The reason why the East fell behind the West

  • Thread starter Kimchijjigae
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245
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I don't think the East is still in the quicksand of irrationality.
Still is the key here. That's part of the reason why they're in the process of catching up now.

Japan is about the most technologically advanced culture you'll find, and they're the most secular country on Earth. Coincidence? perhaps.
 

Kimchijjigae

Still is the key here. That's part of the reason why they're in the process of catching up now.

Japan is about the most technologically advanced culture you'll find, and they're the most secular country on Earth. Coincidence? perhaps.
To think that Japan is in the process to catch up is foolish.
 
245
1
Did you even read what I typed? I thought it was pretty obvious that I said that Japan is one of the most--if not the most--technologically advanced nations on Earth.

Japan was the exception in Asia until the last few decades, when China finally decided to claw its way out of the Neolithic.
 
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http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=12340"
At the outset, the heavily Confucian nature of the teaching role needs to be stressed, as also the difference between this way of teaching and the Socratic method [...] Westerners who have merely to master the alphabet [and not thousands of Chinese characters] need to make a serious mental leap to understand the dimensions of this learning process and also to see how it establishes a Confucian learning paradigm that is right at the centre of the cognitive process of any Japanese who has been through the school system.

[...] it should come as no surprise that there are no original or famous Japanese philosophers. The way of teaching is too Confucian and the group cohesion is too pervasive to allow any nails to stick up.

In certain fields the efficiency and efficacy of this approach is not in question. [..] The Japanese are unrivalled at building complex structures and making machinery and automobiles, where the ‘kata-factor' and group cohesion is paramount. The approach seems to work far less well in fields where individual creativity is necessary.
Is it that scholars of the West came to glorify ancient Greek individuals, around the time of the Renaissance, whereas the culture (in part even attributable to the language) was less amenable in the East?

Was it geography (as espoused by "Guns, Germs and Steel")? The simple fact that especially England had vast power already sitting there in the form of coal?

Was it the way capitalism developed in the Mediteranian?

At any rate, it's clear the East (and the middle east especially with their translation movement) was technologically ahead for a long time, but eventually the West seemed to deploy those technologies more widely, and develop further from them. But it's difficult to identify causes in history..
 
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Kimchijjigae

Did you even read what I typed? I thought it was pretty obvious that I said that Japan is one of the most--if not the most--technologically advanced nations on Earth.

Japan was the exception in Asia until the last few decades, when China finally decided to claw its way out of the Neolithic.
Japan is part of the East. rofl
 

Kimchijjigae

http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=12340"


Is it that scholars of the West came to glorify ancient Greek individuals, around the time of the Renaissance, whereas the culture (in part even attributable to the language) was less amenable in the East?

Was it geography (as espoused by "Guns, Germs and Steel")? The simple fact that especially England had vast power already sitting there in the form of coal?

Was it the way capitalism developed in the Mediteranian?

At any rate, it's clear the East (and the middle east especially with their translation movement) was technologically ahead for a long time, but eventually the West seemed to deploy those technologies more widely, and develop further from them. But it's difficult to identify causes in history..
There are many factors and yes you can identify them, but not perhaps all of them. At any rate, you can't determine creativity based on national achievements. Thinking otherwise is quite unscientific.
 
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245
1
Japan is part of the East. rofl

One of the drawbacks to the internet is one can't immediately discern with whom one is conversing. Case in point, I've just discovered that you're either really, really stupid, or just feinting to be so to get a rise out of someone.

Either way, I can see that this is a waste of time. I'll leave you to your armpit-solo.
 

Kimchijjigae

Well, clearly, you can't even put your thoughts into words properly so that people may understand you. That means you are the bigger idiot. Don't make people guess what you are trying to say, Sherlock Holmes.
 
The main reason why East Asia did not modernize before Europe is this. East Asians are holistic, they see the whole before the individual elements constituting it and we believed that the whole was more important than the individual. This led to the following belief that continuous scientific and technological advancement was superficial, and science should be used to serve the whole, thus the society and the Cosmos—balance with the nature and human society, etc. Moreover, this disemphasis of the individual led to material frugality which hindered the development of capitalism, and without capitalism there cannot be modern science.

