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Show ALL Forums  > Science/philosophy  > Has Western Culture passed its zenith?      Home login  
Joined: 8/18/2011
Msg: 1
Has Western Culture passed its zenith?Page 1 of 2    (1, 2)
Cultures rise and fall.

Is western culture on its way out?

Is it now the time of the BRIC?

What would it take for western culture to progress rather than regress?

BRIC is a grouping acronym that refers to the countries of Brazil, Russia, India and China, which are all deemed to be at a similar stage of newly advanced economic development. It is typically rendered as "the BRICs" or "the BRIC countries" or "the BRIC economies" or alternatively as the "Big Four".

The acronym was coined by Jim O'Neill in a 2001 paper entitled "Building Better Global Economic BRICs". The acronym has come into widespread use as a symbol of the shift in global economic power away from the developed G7 economies towards the developing world. It is estimated that BRIC economies will overtake G7 economies by 2027.
Joined: 11/12/2011
Msg: 2
Has Western Culture passed its zenith?
Posted: 3/30/2012 1:58:59 PM
You seem like A_Gent who just wants
to get a thread going because you mix
a whole lot of different things in your
Western Culture !
It looks like the world needs to reevaluate
and get down to agree on common economic
trade medium, because the almighty Dollar
just ain't cutting it anymore!
Just because a nation goes from agriculture
to industrialization and produces the most
junk doesn't necessarily make them top dog,
I don't think ! ?
This is like solving the world problems on pof !! lol
The oddest things in the world such as Social Networks
have substantial economic value....I have a hard time
wrapping my head around matching that to the value
of a F22 Raptor or whatever the latest fighter is called!!??
Joined: 6/29/2009
Msg: 3
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Has Western Culture passed its zenith?
Posted: 3/30/2012 2:44:39 PM
Peeeeeeeehrsonally, I think that the entire idea of a "civilization reaching it's zenith and declining," is problematic.

From an historians disciplined perspective, I recognize that the concept of civilizations rising and falling has been a popular way to think of doings in the past. It is especially popular, simply because lots of people very much LIKE being able to have done with something, to have stories have endings with big fat periods on them. The reason the Roman Empire is popular, is in part because it DID come to a firm and definite fiery end.

Right now, as the US ceases to be the most powerful nation on the planet in all ways, some want to see this as a time of decline, when it might be more accurate by far, to recognize that many other nations have risen to the same level as we have. That we can no longer count on the rest of the world to supply us with a ready source of ultra cheap resources, doesn't mean we will necessarily decline. It just means we will have to evolve to a different kind of economics, where one can no longer get rich by victimizing other nations peasants.

Take a look at Britain. Have they actually 'declined,' now that the Empire is gone? I would say no. They adjusted. They have no weed-infested, deserted capitol grounds, filling gradually with dirt, as the eons pass them by.

So therefore OP, I would neither side with the doomsayers who claim we are "falling," nor with the self-blinded nuts on the other end of things, who want to pretend we are destined always to be "number one on the Earth," just because we are the Americans.

Now, if you are among those who feels that any nation that is not out taking unfair advantage of less educated and less free peoples in other areas, is somehow a weak nation to be looked down upon, or that we must have a better standard of living by far, than everyone else in order to deserve respect, then yes, we are in decline. Relatively speaking.
Joined: 7/1/2011
Msg: 4
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Has Western Culture passed its zenith?
Posted: 3/30/2012 4:10:57 PM
I think that the current economic power struggles occurring in the world today, have to do more with energy than they do with sealable goods. I think that what we are witnessing now is the, near end, result of an economic war that the western elite have been waging on the majority of the world for the last thirty five years now, in earnest. I also think that this economic war is an intended prelude to a world physical war - the likes of which the world has never seen. A war to end all wars, so to speak.


The world population is estimated to have exceeded seven billion as of march 12, 2012 (United States Census Bureau).

Population of china: 1,347,350,000, or 19.24% of world population.

