The video above very succinctly and eloquently addresses some very big ideas. The ideas are those of conservative British historian Niall Ferguson. He reveres Western civilization, Adam Smith, the Protestant work ethic, innovation and materialism, and fears that the West is losing its edge.
China and the Mideast were wealthier and more enlightened than the West before the 15th century, he says. But then six "killer apps" were developed, and the West surged ahead. Those killer apps were competition, the scientific revolution, the rule of law, modern medicine, the consumer society, and the work ethic. Now those killer apps are spreading to the rest of the world, and Ferguson believes the West is losing its 500+-year economic dominance of the world. (Newsweek excerpt; His book is Civilization: The West and the Rest)
That Used to Be Us: How America Fell Behind in the World It Invented and How It Can Come Back, by Tom Friedman and Michael Mandelbaum has similar themes, as does The Post-American World by Fareed Zakaria. The West, or more specifically the US, will no longer dominate the world economy, orchestrate geopolitics, or overwhelm local cultures, Zakaria says. But it can still strive to be a pragmatic, honest broker by sharing power, creating coalitions, and helping to set a global agenda.