<The main reason why East Asia did not modernize before Europe is this. East Asians are holistic, they see the whole before the individual elements constituting it and we believed that the whole was more important than the individual. >

I have another explanation for this stop of development, that gave central Europe to catch the Chinese culture. All civilizations keep growing till they get stack with some scarcity of resources. In this way, Chinese civilization stopped and froze when the scarcity of charcoal, scarcity of firewood, made the production of more steel and iron a limiting factor. In the case of China, other factors had some influence like the existence of a powerful empire. A powerful empire is basically conservative and has very little interest in changing the social status quo. In fact the great empires tend to get stiff with a fundamentalist doctrine. Only an exterior power can change that. If Europe would have been under the grip of a powerful empire so many centuries as China, we would had not develop any capitalism at all, or had any industrial revolution. Then, Europe was divided among many warring nations. This tradition of making wars among them, made the kings look at the production of iron and steel with a favorable bias. Of course the aristocrats would like best to have a holistic doctrine that would guaranty their privileges. But in a world with so frequent wars, to develop the steel industry and others, would meant for the kings a sort of promise to win, or to prevail against the enemies.
That interpretation can explain while the superior cultures Southern European nations and Islamic countries got stunted, while the nations of Central Europe developed quite a lot. They have a lot more of woodlands than souther countries. Then, they had more capacity to produce charcoal, and then develop the steel industry.
There was a critical moment in England, when they realized the lack of firewood and had to start consuming coal. Then the industrial revolution was saved by existence of coal, that gave them the possibility of using coke to produce steel.
John Galaor
.
 
Last edited by a moderator:
http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=12340"


Is it that scholars of the West came to glorify ancient Greek individuals, around the time of the Renaissance, whereas the culture (in part even attributable to the language) was less amenable in the East?

Was it geography (as espoused by "Guns, Germs and Steel")? The simple fact that especially England had vast power already sitting there in the form of coal?

Was it the way capitalism developed in the Mediteranian?

At any rate, it's clear the East (and the middle east especially with their translation movement) was technologically ahead for a long time, but eventually the West seemed to deploy those technologies more widely, and develop further from them. But it's difficult to identify causes in history..
I will also add something. Following the idea of Jared Diamon, that was also mine many years ago, but I had not the opportunity of developing, the resources are a limitation to growth. This on a part. This explains while the great civilizations of west in the past, the Mesopotamian, the Egyptian, the Greek, the Roman, and a little later the Islamic and the southern countries of Europe got their development stunted by the scarcity of resources. Not only woods, but agriculture lands, and rains. The population has reached a plateau and then got stunted. The frequent wars were not enough to solve the problem of an excessive population, for the resources exhausted grow very slowly for human standards.

Then, my idea is the capacity to develop industry migrated farther to the North.
And then, the lack of a great empire to freeze and kill the unorthodox ideas permitted some individuals to develop rare concepts, and rare artifacts, like new ways of producing steel and the steam engine. Then being the official doctrine of power less suffocating than in the East and in Islamic countries, gave an opportunity to develop some new industries. In a more conservative system, nobody would had been allowed to invent a machine to weave. The philosopher would had condemned this invention as contrary to the families that were doing weaving by manual means. And is was really true that familiar weavers would lost their means of life. But this damned more or less automatic machines would produce more woven material and more cheap, for the general population. Then, the holistic interpretation on this case would have been wrong.
John Galaor
 
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That seems a sensible idea. This fear of the power of merchants existed also in the west countries. But the frequent wars among European nations gave an advantage to more liberal kings, that allowed more freedom to merchants and industrials. This politics proved positive for kings, for they could earn more money in taxes, and have some advantages in wars. All wars needed a lot o money.
John Galaor
.
 
I put a comma in that sentence for some odd reason of which I am not completely aware. Anyway, do you really consider Wikipedia for the Bible of all truths? Would you even consider substituting your brain for Wikipedia? Free market is basically pure offer and demand without distortions. Slaves don't earn any wage. Do you think the free market would allocate a significant portion of its labor force into very unproductive areas of the economy, and prevent them from participating and free economic actors? Of course, there is no perfect free market, but what was in place in East Asia was far more different.
Of course market are not perfect. But imperfect markets ever existed. More or less imperfect, of course. A market implies that many different agents can go and sell their products, either agricultural or industrial.
Then, the term free market invokes not many restrictions on who can be an independent producer, or seller. So, to some extent the enemy of free markets had been the top elites, you can call them aristocrats, the state, oligocracy, plutocracy, etc. The less the number of agents control the economy, the less a free market it is.
But even so, buyers can be drive by fashions, or propaganda campaigns to buy this or that crap. Then, this people is not free, at least in part. For he was pushed to buy some useless stuff.
John Galaor
 
1,596
0
Capitalism is an economic system. It does not necessarily identify with the social order in a country. A country can have capitalistic economic system, but still posses a lack of civil and political freedoms.