Population of India: 1,210,193,422, or 17.28% of world population.

This means that nearly 1 in 5 people in the world live in either one of these land masses. The real question here, I think, is, are either of these populations and there economies sustainable?


Are we runnig out of cheap (easily accessible) energy? Are we running out of oil? I have heard our approach to oil consumption, over the last one hundred years, characterized as being similar to enhariting a fortune and squandering it, with very little to show for it, practically over night.

Is the war in the middle east really over cultural differences, or is it an attempt by the west to take control of the last of the only truly substantial deposits of oil left on this planet, before the physical energy war truly begins?

In our current situation ( population, 2. Sheer economic size and complexity.) are there any viable energy sources outside of oil? I have heard the arguments on both sides, and from what I can understand of the situation it doesn't look good.

There are many, many other factor that come into play in this situation, but I think that for the most part it boils down to this simple question:

Given given the size of the population, the economic structure and it's sheer complexity, do we have the energy to sustain the growth we seem unable to escape from?
Joined: 10/16/2011
Msg: 5
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Has Western Culture passed its zenith?
Posted: 3/30/2012 4:28:02 PM
What would it take for western culture to progress rather than regress?

To stop thinking the constant growth is necessary especially every 3 months. Growth is not unlimited so now that we have grown very rapidly over the past 60 years it must slow which means others catch up.

If we don't slow then we pop like a bubble and then regress for real. Capping the size of specific industries and businesses so they stop becoming dangerous.

Banks should not eat other banks until there are only a few banks left.

We have a new threat now with Google and Facebook. They are so large that to grow they only compete with each other at the exclusion of almost everyone else. A few years ago Google had a network problem and a large chunk of internet traffic disappeared. Google alone is responsible for a tremendous share of businesses ability to survive economically due to their advertising system.

This is what it looks like when Google falls over

Google is moving into many different areas so it can keep looking like it is growing. It is non-stop. Facebook is doing the same thing. Microsoft did the same thing until they were blocked by government.

The difference now is that technology allows these companies to grow at crazy rates and expand into so many areas of impact and to scales that were virtually unheard of before. This growth cannot continue without faltering and the impact of any misstep can be financially catastrophic for many.
Joined: 9/20/2011
Msg: 6
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Has Western Culture passed its zenith?
Posted: 3/30/2012 5:59:51 PM
Personally, I think that the US has reached it's Zenith and has already started dropping down.
That is not unchangeable, however, to re-iterate what Igor said in a different manner, the perspective by which you measure the economy is based on the success of others.
Because the US is driven to be bigger, stronger, richer etc, the best way for the US to improve is to allow others to catch up (perhaps even help them) in order to create a new norm and thus push themselves to achieve something better.

From my perspective, the problem with this is the US doesn't have the mental capacity to do this. I see it like a human ladder - you stand on so&so's shoulders - you can't get any higher because you spend all your energy stepping on his head to keep him down, not realizing you can't get any higher unless he does.

I read an article awhile back suggesting that the next economic superpower will not be BRIorC (I wish I could find it and provide a link, sorry). First of all, they are all far too corrupt. Also, China's population is aging (max 1 baby per couple, 2/3 of their population will retire/die in 10 - 20 years and that will raise demand for labour thus raising the price). Brazil is depleting their resources and much of their land / resources are owned by companies outside of South America. Russia's culture is very rough - there are many cities with no street lights where people are afraid to go out at night (my boss is Russian, if you heard the horror stories, you'd never believe Russia has much chance for advancement). India is probably the one to watch for out of those 4, however, you can't get anything done in that country without slipping someone some cash. Their land and resources are limited and their population is becoming far too educated for menial manufacturing jobs. If they do emerge as a superpower, they will first have to clean up their business ethics and find creative ways around their issues.
The article suggested that the next economic superpower will either be Australia or Canada. While this might sound like a wild idea, both countries have clean business practices, ample resources and a good rapport for trade throughout the globe. Both countries all have a good mix of education levels and a sufficient level of immigration which will not only supply a strong workforce, but also a well rounded one.
Call me crazy, but don't worry about BRIC, watch out for CIA
Joined: 8/18/2011
Msg: 7
Has Western Culture passed its zenith?
Posted: 3/30/2012 6:49:20 PM
I think, unless the economic policies are changed, Western culture is doomed to stagnation and ultimate regression into haves, who control what economy there is, and have nots struggling to get by on less and less. Eventually it will settle into an economic feudal culture, and perhaps ultimately go the way of Easter Island.

