Non-Western Worldview

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Sanjay M
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Re: Non-Western Worldview

Postby Sanjay M » 09 Apr 2009 02:46

WSJ:


http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1239125 ... %3Darticle

By BRUCE GILLEY | From today's Wall Street Journal Asia.

Threats to the global liberal order are usually identified with illiberal states. That's why China, with its repressive domestic regime and its see-no-evil (unless related to the United States) foreign policy attracts so much attention these days.

But a more compelling challenge to the current world order may be emerging from an unlikely trio of countries that boast both impeccable democratic credentials and serious global throw weight. They are India, Brazil and South Africa and their little-noticed experiment in foreign policy coordination since 2003 to promote subtle but potentially far-reaching changes to the international system has the potential to leave fears of a rising China in the dustbin of history.

The quasi-alliance of these three powers has serious implications for the international system, and its major underwriter, the U.S., depending on how the challenge is handled. But an equally important, and quite unintended implication, is the sabotage of China's great power ambitions. By robbing China of its claims to represent developing countries, this new cooperative trio could sideline China from the major debates in international affairs. That may be good news for domestic reform in China, which has long been stunted by the country's great power ambitions.

The origins of the India-Brazil-South Africa Dialogue Forum (IBSA) lie in South Africa's quest for a new allies more consonant with its interests and ideas following the end of apartheid in 1994. The immediate impetus came from Brazilian president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, who floated a formal cooperation scheme in early 2003. In June of that year, the foreign ministers of the three countries inaugurated the group in Brasilia, calling for a strengthening of international institutions to address the concerns of developing countries in areas like poverty, the environment and technology. Since then, according to Sarah-Lea John de Sousa of Madrid's FRIDE think tank, the trio has been gaining support as "spokesmen for developing countries at the global level."

IBSA announced its presence by convincing a group of 21 developing countries to block agreement at the World Trade Organization's Cancún summit that year over the issue of rich country agricultural subsidies. It also successfully lobbied for changes to WTO rules covering the production of generic versions of AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis drugs. Yet it quickly moved beyond trade to take stands on issues of international security and institutional reforms. In addition to trade, energy and development projects, IBSA has staked out joint positions on everything from U.N. Security Council reform to the International Criminal Court's prosecution of Sudanese President Omar Hassan Al-Bashir. They have also papered over differences on humanitarian intervention, human rights and nuclear nonproliferation to speak with a common voice. "Though conceived as a dialogue forum, IBSA is rapidly moving into becoming a strategic partnership," wrote Arvind Gupta of India's Institute for Defense Studies and Analyses in a September 2008 report.

China reluctantly joined the Cancún coalition. But since then it has remained on the outside of IBSA, looking in. For three main reasons, it is likely to stay there.

First, China is a U.N. Security Council permanent member which sets it on a collision course with the IBSA aspirations to expand that body to reflect the views of the world's poor countries. Brazil and India are explicit in wanting permanent seats while South Africa, which is barred by its African Union obligations from seeking a permanent seat, nonetheless sought and won a nonpermanent seat for the first time in 2007. China, torn between its rhetoric calling for the democratization of international affairs and the reality that it would be a loser from this process, has decided to steer the self-interested course, to the detriment of its claims to represent the world's vast unwashed.

China is also on the wrong side of IBSA in terms of its views of globalization. The Brasilia Declaration warned that "large parts of the world have not benefited from globalization" and demanded changes to keep more economic and regulatory power in the hands of states. Yet Beijing's leaders see themselves as beneficiaries of globalization and are loathe to embrace left-wing tantrums against "neoliberalism." Critiques of the market are a touchy subject in China, where a neo-Maoist movement is using them to attack the ruling regime. Still, China could soften its views on U.N. Security Council reform and globalization in the interests of developing country solidarity (and its interests in leading that movement).