During the late XVIII and XIX centuries, European countries underwent Democratic Revolutions and overthrew the Monarchies. But, Democracy is not the same as Capitalism.
Well there are still a lot of monarchies left (f.i. The Netherlands, Belgium, Sweden).
 
monarchies were not a problem unless they were caught in the middle of civil conflicts. Then, when monarchies were able to swim and to watch their clothes at the same time, they survived the economic conflicts behind the change in economic politics.
John Galaor
 

unmovedmover

The main reason why East Asia did not modernize before Europe is this. East Asians are holistic, they see the whole before the individual elements constituting it and we believed that the whole was more important than the individual. This led to the following belief that continuous scientific and technological advancement was superficial, and science should be used to serve the whole, thus the society and the Cosmos—balance with the nature and human society, etc. Moreover, this disemphasis of the individual led to material frugality which hindered the development of capitalism, and without capitalism there cannot be modern science.

Without capitalism there cannot be modern science? I don't think that's exactly right. It should be without the Age of Enlightenment, or Age of Reason, that there could not have been modern science. Modern science is developed right out of philosophical breakthroughs in the Age of Reason. That was when people really started to question the authority of religion and of Kings. Maybe the right question should be Why did Europe have the Age of Reason before anywhere in the world did? Why could not Asia experience a stage like that first?
 
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to unmovedmover
<<Without capitalism there cannot be modern science? I don't think that's exactly right. It should be without the Age of Enlightenment, or Age of Reason, that there could not have been modern science. Modern science is developed right out of philosophical breakthroughs in the Age of Reason. That was when people really started to question the authority of religion and of Kings. Maybe the right question should be Why did Europe have the Age of Reason before anywhere in the world did? Why could not Asia experience a stage like that first? >>

The so called age of Reason, or Enlightenment, was for years a subversive doctrine of rebellion. As Europe was fractioned in a number of kingdoms it was very difficult to control the subversive thinking. On the other hand, each kingdom or republic wanted to become richer than their neighbors, and had to develop industries. It was clear that industries would be an advantage to a kingdom over another. Not only because industries gave the opportunity to collect more taxes, but a part of the industry was developing the production of steel.
If Europe would had been a powerful empire, there would had not been any opportunity for subversive thinking.
John Galaor
 

unmovedmover

to unmovedmover
<<Without capitalism there cannot be modern science? I don't think that's exactly right. It should be without the Age of Enlightenment, or Age of Reason, that there could not have been modern science. Modern science is developed right out of philosophical breakthroughs in the Age of Reason. That was when people really started to question the authority of religion and of Kings. Maybe the right question should be Why did Europe have the Age of Reason before anywhere in the world did? Why could not Asia experience a stage like that first? >>

The so called age of Reason, or Enlightenment, was for years a subversive doctrine of rebellion. As Europe was fractioned in a number of kingdoms it was very difficult to control the subversive thinking. On the other hand, each kingdom or republic wanted to become richer than their neighbors, and had to develop industries. It was clear that industries would be an advantage to a kingdom over another. Not only because industries gave the opportunity to collect more taxes, but a part of the industry was developing the production of steel.
If Europe would had been a powerful empire, there would had not been any opportunity for subversive thinking.
John Galaor

As if before the Age of Reason each kingdom of Europe did not want to become richer and more powerful than others... Before the Age of Reason, Kingdoms each other all the time for the purpose of conquer.. So your logic is that just because they were split, it would have been better for Europeans to not have the Age of Reason and stay underdeveloped and tame under the dictatorship of kings. You talk as if Age of Reason has taught people to be rebellious, but rebellions have always existed in Europe. At least this time around the rebellions have turned absolute monarchies into more democratic states. "If Europe would have been a powerful empire, there would had not been any opportunity for subversive thinking". This sounds kind of like China to me, and they obviously did not have an age of reason for a couple thousand of years..
 
Dictatorship is a fact of life so common in history. And the wars happened all the time for a reason or other. Mostly for another reason.

What happened with modern industrialized countries is that they were to many players and things were going pretty easy, as fossil fuels were making cheaper to feed a growing population.
But in times a crisis, even a industrialized nations went to war, because the figuration of happiness and progress was shattered. That happened two times in Europe last century, IWW and IIWW

In 19 century it happened a lot more often. When there is a problem to feed too many people, it all end with a war.
John Galaor
.
 

Kimchijjigae

Without capitalism there cannot be modern science? I don't think that's exactly right. It should be without the Age of Enlightenment, or Age of Reason, that there could not have been modern science. Modern science is developed right out of philosophical breakthroughs in the Age of Reason. That was when people really started to question the authority of religion and of Kings. Maybe the right question should be Why did Europe have the Age of Reason before anywhere in the world did? Why could not Asia experience a stage like that first?
What do you need in order to produce a paper on condensed matter physic? A ton of researchers, highly sophisticated goods only produced by highly sophisticated manufacturing installations, a university, etc. A primitive economy mainly based on agriculture won't be able to raise enough capital for all of these, only an advanced capitalist economy can do so.
 