There are well thought out alternatives, and if implemented, western culture can continue to evolve...perhaps to the betterment of all... but not in the manner it is going now.

“Imagine an economy in which life is valued more than money and power resides with ordinary people who care about one another, their community, and their natural environment. It is possible. It is happening. Millions of people are living it into being. Our common future hangs in the balance”
Joined: 1/20/2009
Msg: 8
Has Western Culture passed its zenith?
Posted: 3/30/2012 8:19:19 PM
No. Western culture will do just fine once 'The Obama' and his coterie of anti-American destructive little psychophants are removed from the levers of power and - hopefully - impeached for, at the very least, fraud, misrepresentation, malfeasance / misfeasance in office, breach of contract, and a host of other illegalities injurious to this nation and others with whom he treats favorably now but which ones in past have been inimical to the best interests of not only the United States but of Western culture in general.
Joined: 6/29/2009
Msg: 9
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Has Western Culture passed its zenith?
Posted: 3/30/2012 10:15:38 PM
Paul K: yep, that's exactly the sort of thing I am referring to.

Taking advantage of another nations' peoples desperation is not an honorable, nor an ultimately healthy thing for a country to do. The fact that China and India are packed with lots of hungry people, can lead them to, as they have done, permit horrible working conditions and dirt-poor wages to be foisted upon them, in order to enrich foreign "entrepreneurs." The fact that a starving person "voluntarily" enters into an agreement to keep them from death, but also make them remain just barely alive, isn't an even-up sort of a deal. That a slave "agrees" to work, in order not to be put to death, isn't the same as two equal people agreeing to help each other for mutual benefit.

I do think that the West is facing some very real, self-inflicted dangers. Specifically, the last few decades have seen the rise in our financial culture, of the idea that however a profit is derived, it's a good one. Even if the profit is drawn entirely by playing numbers games and juggling the books, it's been allowed, even encouraged, even codified and respected. I'm talking here, about things like outsourcing everything, not in order to gain better quality specialists, but simply to be able to avoid calling someone an employee, and thus reducing one's on-the-books expenses (or rather shifting them elsewhere). And this sort of thing has been helped along by both of Americas political parties, each for their own ignorant reasons.

It has reached the point where some "corporations" consist of nothing more than a few over-paid bean-counters and executives at the top, fronting a shell that actually produces nothing at all. They outsourced even the creation of ideas for their own products, and the designs for them, to the point where the only thing that the CEO's do, is see to it that their logo goes on before their "products" are marketed and supported entirely by people who don't work for them.

That sort of thing is indeed resulting in fewer acts of creativity and leadership coming from the West, waiting instead for others to come up with something for them to slap a clever logo on.
Joined: 11/20/2004
Msg: 10
Has Western Culture passed its zenith?
Posted: 3/30/2012 10:21:17 PM
If you want to understand the fall of civilization, and thus the fall of a culture, you need look no farther than a history book. All civilizations that have fallen share one thing in common, they let their infrastructure rot around them. As long as we keep up our infrastructure we will continue to develop and advance, but the moment we stop maintaining it, it's game over for us, even more so now than ever with our reliance on infrastructure to sustain every aspect of our lives.

