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Why Government Is Failing the People It Is Supposed to Serve

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By Binyamin Appelbaum

THE WAKE-UP CALL
Why the Pandemic Has Exposed the Weakness of the West, and How to Fix It
By John Micklethwait and Adrian Wooldridge

Daniel Patrick Moynihan warned in the late 1960s that the stability of democratic government required “making a careful distinction between what government can do and what it cannot do.” Promising the impossible, he said, leads to “frustration and ruin.” As the veteran journalists John Micklethwait, the editor in chief of Bloomberg News, and Adrian Wooldridge, a columnist for The Economist, argue in their new book, “The Wake-Up Call,” Western governments have overreached, with increasingly dire consequences.

This slender volume is presented as a rapid response to the coronavirus pandemic, which the authors describe as a timely reminder of the importance of government, and as a test that has highlighted a growing gap in government performance between Asian nations and the West.

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