As the world forges into the 21st Century – Gregorian Calendar reckoning (Indian Calendar Vikram Samvat 2067-68, Chinese Calendar 4708 or 4648, Hebrew Calendar 5772, Islamic Calendar A.H. 1431–1432, Japanese Calendar Heisei 23), human thought is growing on the subject of whether Western Civilization will survive, of the competition of Western Civilization versus Eastern Civilization. Two Western spokesmen offer their perspectives on the nature and history of Western Civilization in a world where the East is rising.
May we all coexist peacefully with liberty and prosperity for all..
At TED Niall Ferguson author, commentator and professor discusses the reasons Western Civilization uniquely prospered over the last 500 years and the “killer apps” that made it so, the same principles that are now being increasingly adopted by Eastern Cultures.
Interestingly Ferguson discounts religion, Judeo-Christianity, Protestantism in specific having any influence in the creation of the “work ethic”, one of the “big ideas” of Western Culture. Indeed other cultures have strong work ethics. But the “work ethic” in the West cannot be separated from the rest of the culture. It is hard to imagine another cultural force of such spirit and discipline in the West that provided such fertile ground for not only the “work ethic” but the sacrosanct rights of individuals, the “ideas and institutions”, “laws and rules created by reason” that appeared not only in spheres of science and economics but gateway documents and declarations that forged Western Civilization, such as Middle Ages Germanic and Frankish Law (4th – 9th Century), Visgoth Forum Judicum (650) amongst many, the English Magna Carta (1215), the Scot’s Declaration of Arbroath (1320), the American Declaration of Independence (1776). Whether specific Judeo-Christian doctrines are embraced globally in the future, remains to be seen. But it can be safely said that this form of faith played a critical role in reforming and empowering the West, and now its derivatives benefit the East.
The 6 killer apps
“Civilisation means a society based upon the opinion of civilians. It means that violence, the rule of warriors and despotic chiefs, the condition of camps and warfare, of riot and tyranny, give place to parliaments where laws are made,and independent courts of justice in which over long periods those laws are maintained. That is Civilization – and in its soil grow continually freedom, comfort and culture. When Civilization reigns in any country, a wider and less harassed life is afforded to the masses of the people” –Winston Churchill
Counter-point to Niall Ferguson’s “Imperial killer apps”
by Robert Skidelsky, member of the British House of Lords, is Professor Emeritus of Political Economy at Warwick University.
Hans Rosling global health expert and data visionary presents the history and economics of the West in comparison with that of the East (India, China, Japan), and offers some thought provoking projections of the disappearance of disparities between cultural and population poles of the globe.
Asia’s rise — how and when
“Hans Rosling was a young guest student in India when he first realized that Asia had all the capacities to reclaim its place as the world’s dominant economic force. At TEDIndia, he graphs global economic growth since 1858 and predicts the exact date that India and China will outstrip the US.”
The more man meditates upon good thoughts, the better will be his world and the world at large.