New Books Network

Michael A. Cohen

Clear and Present Safety

The World Has Never Been Better and Why That Matters to Americans

Yale University Press 2019

New Books in American StudiesNew Books in CommunicationsNew Books in Peoples & PlacesNew Books in PoliticsNew Books in Politics & SocietyNew Books in Public PolicyNew Books in World AffairsNew Books Network May 2, 2019 Bill Scher

We are fed a steady stream of doom and gloom—terrorist attacks, erosion of democracy, robots taking our jobs. But Michael A. Cohen and his...

We are fed a steady stream of doom and gloom—terrorist attacks, erosion of democracy, robots taking our jobs. But Michael A. Cohen and his co-author Mich Zenko argue in Clear and Present Safety: The World Has Never Been Better and Why That Matters to Americans (Yale University Press, 2019) that our world has never been “more peaceful, freer, healthier, better educated, and wealthier,” and we only feel otherwise because of “threat inflation” that sensationalizes relatively minor threats.  In our discussion, Cohen readily acknowledges serious problems remain, such as climate change and gun violence, but urges us to recognize how much progress has been made and apply the lessons that have been learned. Moreover, he asks us to beware the “threat-industrial complex” of military agencies, special interest groups and the media that distort our understanding of the world we live in.