Technocracy in America: Rise of the Info-State by Parag Khanna (English review)

Technocracy in America: Rise of the Info-State


  "Technocracy in America", written by Parag Khanna is a thesis based on Plato's idea of political aristocracy which puts a committee of "Guardians" for the protection of the public additional to the available democratic structures.

Parag Khanna’s work contains in particular complex matters about politics and history which are difficult to follow up for everybody. It illuminates especially Khanna’s personal views and reflects less a broader range of opinions. Parag Khanna assumes the status of America’s political and economic progress as stagnant or even to continue to decline. Khanna prefers snapshots of economic and political overviews instead of long-term analysis.

His statements are above all in an elevated form and scientifically explained. The outline of his thesis is clearly recognizable, only his variations are getting lost.

Throughout the book, Khanna tries to inspire his readers. Accordingly, to that he uses a transparent table of contents and the cover is chosen to signal change.

However, some negative points need to be said: First of all, the cover is too dark so the elements go largely unnoticed. The same is with the charts which begin to lose clarity and transparency because the angel is chosen (90° to the text) which makes it impossible to read the stated facts on an eReader. The colours of the charts are mostly ok, yet the author should work with brighter colours instead of grey and black.

The zoom function should also be considered. Which makes it even sadder is that facts are not covered with charts or surveys so the reader understand the author’s presentation fully, nor it is manageable to turn the available two (!) charts for examination.

The typeface of the text is catching the eye of the reader (Except when it is about the charts and footnotes. The author should show the font in bold or highlight more).

The quotations originate from a large collection and mostly well-chosen.

But the footnotes don’t work here and instead Khanna should have used links which lead to the end of the book. (I would prefer two lists: one, a collection of quotations and the second for further information).

The footnotes also disrupt the text immensely in this way that on some pages, half of the text is in small letters which consists of paragraphs in the justified form (which is confusing and annoying to read).

The authors also experiment with depicting a throughout outline of the political and historical happenings, especially based on the today’s knowledge and latest news, which is very well in my opinion.

All in all, the author could:

- Apply more charts, surveys for the comprehension of the readers

- Use more colourful charts and highlight more

- Write more broadly about different views and include information boxes to several
sub-themes, the author fit into the book

- Use the zoom function and links

- Have a glossary with all further explanations necessary and further material and information
for the readers

- Structure the table contents more (Instead of just point 1., 2.,… maybe 2.1, 2.2., 2.3 and
make it more visible how many pages a chapter includes, for example: Chapter x goes from
page 53 to page 72

- Reformat the book because there is often a complete blank page between two main chapters.
On the other hand, Khanna doesn’t format enough in the subcategories which leads to less
conciseness of the text. Here a page break would be necessary.

My overall result is therefore: 3-Stars.

Kind regards,
Butterfly Mentions

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