Shock, Horror, another good article in the Guardian.

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by short-fuse, Aug 25, 2005.

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  1. The titan holding the orb? Is that supposed to Atlas? He wasn't a titan was he?
     
  2. Atlas was a Titan; one of that race of gods before the Olympians (Zeus, Athena, etc)

    Alternately, Atlas was the child of Poseidon (an Olympian) and Cleito, a mortal woman. Greek mythology rarely permits for just one account to exist...

    Back on topic: interesting article, although I think the parallel is overstretched. Commentators seem very fond of that - Iraq is the new Vietnam, America in 2005 is the new Britain in 1905, George Bush is the new King George etc.

    I'd like to know more about the hints that were dropped in the final paragraph.

    smithie
     
  3. you're absolutley right, very thought provoking, although saying another good article is probably pushing it, thats the first i've seen.

    I must admit i'm marginally concerned that i've read a gaurdian article and agreed with it. I think I need a little lie down...
     
  4. If you're a discerning reader, all the broadsheets have some very good journalism (though The Times is fast becoming a redtop in disguise).

    China will almost certainly be to the 21st century what the US was to the 20th and Britain was to the 19th. Although still an economic and military giant, the US is vulnerable to its own ageing population, which demands more and has the elactoral clout to get it, while the economy continues to strain under the burden.

    Meanwhile, China is powering on, with an enterprising and hard working population, that aspires to Western standards of living. The long-term dangers of China's economic explosion are, the country's lack of natural resources (which could bring them in to conflict with the nations that hold the resources) and the contribution China's rapid industrialisation will have on climate change. When they can afford it, every family in China is going to want aircon, a car and all the other bells and whistles we take for granted in the West.
     
  5. I also find laboured historical comparisons a bit dull.

    The British Empire had at it's core a stated sense of mission and values that were widely shared by it's architects and administrators. OTOH, the modern "Pax Americana" doesn't by virtue of the fact that the Americans fail to actually even acknowledge that they are an empire (if it walks like a duck and quacks etc).

    As we have seen, the only people who try to articulate such sentiments are usually bellicose, deluded Neo-Cons like Gen. Vallely in the other thread. And they aren't very convincing and certainly don't have the average American four-square behind them.

    America has technological and materiel advantages behind them that most other nations can only dream of. This will in my humble ensure their "full spectrum dominance" beyond the time frame suggested in that article. The Chinese economic "dragon" is overstated; it's hybrid of Communism and state-sponsored capitalism will eventually strain under it's inherent contradictions, hamstringing the country and undermining it's Top Nation aspirations.

    V!
     
  6. I suppose historians would find themselves out of pocket if they simply said "it's a fcuk up like in (insert year here)". They must get paid by the word! :twisted:
     
  7. 'So this is no time for schadenfreude'

    Well maybe just a bit!!
     
  8. Silent_ell,

    I am not a grat advocate of the Guardian and I would never buy it but read it on the net to get a bit of balance. The paper does occasionally produce some good analysis but its like finding a diamond in a bucket of poo.
     
  9. If you believe in world cyclical history then China is only returning to the dominant economic position that it enjoyed up and till the 18th century. It survived then as economic power despite suferring from acute internal tensions and problems and who is to say that it won't survive these problems now?
     
  10.  
  11. In other words, the Chinese view of China - that for the past however many thousand years, China has always been a superpower - she's just had a couple of bad centuries.

    Vegetius, I think you're right in some respects - China's economy isn't all it's cracked up to be, and the US does have a massive technological advantage. But like that article pointed out, the US economy also has massive structural flaws - like the complete lack of saving, and we could add the enormous national debt into it as well - and it's a land where, within three years, 75% of people will be overweight/obese. As societies go, that's not healthy - literally as well as sociologically.

    Then again, who in 1971 was predicting that the Berlin Wall would be pulled down within twenty years? Entertaining though second-guessing the future is, we humans are pretty damn poor at it. I understand the CIA is still trying to confirm rumours that the USSR has collapsed through its contacts in the Moscow McDonald's.

    smithie
     
  12. No its also a view held by some world systems historians - not saying its right not saying its wrong
    Proponents of this thesis such as the Late Andre Gunder Frank argue that China was always at the centre of the world economy and the rise of the west is just a recent phenomenon.

    The synopsis from his book ReOrient

    A short article on Gunder-Frank and his thesis
     
  13. I wasn't denying that it's held by some historians; my view on that particular question is that history may or may not repeat itself, but historians certainly repeat each other.

    Frank's view seems to be centred on a desire/need to denigrate the European achievement. In contrast to that, I'd point out that it was in Europe that democratic states first developed (Athens) and in Europe/the West that democracy first emerged in the modern world (Britain; the USA; France). 'Westerners' (by his definition) have contributed most to modern philosophy (Plato, Aristotle, Aquinas, Descartes, Hume, Locke, Wittgenstein, Russell, to name but a few) and it was in the West/Europe that modern science was invented (Aristotle) and developed (Galileo, Copernicus, to the present day.) I can't deny the contribution of 'Easterners' to mathematics (our number system is Arabic, and Arabic and Chinese mathematicians contributed vastly to the basics of mathematics) but the first mathematicians were Euclid (we still study Euclidean geometry), Pythagoras (square of the hypoteneuse...) and Archimedes.

    In literature, art and music the lines become far more blurred, and judgement more subjective, and I can see how our views might become highly Eurocentric - we value, say, the Sistine Chapel or Beethoven's symphonies for their cultural relevance and cultural synthesis (i.e., how they reflect their own culture - which is also ours), but aren't in a position to appreciate Chinese art. But I'd argue that the symphonies of Beethoven or the operas of Mozart are a greater cultural achievement than aboriginal Australian or African music - I don't know enough about Far Eastern music to compare. Perhaps I'm being a cultural imperialist.

    In short, I can't agree with his hypothesis. If the world is Eurocentric (perhaps a better word would be occidentocentric, to include North America?), then I would argue that that's because the Occident has had a greater hand in shaping the world for most of the past two thousand years - and that includes the early modern period.

    Unfortunately, I don't know enough about the economics to argue that point, other than to suggest that access to the silver and other minerals of North America must surely pale into insignificance compared to the resources of the Far East? If access to resources was what was key, why should Europe's North American/European hand trump the Orient's?

    smithie
     
  14. China's great advantage now is it's massive, cheap, controled workforce.
    No free unions in a communist state and THEY say they are communists.
    As the workers get richer their expectations will increase and so will internal instability.
    The Chinese ares Chinas biggest enemy.
    The time scale is unpradictable.
    john