We are however facing a change in culture brought on by the new ease of communication. Things that were cultural taboo are becoming much more acceptable, and other things that were acceptable are becoming taboo. But that's normal according to history as well, the Roman culture evolved with the widespread construction of roads that allowed easier travel.
Joined: 11/21/2011
Msg: 11
Has Western Culture passed its zenith?
Posted: 3/30/2012 10:27:13 PM
Yup....actually well over the curve
the zenith appeared somewhere back in the 70's,
72 for my dollar.
Since then government has occupied itself with "controlling" the populace, prior to then it "served" the populace.
Up to that point building American (and global) infrastructure had a clear and defined benefit to western culture since then the focus has been in building up the rest of the planet to be able to compete or overshadow Western influence.
It declined from there until for the first time in 1988 I heard foreign nationals from unheard of country's blowing a big razzberry at the opportunity for American citizenship.
By 1990 the terrorists were no longer trying to gain any objective that furthered their own cause, and their focal point was to actively tear down the Western world.
Jackals don't nip at a healthy lion.
Our time aint over yet, but we are no longer able to inspire the healthy fear we used to, (overuse of shock and awe had the effect of inuring the awed) we can still take yer head off in a couple of swipes but we spend more time licking our wounds.
By the new millennium our governments were overtly selling out the interests of the people to corporate concerns.
By 2000 we were being sold a bill of goods in the name of screwball ideology and now the "leaders" are busy insulating themselves from the consequence of their actions. In the very near future I expect both the executive and legislative branches of industrialized nations to betray us for little more than cash.
I don't know if it could be set back on course, but I expect to see some frantic efforts.
By and large I see altruism disappearing from the face of the earth and "true democracy" taking hold.
I think that real freedom is a byproduct of vast open vista's so to recover the country I loved we need a vast reduction of stable growth, needless authority, concerned neighbors, and I need to survive the reduction in a position to defend my own.
Barring that its just survival in a goldfish bowl.
Joined: 10/16/2011
Msg: 12
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Has Western Culture passed its zenith?
Posted: 3/30/2012 11:13:45 PM

Even if the profit is drawn entirely by playing numbers games and juggling the books, it's been allowed, even encouraged, even codified and respected.

I have seen nothing but this since I have been of working age. It took me a long time to figure it out. I had always heard that it was nothing but the bottom line that mattered and I always thought that there had to be more. Creativity, intelligence, drive, anything more.

The truth is that in large corporations it is not even that complicated. They pass around excel spreadsheets. Your entire work life is based on cells in Microsoft Excel. It is either a black number or marked in red as a number in (). Your job is in that spreadsheet. If the group you are in is in the cell marked with red numbers other cells get adjusted to balance it. Of all of the numbers in all of the other cells the most impacting one is headcount. Let’s just say your business unit has broken even for the year. Well, breaking even is not stellar. Reduce the cell with headcount by 10 and you just made a profit around one million dollars. Instant stellar year.

I also found another one of the most difficult concepts to grasp in business. It is more palatable to waste one million dollars on new systems than to increase headcount by any amount. It is better to start new projects with the same staff, increase workload, and increase anything but headcount. Even though reality tells you that you need more people to handle the additional load it is a tooth and nail fight to get any. At budget time you can rock the efficiencies and save one million dollars that you were allocated in the budget planning session earlier in the year. That savings cannot be transferred to the ‘headcount’ cell because that is basically another budget and money cannot switch between capex budgets and headcount budgets. Everything done at the higher levels is to always reduce headcount as the primary means of accelerating profits to meet those quarterly expectations. Most of the time the pressure isn’t that great. However, with the economy having issues the pressure is beyond tremendous. And it just isn’t’ logical to me. I see a bad economy as a better opportunity for business to expand at a cheaper cost. Haven’t found many business people that agree with that.
Joined: 12/27/2005
Msg: 13
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Has Western Culture passed its zenith?
Posted: 3/31/2012 2:51:09 AM
Western culture is the worlds culture today. There simply is no other competing culture which might become dominate like there was say 2000 years ago.