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Kimchijjigae

<The main reason why East Asia did not modernize before Europe is this. East Asians are holistic, they see the whole before the individual elements constituting it and we believed that the whole was more important than the individual. >

I have another explanation for this stop of development, that gave central Europe to catch the Chinese culture. All civilizations keep growing till they get stack with some scarcity of resources. In this way, Chinese civilization stopped and froze when the scarcity of charcoal, scarcity of firewood, made the production of more steel and iron a limiting factor. In the case of China, other factors had some influence like the existence of a powerful empire. A powerful empire is basically conservative and has very little interest in changing the social status quo. In fact the great empires tend to get stiff with a fundamentalist doctrine. Only an exterior power can change that. If Europe would have been under the grip of a powerful empire so many centuries as China, we would had not develop any capitalism at all, or had any industrial revolution. Then, Europe was divided among many warring nations. This tradition of making wars among them, made the kings look at the production of iron and steel with a favorable bias. Of course the aristocrats would like best to have a holistic doctrine that would guaranty their privileges. But in a world with so frequent wars, to develop the steel industry and others, would meant for the kings a sort of promise to win, or to prevail against the enemies.
That interpretation can explain while the superior cultures Southern European nations and Islamic countries got stunted, while the nations of Central Europe developed quite a lot. They have a lot more of woodlands than souther countries. Then, they had more capacity to produce charcoal, and then develop the steel industry.
There was a critical moment in England, when they realized the lack of firewood and had to start consuming coal. Then the industrial revolution was saved by existence of coal, that gave them the possibility of using coke to produce steel.
John Galaor
.
Possibly one of the reasons why Japan modernized before China was that it was feudalistic during a crucial period of foreign interaction and not centralized until later on. However, I don't believe that scarcity of resource played a big part as for instance firewood could be simply imported from abroad.
 
To import firewood look something banal to you. But it isn't specially before the existence of powerful machines. Even today, it is much easier to produce iron where you got coal, and then coke, than in places where there is not coke.

Then, the destiny of empires is to keep growing till the scarcity of fuels limits the growth both of population and and iron producition.
As for Japan, the prolonged feudal wars kept then a healthy nation for several centuries. Then, when the power was centralized it started the cultural sophistication and the deforestation. It was then when the Americans, Commodore Perry, imposed on Japan a freedom of trade. It is from this moment onward that Japanese leaders thought of the need of industrialization imitating the Western powers. An they succeeded thanks to a very disciplined population.
So, in this case, it was imitation the key to succeed in in developing an industrial nation. While the China of Mao and the Russians lagged behind because of the distortions caused by the socialist doctrine. Socialist doctrine looked more holistic than capitalist doctrine.
John Galaor
.
 
Answer to message #44
You said,
<<What do you need in order to produce a paper on condensed matter physic? A ton of researchers, highly sophisticated goods only produced by highly sophisticated manufacturing installations, a university, etc>>
Of course this accumulation of knowledge is not cheap. To achieve something like this you need a very cheap production of food, that is a lot of machines to cultivate, harvest and for transport. Without machines it as very expensive to carry cereals to near the cities where most of the industry was developing.
Then, the very nature of production done by hand, made almost impossible to develop a nation. Japan developed its industry thanks to massive imports of coal from abroad, for there were no coal in Japan. And very little iron minerals.
Then it was sort of miraculous that Japan developed so fast as an industrial nation. We have to study how they achieved to educate their children in obedience and hard-work.
John Galaor
.
 

Hurkyl

Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
Gold Member
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What do you need in order to produce a paper on condensed matter physic? A ton of researchers, highly sophisticated goods only produced by highly sophisticated manufacturing installations, a university, etc. A primitive economy mainly based on agriculture won't be able to raise enough capital for all of these, only an advanced capitalist economy can do so.
Aren't you conflating "industry" and "capitalism"?
 
If you do not know the technology, most of its products are magic. A medieval armor was magic to most people, and most of the metallurgic products, like bronze.

Then, for an iron smith to work was needed a lot of resources. Some people have to extract some metallic mineral, others should produce coal for the furnace and the forge. Then we said iron smith and think we know it all, but we have not any idea about the cost of running such a work shop. Then, sometimes, the coal had to be produced very far away from cities, in the places where still remained some woods
John Galaor
.
 

Kimchijjigae

Aren't you conflating "industry" and "capitalism"?
You can't become an advanced economy if you don't have capitalism.
 

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