Ian Bremmer

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Ian Bremmer
Bremmer in 2014
Bremmer in 2014
Born (1969-11-12) November 12, 1969 (age 49)
Baltimore, Maryland, United States
Occupation Political scientist, author, entrepreneur, lecturer
Nationality American
Education BA, Tulane University
PhD, Stanford University

Ian Arthur Bremmer (born November 12, 1969) is an American political scientist specializing in U.S. foreign policy, states in transition, and global political risk. He is the president and founder of Eurasia Group, a political risk research and consulting firm with offices in New York City, Washington, London, Tokyo, São Paulo, San Francisco, and Singapore. He is the author of several books, including The J Curve, Every Nation for Itself, and the New York Times bestselling Us vs. Them: The Failure of Globalism.[1] As of December 2014, he is foreign affairs columnist and editor-at-large at Time.[2] In 2013, he was named Professor at New York University.[3] Eurasia Group provides analysis and expertise about how political developments and national security dynamics move markets and shape investment environments across the globe.

Life and career

Bremmer is of Armenian and German descent. His father, Arthur, served in the Korean War and died at age of 46 when Bremmer was four.[4][5] He grew up in housing projects in Chelsea, Massachusetts, near Boston.[6] His mother raised him and his brother with little help and little money. Bremmer went to St. Dominic Savio High School in East Boston.[7] He later earned a BA in International Relations, magna cum laude, from Tulane University in 1989 and a PhD in Political Science from Stanford University in 1994, writing "The politics of ethnicity: Russians in the Ukraine".[8][9]

In 1998, he founded the Eurasia Group and had Carter Page on its staff for three months.[10][a] He has held research and faculty positions at New York University (where he currently teaches), Columbia University, the EastWest Institute, the World Policy Institute, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, and the Asia Society Policy Institute, where he has served as the first Harold J. Newman Distinguished Fellow in Geopolitics since 2015.

Bremmer is most widely known for advances in political risk; referred to as the "guru" in the field by The Economist[11] and The Wall Street Journal[12] and, more directly, bringing political science as a discipline to the financial markets.[13] In 2001, Bremmer created Wall Street's first global political risk index, now the GPRI (Global Political Risk Index). Bremmer's definition of an emerging market as "a country where politics matters at least as much as economics to the market"[14] is a standard reference in the political risk field.

Bremmer has published ten books, including the national bestsellers Every Nation for Itself: Winners and Losers in a G-Zero World (Portfolio, May 2012), which details risks and opportunities in a world without global leadership, and The End of the Free Market: Who Wins the War Between States and Corporations (Portfolio, May 2010), which describes the global phenomenon of state capitalism and its implications for economics and politics. He also wrote The J Curve: A New Way to Understand Why Nations Rise and Fall (Simon & Schuster, 2006), selected by The Economist as one of the best books of 2006.[15] His latest book is Us vs Them: The Failure of Globalism (Portfolio, April 2018), which provides an analysis of the global implications of rising populist nationalism and government responses.

Bremmer is a frequent writer and commentator in the media. He is the foreign affairs columnist and editor-at-large for Time, a contributor for the Financial Times A-List,[16] and has also published articles in The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Harvard Business Review, Foreign Affairs and many other publications. He appears regularly on CNBC, CNN, Fox News Channel, Bloomberg Television, National Public Radio, the BBC, and other networks. He has been a regular guest and occasional host of Charlie Rose Show and has appeared frequently on Real Time with Bill Maher.

Among his professional appointments, Bremmer serves on the President's Council of the Near East Foundation, the Leadership Council for the Concordia Summit, and the Board of Trustees of Intelligence Squared. In 2007, he was named as a 'Young Global Leader' of the World Economic Forum, and in 2010, founded and was appointed Chair of the Forum's Global Agenda Council for Geopolitical Risk. In December 2015, Bremmer was knighted by the government of Italy. In 2017, he became LinkedIn's most influential voice globally.[17]

He lives in New York City, [18] but is a devotee to the Boston Red Sox [19]

Key concepts

Bremmer's research fields include: international political economy, geoeconomics and geopolitics, states in transition and global emerging markets, and US foreign policy.