The third reason it stands outside IBSA is one that it cannot change: It is not a democracy. IBSA members note that they are "vibrant democracies" and Daniel Flemes of Hamburg-based German Institute for Global and Area Studies noted in a 2007 paper that "IBSA's common identity is based on values such as democracy, personal freedoms and human rights." Human rights, civil society, social empowerment and "gender mainstreaming" are central to their moral capital.

Indian newspapers have reported that Iran and Egypt expressed interest in joining the group but were rebuffed, possibly because IBSA leaders are aware how much their group's international legitimacy depends upon its democratic credentials. The most logical candidate for admission, if the group expands, is Indonesia, another poor, populous and democratic country. Coupled with a Japan that is renewing its role in international affairs, this would also rob China of claims to represent Asia.

Democracy is not just about IBSA's membership requirements; it bears on the very purposes of IBSA. IBSA is not a security alliance -- Brazil and South Africa, after all, are harsh critics of India's nuclear program. What it is, rather, is an alliance that seeks to use democratic ideals to effectively reshape the U.N. and other international institutions to serve poor countries better. In a strange way, IBSA is a community of democracies from hell -- a group of countries with impeccable democratic credentials who are using that common identity to challenge rather than advance U.S. interests. International relations scholars call this "soft balancing" because rather than confronting the U.S., they are simply trying to restrain and reorient it. The reason this may work is that, as democracies, these countries have the moral stature in the international system to achieve those goals. Indian and Brazilian diplomats in particular, already among the world's best, can advance the IBSA agenda because they share common ideals.

Where does that leave China? Probably wondering why yet another century mooted to be its century has passed it by. That may be good news for domestic reformers in China who can point to democracy as a precondition for international respectability. IBSA leaders are due to meet again in Brazil in October. Those tracking shifts in world affairs should cancel their trips to Beijing and make arrangements to be in Brazil.

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Re: Non-Western Worldview

Postby Sanjay M » 09 Apr 2009 03:13

My comments:

China has tremendous soft-power with its $$$. While the Chinese do keep generally aware of others' subtle moves at the UN, the Chinese don't have to get stuck resorting to much of this themselves, because they have UN Security Council Veto. China can therefore spend its 'soft' money on more useful things, like bidding for natural resources it uses to fuel its powerful economy.

India, Brazil and South Africa are stuck pussyfooting around using their 'soft power' because they have no hard power. They have no UNSC Veto, they have no strong power projection capability, and no major cash.

While India has recently been seen using gunboat diplomacy against pirates nearby in the Arabian Sea and Gulf of Aden, etc, it doesn't have a true blue-water navy like China. India has tried to bid competitively against China for various petroleum and resource projects, but it's pretty much lost every time.

India has been campaigning very loudly for a permanent seat at the UN Security Council, but while everybody strings it along with promises, nothing's really happened on that front.
Western powers once offered India a seat at the Council back in the 1950s, when Taiwan was vacating its seat at the UN to make way for China's entry.
The idea was to prevent China from staking a claim to a place on the Security Council, by filling it with another Asian power.
India turned down the offer, thinking that it would score big points with China by being chivalrous. (What a bunch of suckers!)

India instead invested its 'soft power' in establishing the Non-Aligned Movement, which consisted of fellow 3rd world countries.
That India works through IBSA and other informal alliances today shows the ultimate inutility of the NAM beyond a certain point. Today, such a large group is too unwieldy and divergent in interests to be anything more than just a talk shop.
Indeed, the rise of informal groups IBSA are a testament to the decline and virtual disappearance of NAM (the "South Bloc")

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Re: Non-Western Worldview

Postby Hitesh » 09 Apr 2009 09:20

Johann,

the problem with Primogeniture is that it doesn't always ensure that a competent person would be inheriting the throne and rule.

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Re: Non-Western Worldview

Postby ramana » 09 Apr 2009 21:24

X-posted from the Tech & Econ forum thread on Global Prespectives:

Ashutosh Malik wrote:Exporting weapons to Vietnam makes a lot of sense.

