For Mr. Zakaria, the truly enlightened Americans, the ones who understand the coming order, are apparently Goldman Sachs, McKinsey & Company and assorted business chieftains. When Mr. Zakaria writes that Third World leaders "have heard Western CEOs explain where the future lies," he means it not as a sarcastic slap at those CEOs but as homage to their wisdom.
Average Americans, meanwhile, give Mr. Zakaria fits, what with their stubborn ignorance of foreign ways and their doubts about free trade. This attitude, in turn, has opened up "a growing gap between America's worldly business elite and cosmopolitan class, on the one hand, and the majority of the American people, on the other."
A warning here, senator. This is not an idea that will endear you to the people of Montana, or Ohio, or Pennsylvania. Were you to integrate it into your stump speech, you might even deliver the South Side of Chicago over to John McCain.
One more reason to be leery of all this market idolatry: It's wrong. Take the aspect of the "new era" that Mr. Zakaria most admires – "the free movement of capital," the international loans and investments he worships as "globalization's celestial mechanism for discipline." In point of fact, the rise of China and India – Mr. Zakaria's own paradigm cases – was possible only because those countries shunned global commercial credit markets in the 1970s, allowing them to avoid the interest-rate shock of the early '80s.
How do I know this? It's all explained in a far more worthwhile new book, "The Predator State," by James K. Galbraith. At your next photo-op, Mr. Obama, I hope to see you half way through it.