September 28, 2012

Erosion of Western Power

If you want a better grasp of the future of the world you need to listen to an interview on the talk show On Point with Pankaj Mishra, Indian essayist and novelist. His latest book is “From the Ruins of Empire: The Intellectuals Who Remade Asia.”

The book suggest that power is shifting away from western culture. Below are bullet points worth noting. The author is from India and therefore has a different perspective than westerners. It is worth understanding their view of history and the future.
  • The East was looking for dignity and equality from the West and never got it.
  • When Japan's navy defeated Russia's Navy in 1905 the East began to believe in themselves and it gave them hope that the imperialism of the west could be overcome. This hope spread throughout the East; not just Japan.
  • A crystallizing moment regarding China was when in 2009 the Premier of China stood at the tomb of Mao Tse Tung's son and said that he can rest for eternity because China is strong and will no longer be bullied by the West. This belief of being bullied is widespread in the east.
  • The East was used and abused by the West in much of the 19th and early 20th century. From their perspective the East was humiliated by the West. The Chinese were used by West as slave labor, India was used by Briton to fight a war with China.
  • Dictatorships in the Middle East were set up by the West to protect their interest in the region.
  • For much of the last 150 years the West looked at the world as something they could use as personal property.
  • The basic cultural difference is the West is focused on providing a good life for the individual and society is here to facilitate that quest. The East puts the focus on the good of society and the individual has a responsibility to help society.
  • The East is gaining power from the West and it will continue.
Everyone in the west has two choices: 1) The author is exaggerating and what he says can be ignored, or 2) What he says is worth thinking about and we should adjust future stratagies accordingly. I for one, believe we should be thinking.

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