Around the Institute

Nathan Gardels Sounds Off on Finding the Best Governing Structure

February 7, 2013  • Institute Contributor


Nathan Gardels, senior advisor at the Nicolas Berggruen Institute and founding editor of New Perspectives Quarterly, joined his co-author Nicolas Berggruen to launch their new book Intelligent Governance for the 21st Century: A Middle Way between West and East during the Alma and Joseph Gildenhorn Book Series at the Aspen Institute.

The book centers on finding the balance between types of government. Gardels says that its the chosen governance system that largely determines the prosperity of society. He draws the comparison between China and California over the last three decades:

“Thirty years ago, China was barely past the Cultural Revolution. They could hardly feed themselves, what is now the factory of the world was still a village, everybody rode bicycles. We know what’s happened in the 30 years since —China’s really lept forward.

“In the same period in California, we ended up with mountains of debt, D+ schools, spending more on prisons than higher education, and worse infrastructure than in an emerged economy like China.”

Click here for Berggruen and Gardels’ full conversation with Aspen Institute President and CEO Walter Isaacson about why and how government systems matter.