be viewed from the RSA website at
- The ongoing projects of the book can be followed at

Text by Maureen Childs


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