However, the American lifestyle is in decline.
We are no where near what we should have been considering what we were 50 years ago.
Joined: 6/29/2009
Msg: 14
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Has Western Culture passed its zenith?
Posted: 3/31/2012 6:14:24 AM
I quite agree with your general assessment, nipoleon, though I probably have a different set of reasons how I think things went wrong.

About the time you and someone else here point to, as when the West "reached it's zenith," some changes that had actually been long in the works, were just then thrusting themselves into the worlds recognition. For example, the U.S. in particular had progressed spectacularly after WW2, sprinting past everyone else financially at breakneck speed. This was partially due to tremendous innovation on our peoples parts, which was helped by our fundamentally free system of self governance, but it was also inherently being "poisoned " right along, by our failure to recognize how fleeting many of our advantages really were.

While we were indeed innovating, we were also able to benefit from the "great ocean" effect, making foreign products cost as much as our own here, even though their workers were paid far less than ours. We also benefited from having our large, mostly new and un-bombed factories in full and relatively efficient operation, while the rest of the planet was either shackled under despotic leaders with no sense of honest vision (The USSR and Red China, in particular), or was struggling to eke out a scrubby set of products from half-repaired older technology.

That all began to change in the 1950's, and it finally became glaringly evident by the 1970's that the change was in full swing. Hence we awoke in the 1970's to the fact that our factories no longer could coast on yesterdays innovation, but actually required fresh ideas...but our business culture had purposely gone about erasing innovation as the choice method of moving forward, in favor of tricks like changing the idea of what a "cost" was . When things got even worse, the business and political leadership, in lockstep then as much as they are now, decided that the way to fix everything was STILL not to innovate, but rather to "change to a services economy." That is, no longer basing our strength around development and production at all, but rather around providing service support to OTHER PEOPLE'S development and production.

And now, the most loudly proclaimed "solution" to the fifty-year old challenge, is coming from what claims to be the conservative side (but which has nothing to do with the true innovative thinking that conservatism was once proud of), which declares that the fix is for Western working and middle classes to simply suck it up, and accept that they will have to return to living as the foreign workers do, on low pay, and with no social safety net whatsoever.

Hence, we are in apparent decline, because our leadership insists on it as a way for them to maintain the illusion that they continue to deserve their titles and high salaries.
Joined: 12/27/2005
Msg: 15
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Has Western Culture passed its zenith?
Posted: 3/31/2012 9:57:39 AM
The basic problem is that we have never gotten beyond the " plantation " model of business management.
That is... the idea that positive productivity is a function of low wages.

It's easy to make a profit when your compensation to labor is nothing, or next to nothing.
We must get away from the master/slave mindset of business management.

The solutions of the future must involve the whole of society.
Ownership, management, and labor must start to function together to benefit all of society together.

There's nothing wrong with making money, there's nothing wrong with making a profit. But, no society lasts long which allows the few to excessively profit on the backs of the majority.
Adam Smith knew this and tried to teach it in his book, " The Wealth of Nations ", but his teachings have been perverted beyond all recognition.
Joined: 7/1/2011
Msg: 16
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Has Western Culture passed its zenith?
Posted: 3/31/2012 3:05:51 PM
Again, I think that the real game changer here, which led to the sailing off of the American production base, beginning in the mid to late 70's, Has more to do with the 1970's energy crisis than it does anything else that has been talked about here so far. In 1968, 1969, 1970 America hit peak oil production, and quickly became the largest importer of oil in the world.

Graph of US oil production:

"The 1970s energy crisis was a period in which the major industrial countries of the world, particularly the United States, faced substantial shortages, both perceived and real, of petroleum. The two worst crises of this period were the 1973 oil crisis, caused by the Arab Oil Embargo of OAPEC, and the 1979 energy crisis, caused by the Iranian Revolution.