Based on publicly available information one gets a sense that India has not really explored the possibility of using Vietnam as a leverage against China. They are sitting under the Chinese belly and have whipped their ass earlier and hardly have any love lost for the Chinese. Bharat Karnad has also averred to this earlier in his writings.

As for Mr. Brando's thoughts - well I would recommend that all of us read the book "The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers" by Paul Kennedy. ISBN-10: 0679720197, ISBN-13: 978-0679720195. Will give a sobering thought to anyone who thinks that any particularly country or empire will retain the edge for all times to come. 20-30 years are hardly anything in the march of nations. What will be interesting is what happens 100 years from now. One history book that I read by a Chinese author residing in US, seemed to suggest that Chinese time frame is to look at where they will stand post 100 years or 200 years. They are keen to teach the western world a lesson for the injustice done to them in the 19th century. Although in India we dont seem to communicate the same resolve, the march of the times will make things clear to our cousins from the western civilisation.

Without belittling the achievements of western civilisation - after all we are also learning from them - I think the issue with a substantial number of people in the West is that they think that time started when their civilisation started to rule the waves post around end of 17th/ beginning of 18th century. One can hardly fault the majority among them to think that way - they have just seen their primacy over other civilisations. Interestingly from the economic point of view, even till early 19th century China and India accounted the most substantial portion of the world GDP. Without denying the achievement of the Western world over the last 400 odd years, I think one needs to help them appreciate that time didnt start 400 years ago! And nor will things stop changing!

Cheers

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Re: Non-Western Worldview

Postby Rahul M » 09 Apr 2009 21:44

in the annals of history, USA might go down as one of the shortest-lived superpowers.

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Re: Non-Western Worldview

Postby harbans » 09 Apr 2009 22:01

in the annals of history, USA might go down as one of the shortest-lived superpowers

That would happen possibly. Now with the US economy shrinking, the Japanese is doing so 10% or so this year..i think there are changes that no expert can foresee. All the world problems have stemmed from India neti style all these years. Clamp down on India, you cannot win WW2. Support Pak and you're asking for terror across the oceans on your doorstep. Suck up to china and the first thing they do is box and circle India. Despite it's cut up size and SDRE look, India manages to emerge from the chains the adharmic world tries to strangle it in. Just think if any other country apart from little Israel, thats in a neighbourhood as tough as ours? None. Thats why India is facing a dilemna. One that Arjuna faced exactly literally to the core. Thats India's internal battle. Why not be decent and civilized to the Kauravas. Why not give them Kashmior? Why not give Arunachal? Hassle is..what appetite are you feeding? Where will it end? Thats why i doubt the US is a power that can solve the worlds problems. Ultimately it has to be India alone. And it will, the argumentative Indian will ultimately settle down..just like Arjuna did. JMT/-

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Re: Non-Western Worldview

Postby vadivelu » 09 Apr 2009 22:04

Rahul M wrote:in the annals of history, USA might go down as one of the shortest-lived superpowers.


The normal slovenly and tired US phobia and Paki-like posturing I have come to expect from BRFites ( as opposed to us plebian trainees).

Perhaps shortest lived - only history can render such a verdict.

But the impact of the US - from the nuclear era, to technology in myriad fields to the Internet that makes inane frothing at the mouth possible the US has been the superpower that has impacted human history the most.

And pray tell - what has the non-western worldview ever achieved?

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Re: Non-Western Worldview

Postby Rahul M » 09 Apr 2009 22:13

I have no intention in entering a ******* contest with you nor am I nursing any phobia.

may be the NW WV has contributed nothing, I for one would certainly not waste time trying to answer that question to one who has already made up his/her mind.


BUT, that does not mean irrelevant off-topic posts will be tolerated here.
if you have nothing to add, stay away.

