Skip to content

Posts from the ‘Superstates’ Category

Bremmer, Hood, Moynihan recommend “Superstates”

Ian Bremmer, President of Eurasia Group, recommends Superstates: “Analysts focus on what the world’s largest and most powerful countries can do to confront climate change, pandemics, and other dangerous threats. Roberts’s Superstates flips the script and asks how  these threats will affect the structure, borders, and even existence of the world’s most populous countries. Drawing from the history of empire, the book is a sobering warning of the difficulties our unprecedentedly complex ‘superstates’ will face to survive the next century unscathed.”

Christopher Hood of the University of Oxford says: “A fascinating and provocative account of the governance challenges facing the rulers of today’s four ‘superstates,’ who must grapple not only with the issues that have beset imperial rulers over the centuries, but also those arising from modern technology and culture.”

And Donald Moynihan of Georgetown University says: “Superstates looks ahead at the future of governance, where more and more people will be crammed into a few massive polities. Roberts shrewdly considers the lessons from past empires and the challenges of running a modern nation state. The result is an extraordinarily accessible, insightful and challenging field guide to governance around the world in the coming decades.”

Pre-order on Amazon.

Interview about new book on Superstates

Here’s an interview in which I talk about my new book, Superstates: Empires of the Twenty-First Century, forthcoming from Polity later this year. Read the interview. The blurb for the book is available here.

Description for new book, “Superstates”

Here’s the description for Superstates: Empires of the Twenty-First Century, forthcoming from Polity in late 2022. Details and pre-order on the Polity website. Pre-order on Amazon US. Pre-order on Amazon UK.

Superstates: Empires of the Twenty-First Century

In this century, the world will conduct an extraordinary experiment in government. In 2050, forty percent of the planet’s population will live in just four places: India, China, the European Union, and the United States. These are superstates — polities that are distinguished from normal countries by expansiveness, population, diversity, and complexity.

How should superstates be governed? What must their leaders do to hold these immense polities together in the face of extraordinary strains and shocks? Alasdair Roberts looks to history for answers. Superstates, he contends, wrestle with the same problems of leadership, control and purpose that plagued empires for centuries. But they also bear heavier burdens than empires — including the obligation to improve life for ordinary people and respect human rights.

One axiom of history was that empires always died. Size and complexity led to fragility, and imperial rulers improvised constantly to put off the day of reckoning. Leaders of superstates are doing the same today, pursuing radically different strategies for governing at scale that have profound implications for democracy and human rights. History shows that there are ways to govern these sprawling and diverse polities well. But this requires a different way of thinking about the art and methods of statecraft.

Plenary speaker for NASPAA South Asia conference

I’ll be the plenary speaker for the closing day of the NASPAA-South Asia conference on November 13, 2021. Title of my talk: “Can democracy work in supersized polities?” Conference details here. Watch the talk here.

Talk at McCormack School conference

Exvo_hhXEAUv4vNI’ll give the keynote address at the Graduate Student Conference on Policy and Global Studies at the  McCormack Graduate School of Policy and Global Studies, UMass Boston, on April 16, 2021.  The subject of my talk: “Governance and Democracy in Peril.” My Powerpoint slides for the talk are hereDetails about the conference here.

Presentation at Jamia Millia Islamia seminar

I will participate in a panel for the International Seminar on Democracy and Public Policy in India on February 27.  The seminar is hosted by the Department of Political Science at Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi.  My topic is “Governing supersized countries.”  My Powerpoint is here.  Seminar program here.

Talks in Shillong and Jaipur

I gave two talks organized by the Meghalaya Institute of Governance in Shillong on January 9 and 10.  Read a story about the meeting with civil society representatives in the Shillong Times.  I also gave a public lecture at JK Lakshmipat University in Jaipur on January 14: read the story here. Pic right: JKLU Vice Chancellor R.L. Raina.

Talk at Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative

I gave a presentation at the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative in Delhi on January 6.  The topic: “Governing supersized countries: The challenge of the 21st century.”  Slides here.

Presentation to IAS officers in New York

I spoke with ninety officers of the Indian Administrative Service at Syracuse University’s Lubin House in New York City on November 15.  The subject was strategies for governing in superstates.  PPT here.

Presentation at SNU/ASU conference

I’ll present at the ASU-SNU BK21 International Conference in Phoenix on January 15-16, 2019.  Details about the conference here.  My presentation, tied to my new book project, is titled “Can superstates survive?”.  PPT for the presentation here.