The crisis period, however, began to unfold as a result of events at the end of the 1960s. It was during this time that petroleum production in the United States and some other parts of the world peaked.[2] Subsequently during the 1970s world oil production per capita peaked.[3]

The major industrial centers of the world were forced to contend with escalating issues related to petroleum supply. The fact that Western countries had to deal with potentially unfriendly sources in the Middle East and other parts of the world to maintain supply made the situation especially complex.

The crisis led to stagnant economic growth in many countries as oil prices climbed. Though there were genuine issues with supply, part of the run-up in prices resulted from the perception of a crisis. The combination of stagnant growth and price inflation during this era led to the coinage of the term stagflation."

World peak oil production occurred in the early 2000's and plateaued in 2005. I'm telling you people, we are in for a hell of a ride in the very near future.
Joined: 6/29/2009
Msg: 17
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Has Western Culture passed its zenith?
Posted: 4/1/2012 8:59:12 AM
I disagree. Though that happened at the same time, I think that the greater cause of American Production moving elsewhere, was the combination of the invention of the Container Ship in the 1950's, and the fact that our own wages were escalated during that same time, made for a perfect storm when the fuel crunch did come.

The combination of relative world peace, with low wages overseas, and very inexpensive transportation made it financially worthwhile to go to the expense of building factories and staffing them overseas. That was compounded by the continued evolution of computing and the simplification of mass-production techniques, so that the higher educational levels of the more developed nations were no longer needed to run the factories.

Until workers everywhere are allowed to have a say in the conditions they have to deal with, and how much they are paid, and how long they must work, we will continue to see declines here. At least until we stop electing leaders who think that catering to what nipoleon described well as the "plantation style approach to business (holding wages low, as the primary method to compete)," we will continue to see declines here.
Joined: 12/27/2005
Msg: 18
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Has Western Culture passed its zenith?
Posted: 4/1/2012 11:11:51 AM
The Arab oil embargoes of the early 1970's represented the watershed of the American middle class. Ever since 1973 , the U.S. has endured a gradual decline in it's standard of living . Anyone old enough to remember the time before 1973 knows how disappointing the American economy has become since then.

Rather than respond positively to the energy crisis, we reacted negatively and fell victim to blaming the Arabs for doing only what was naturally in their own best interests. They weren't playing our game anymore and we hated them for it.

Now..... what happens when your neighbor loses his job ?
He cant pay his mortgage anymore and loses his house. If another buyer doesn't purchase it, the house goes empty. The grass doesn't get mowed. The walls don't get painted. The house becomes an eyesore and it reflects on the whole neighborhood. Property values start to decline.
Soon, the whole neighborhood becomes a ghetto where no one wants to live.

When our neighbors fail, we all share in that failure.
Conversely, when our neighbors succeed, we all share in their success.

We all have a vested interest in the success of everybody else in the neighborhood, the town, the state, and the country as a whole. We all share in the success of everyone no matter who they are. No matter their race or religion or what language they speak or who they sleep with.
We need our neighbors to succeed. As they succeed, we also succeed.
If they fail, we will fail too.

We must stop looking at other Americans as..... winners and losers.

America has fallen victim to the propaganda of looking at our fellow citizens as competitors, as winners and losers.
There is no great egalitarian pyramid where the most deserving are at the top and the least deserving are at the bottom.
This is a lie !
It's a lie designed to keep you in your place, to keep you a slave.

This is the only real solution to Americas and eventually the whole worlds problems.
Joined: 8/18/2011
Msg: 19
Has Western Culture passed its zenith?
Posted: 4/1/2012 12:39:42 PM
There seems to be a theme that western culture is characterized by economic domination.

Nipolean, et al... is it affluenza that is undermining western culture?

Will the saving grace of western culture be a refocus on egalitarian values, rather than the inherently Darwinian results of pure capitalism?
Joined: 10/16/2011
Msg: 20
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Has Western Culture passed its zenith?
Posted: 4/1/2012 1:11:06 PM

Will the saving grace of western culture be a refocus on egalitarian values, rather than the inherently Darwinian results of pure capitalism?