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Re: Non-Western Worldview

Postby JwalaMukhi » 09 Apr 2009 22:15

Bait let off the hook. Thanks Rahul M.
Last edited by JwalaMukhi on 09 Apr 2009 22:21, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Non-Western Worldview

Postby Johann » 09 Apr 2009 22:19

Sanjay M wrote:India, Brazil and South Africa are stuck pussyfooting around using their 'soft power' because they have no hard power. They have no UNSC Veto, they have no strong power projection capability, and no major cash.

...India instead invested its 'soft power' in establishing the Non-Aligned Movement, which consisted of fellow 3rd world countries.
That India works through IBSA and other informal alliances today shows the ultimate inutility of the NAM beyond a certain point. Today, such a large group is too unwieldy and divergent in interests to be anything more than just a talk shop.
Indeed, the rise of informal groups IBSA are a testament to the decline and virtual disappearance of NAM (the "South Bloc")


IBSA is the developing world's equivalent of the G7 - globally competitive economies that are also democracies which are struggling to lift large sections of the populations out of poverty.

As such they have a commonality of interests in the global order that other NAM members lack, either because of the nature of their economies, or political systems, or both.

Its a combination whose goals arent really geopolitical, but rather about global governance and the global political economy. While their POV will be different from the G7 who have very different internal socioeconomic challenges, their commitment to globalisation means it isnt a zero sum game.

IBSA's biggest weakness in pursuing those goals is that it is conflicted by its founding members desire to maintain regional position, and hence the reluctance to admit members that also fit the bill like Mexico and Indonesia.

While India has recently been seen using gunboat diplomacy against pirates nearby in the Arabian Sea and Gulf of Aden, etc, it doesn't have a true blue-water navy like China. India has tried to bid competitively against China for various petroleum and resource projects, but it's pretty much lost every time.


Sanjay - China has "a true blue-water navy"??!! This would be welcome news to the PLAN. The South China Sea is the only place in the world it can achieve decisive results, and that is so long as local powers fail to co-operate or obtain outside help.

China has projected influence in to the Indian Ocean through economic(trade and aid) and industrial (including subsidised arms sales) means. Their force projection capacity has a long way to go to catch up with their ability to find footholds. In fact the String of Pearls strategy has been pursued precisely *because* the PLAN can not guarantee that energy flows in to China, and trade flows out of it wont be interdicted.

Hitesh wrote:the problem with Primogeniture is that it doesn't always ensure that a competent person would be inheriting the throne and rule.


Absolutely true - however the damage from incompetants turned out to be less serious than the damage from chronic and ruinous wars of succession, and endless military coups.

Incompetants usually ended up removed by their courts without widespread disruption to society - but once again primogeniture reduced the degree of competition and violence over who succeeded said incompetant.

Of course the actual management of state affairs eventually devolved to professionals - ministers, and then elected ministers. Those that failed to make that transition saw revolution.

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Re: Non-Western Worldview

Postby Rahul M » 09 Apr 2009 22:20

please don't respond to obvious attempts at flaming.
you guys should know better by now.

BOTH the instigator and the responder will receive a warning if this continues.
Rahul.

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Re: Non-Western Worldview

Postby vadivelu » 09 Apr 2009 22:36

Rahul M wrote:I have no intention in entering a ******* contest with you nor am I nursing any phobia.

may be the NW WV has contributed nothing, I for one would certainly not waste time trying to answer that question to one who has already made up his/her mind.


BUT, that does not mean irrelevant off-topic posts will be tolerated here.
if you have nothing to add, stay away.



This being a military forum sure you can pull rank on me.

I challenge you to debate my assertion that non-western civilization has had very little relevance on the world of today.

The Western worldview is what will propel today and the future.

The printing press, industrial revolution and Internet altered mankind. All were the result of a Western worldview.

The mystical East catered to intellectual stimulation. No practical benefit to humankind.

Take the ascendency of India today - and I do claim it is on an upward spiral.