The-J-Curve blanksm.jpg

Bremmer's J curve[20] outlines the link between a country's openness and its stability. While many countries are stable because they are open (the United States, France, Japan), others are stable because they are closed (North Korea, Cuba, Iraq under Saddam Hussein). States can travel both forward (right) and backwards (left) along this J curve, so stability and openness are never secure. The J is steeper on the left hand side, as it is easier for a leader in a failed state to create stability by closing the country than to build a civil society and establish accountable institutions; the curve is higher on the far right than left because states that prevail in opening their societies (Eastern Europe, for example) ultimately become more stable than authoritarian regimes.

State capitalism

Ian Bremmer describes state capitalism as a system in which the state dominates markets primarily for political gain. In his book, The End of the Free Market: Who Wins the War Between States and Corporations (New York: Portfolio, 2010), Bremmer describes China as the primary driver for the rise of state capitalism as a challenge to the free market economies of the developed world, particularly in the aftermath of the financial crisis.[21]


The term G-Zero world refers to a breakdown in global leadership brought about by a decline of Western influence and the inability of other nations to fill the void.[22][23] It is a reference to a perceived shift away from the pre-eminence of the ["G7"] ("Group of Seven") industrialized countries and the expanded Group of Twenty, which includes major emerging powers like China, India, Brazil, Turkey, and others. In his book, Every Nation for Itself: Winners and Losers in a G-Zero World (New York: Portfolio, 2012), Bremmer explains that, in the G-Zero, no country or group of countries has the political and economic leverage to drive an international agenda or provide global public goods.[24][25]

Weaponization of finance

The term weaponization of finance refers to the foreign policy strategy of using incentives (access to capital markets) and penalties (varied types of sanctions) as tools of coercive diplomacy. In his Eurasia Group Top Risks 2015 report,[26] Bremmer coins the term weaponization of finance to describe the ways in which the United States is using its influence to affect global outcomes. Rather than rely on traditional elements of America’s security advantage – including US-led alliances such as NATO and multi-lateral institutions such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund – Bremmer argues that the US is now ‘weaponizing finance’ by limiting access to the American marketplace and to US banks as an instrument of its foreign and security policy.

Pivot state

Bremmer uses 'pivot state' to describe a nation that is able to build profitable relationships with multiple other major powers without becoming overly reliant on any one of them.[27] This ability to hedge allows a pivot state to avoid capture—in terms of security or economy—at the hands of a single country. In his book, Every Nation for Itself: Winners and Losers in a G-Zero World (New York: Portfolio, 2012),[28] Bremmer explains how, in a volatile G-Zero world, the ability to pivot will take on increased importance. At the opposite end of the spectrum are shadow states that are frozen within the influence of a single power. The United States' neighbors illustrate the terms very well. With significant trade ties with both the United States and Asia and formal security ties with NATO, Canada is a good example of a pivot state that is hedged against a slowdown in or conflict with any single major power. Mexico, on the other hand, is a shadow state due to its overwhelming reliance on the US economy.


  1. ^ Ian Bremmer would call Carter Page the most “most wackadoodle alumnus” because Pages's very pro-Kremlin views “wasn’t a good fit”.[10]

Selected bibliography

  • Soviet Nationalities Problems. (edited with Norman Naimark), (Stanford: Stanford Center for Russian and East European Studies: 1990). ISBN 0-87725-195-9
  • Nations and Politics in the Soviet Successor States. (edited with Raymond Taras), (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993). ISBN 0-521-43860-8
  • New States, New Politics: Building the Post-Soviet Nations. (edited with Raymond Taras), (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997). ISBN 0-521-57799-3
  • The J Curve: A New Way to Understand Why Nations Rise and Fall. (Simon & Schuster, 2006; revised paperback, 2007). ISBN 0-7432-7471-7
  • Managing Strategic Surprise: Lessons from Risk Management & Risk Assessment. (edited with Paul Bracken and David Gordon), (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008). ISBN 0-521-88315-6
  • The Fat Tail: The Power of Political Knowledge for Strategic Investing. (with Preston Keat), (New York: Oxford University Press, 2009; revised paperback, 2010). ISBN 0-19-532855-8
  • The End of the Free Market: Who Wins the War Between States and Corporations. (New York: Portfolio, 2010; revised paperback 2011). ISBN 978-1-59184-301-6
  • Every Nation for Itself: Winners and Losers in a G-Zero World. (New York: Portfolio, May 2012; revised paperback 2013). ISBN 978-1-59184-468-6
  • Superpower: Three Choices for America's Role in the World. (New York: Portfolio, May 2015). ISBN 978-1591847472
  • Us vs Them: The Failure of Globalism. (New York: Portfolio, April 2018). ISBN 978-0525533184