No. That will be the collapse which seems to be what people want.

The saving grace is to counterbalance the Darwinian results of pure capitalism by regulation of size. is a good example. Everyone loves to hate Yahoo. It is seeing as a dying company yet they still made a billion in profit and had over 16 billion in revenue. Hardly a dead company but it has become virtually dead to the market. It isn't sexy enough on growth. The takeover of the economy by high stakes and big profit risks makes people a ton of money but it is not economically viable for a country to maintain that. Capitalism works but it has been hijacked by people that are intent on crashing it.

Darwinian evolution is an incredible position to take to find that balance between beneficial and harmful and it is the most natural system. You can't stop the strong from taking over under any social or cultural environment. You can recognize them, allow them to have their influence until a point in which that influence starts producing negative results and gathering to much power.

Technology companies like Google and Facebook should become highly regulated for the information they claim ownership of. Food companies such as Monsanto should never be allowed to patent seeds. Banks should be separate from investment houses. Congress and Senate should be prevented from trading in all stocks or investing in companies while seated.

Very simple rules that still allows people to be rich but restricts growth in specific ways that become a threat to the health and security of the nation.
Joined: 10/30/2009
Msg: 21
Has Western Culture passed its zenith?
Posted: 4/1/2012 6:29:41 PM
Probably not.
As long as USA is the dominant force on the planet,
western culture will stay alive. Note, even though now
Asia is rising, they are copying western culture. This is
because their rise is dependent upon USA or the west.
This trend will continue everywhere. I see only two reasons for which
western culture will be abandoned.

1) High dependency of Western culture on Monetary System.
Monetary system is not science, collapse of financial world
will diminish the influence of western culture.

2) Everything in the universe has a limit, so does human creativity.
One day we will reach a point (zenith??) after which nothing new will be
created, discovered, or invented. A slow fall of human civilization
or western culture.
Joined: 7/12/2006
Msg: 22
Has Western Culture passed its zenith?
Posted: 4/3/2012 7:57:08 PM
When every one wants to live like a Brazilian or the Chinese,
then I would agree with this.

but as everyone wants to live like us,
I think we are are still the top paradigm.

Which is a shame as we are very wasteful and foolish as to the environment.
Hopefully our ever changing culture will morph into something more sustainable.
Joined: 7/10/2006
Msg: 23
Has Western Culture passed its zenith?
Posted: 4/4/2012 12:54:31 PM
"Cultures rise and fall."

Do they? Or is this a bit of 'cribbin', from the works of Edward Gibbon? I ask the question, because the whole framework of the debate deserves a look before we leap into prophecies of decline. Whether it's or Huntington, Spengler, or even Gibbon, that you look to as the intellectual ancestor of this view, it is neither obvious nor uncontroversial.

It is not even at all obvious where the boundaries of "Western" culture are supposed to be. It's not obvious that they are co-terminous with a particular set of states or national economies, for one thing.

Talk about Brazil for example. As a Western hemisphere, "New World" country with a post-colonial history and something of a "melting pot" culture, it has as good a claim to be as "Western" a culture as the U.S.

Russia, India and China are more complicated questions, obviously, but there's a markedly "Western" element in all of them, regardless of how geographically East they actually are. India's a parliamentary democracy on the Westminster model (well, at least in theory), and both Russia and China are (sort of) post-Marxist (depending on whom you ask, of course), and there's hardly anything more "Western" than at least claiming to model your economy based on stuff you half understand from Das Kapital.
Joined: 8/18/2011
Msg: 24
Has Western Culture passed its zenith?
Posted: 4/4/2012 3:36:12 PM

The blue bits.
Joined: 8/18/2011
Msg: 25
Has Western Culture passed its zenith?
Posted: 4/8/2012 1:44:40 AM
When you are green, you grow. When you are ripe, you rot.
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