Current appointments


  1. ^ French, Howard (23 April 2018). "'Us vs. Them' Review: The Haves and Have-Nots". Wall Street Journal.
  2. ^ "Ian Bremmer Joins Time". Mediabistro.com. Retrieved 2017-07-19.
  3. ^ "Ian Bremmer, President of Eurasia Group, Named NYU Global Research Professor". Nyu.edu. Retrieved 2017-07-19.
  4. ^ "[email protected]". Twitter. 11 November 2016.
  5. ^ "Ian [email protected]". Facebook. 11 November 2016.
  6. ^ Thompson, Damian (September 30, 2006). "Here's how the world works". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 2008-08-01.
  7. ^ ""Superpower" Excerpt by Ian Bremmer". MSNBC. 19 May 2015.
  8. ^ "Ian Bremmer | World Policy Institute". Worldpolicy.org. Retrieved 2016-01-30.
  9. ^ "The politics of ethnicity : Russians in the Ukraine". Stanford University. Archived from the original on March 27, 2017. Retrieved March 27, 2017.
  10. ^ a b Harding, Luke (February 3, 2018). "Why Carter Page Was Worth Watching: There's plenty of evidence that the former Trump campaign adviser, for all his quirks, was on suspiciously good terms with Russia". Politico. Retrieved October 8, 2018.
  11. ^ "Beyond Economics". The Economist. February 10, 2011.
  12. ^ "Japan's Nikko Asset Adds Political-Risk Analysis With Eurasia Deal". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2017-07-19.
  13. ^ Quinn, James (July 10, 2010). "The West Should Fear the Growth of State Capitalism". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 2010-07-10.
  14. ^ "Managing Risk in an Unstable World" (PDF). Jcurvebook.com. Archived from the original (PDF) on September 27, 2007. Retrieved July 19, 2017.
  15. ^ "Fighting to be tops". The Economist. December 7, 2006.
  16. ^ "The A-List". The Financial Times. June 2011.
  17. ^ https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/linkedin-top-voices-2017-influencers-daniel-roth. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  18. ^ "Ian Bremmer; Biography: (Own site)". Retrieved 28 October 2017.
  19. ^ https://books.google.com/books?id=RrqDBQAAQBAJ&pg=PT213&lpg=PT213&dq=ian+bremmer+red+sox+fan&source=bl&ots=W9idLxaqba&sig=481FBlciyd1aqAG0VICV8Zt5xl8&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwi_6uCahKffAhUjwFkKHQb9BxMQ6AEwFnoECAoQAQ#v=onepage&q=ian%20bremmer%20red%20sox%20fan&f=false. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  20. ^ Bremmer, Ian. 2006. The J Curve: A New Way to Understand Why Nations Rise and Fall. Simon and Schuster.
  21. ^ "State capitalism: China's 'market-Leninism' has yet to face biggest test". Ft.com. Retrieved 2017-07-19. (subscription required)
  22. ^ "Eurasia Group Top 10 Risks of 2011". Eurasiagroup.net. Archived from the original on January 31, 2011. Retrieved July 19, 2017.
  23. ^ Gregory Scoblete. Will Free Markets Give Way to State Capitalism?, RealClearPolitics, May 28, 2010.
  24. ^ Ian Bremmer and David Gordon.G-Zero Archived September 12, 2011, at the Wayback Machine., Foreign Policy, January 7, 2011.
  25. ^ Ian Bremmer and Nouriel Roubini. A G-Zero World, Foreign Affairs, March/April 2011.
  26. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on January 28, 2015. Retrieved April 27, 2015.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  27. ^ "The Future Belongs to the Flexible". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2017-07-19.
  28. ^ Bremmer, Ian. Every Nation for Itself, New York: Portfolio, 2012, ISBN 978-0670921041

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