Would not have been possible without India's adherence to a western worldview and abandoning its Vedic past.

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Re: Non-Western Worldview

Postby Rahul M » 09 Apr 2009 22:46

This being a military forum sure you can pull rank on me.

moderators can pull rank(whatever that means) on any forum, it's got nothing to do with military per se.

I challenge you to debate my assertion that non-western civilization has had very little relevance on the world of today.

well, I don't agree but I really don't have the time to debate this at the moment. sorry about that.

but I'm sure others will be more than willing to do the honours.
just a reminder and advice (both to you and others), be civil and don't flame.

I would like to end with a little thought, it doesn't matter if you don't reply, I won't find the time to respond in all probability anyway.

could it be that you watched just 5 minutes of a never ending race and are forming your opinion on that only ?

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Re: Non-Western Worldview

Postby Johann » 09 Apr 2009 22:51

Rahul M wrote:in the annals of history, USA might go down as one of the shortest-lived superpowers.


What is a superpower?

The Roman Empire suffered from a self-destructive political system and excessively limited social contract, while European colonial empires depended on external populations and resources.

The basis of American power remains its population, its natural resources, its political system, *and* the durability of the social contract that binds the population and state together (the real basis of social solidarity, patriotism, etc).

While America may not be able to afford to continue to maintain the exceptionally dominant role it took on during WWII, the balance of factors in America's favour remain extremely favourable, more favourable on the whole than any of the other great powers - long term political stability, per capita food production, per capita energy resources, commitment to innovation, etc.

Looking back to a past that preceded the birth and industrialisation of the United States is not a reliable or realistic way to read the future. Instead it may be easier to understand if we look at the pre-WWI or interwar period where it was in reality the world's leading great power, but not a 'superpower'.

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Re: Non-Western Worldview

Postby Gerard » 09 Apr 2009 22:55

I challenge you to debate my assertion that non-western civilization has had very little relevance on the world of today.


I doubt anyone is really interested in 'debating' you (put off by the scent of 'troll') but the BBC is running a documentary called "The Story of Maths". Maybe you should get the DVD. It might open your mind.

The second programme took us to the East and an exploration of Chinese and Indian mathematics. One of the highlights for me was the pilgrimage to Gwalior to see a tiny little temple hanging off the side of a mountain fort. Big enough to fit the presenter and a cameraman inside, we scoured the inscriptions on the walls for the earliest known example of the number zero, one of the greatest and revolutionary inventions made in India.

The mathematics of India found its way to Europe, via the spice routes through central Asia. Again health and safety denied us a trip to Iran to recreate the adventures of Omar Khayyam (the British sailors had not long before been released from captivity). So Morocco became our central Asian backdrop where we found some fantastic horses to ride across the Atlas mountains in my reincarnation of the great Persian poet and mathematician.

http://www.open2.net/storyofmaths/presenterstory.html

http://www.open2.net/storyofmaths/geniusofeast.html
Marcus also learns how mathematics played a role in managing how the Emperor slept his way through the imperial harem to ensure the most favourable succession - and how internet cryptography encodes numbers using a branch of mathematics that has its origins in ancient Chinese work on equations. In India he discovers how the symbol for the number zero was invented - one of the great landmarks in the development of mathematics. He also examines Indian mathematicians’ understanding of the new concepts of infinity and negative numbers, and their invention of trigonometry. Next, he examines mathematical developments in the Middle East, looking at the invention of the new language of algebra, and the evolution of a solution to cubic equations. This leg of his journey ends in Italy, where he examines the spread of Eastern knowledge to the West through mathematicians such as Leonardo Fibonacci, creator of the Fibonacci Sequence.

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Re: Non-Western Worldview

Postby Rahul M » 09 Apr 2009 23:04

While America may not be able to afford to continue to maintain the exceptionally dominant role it took on during WWII, the balance of factors in America's favour remain extremely favourable, more favourable on the whole than any of the other great powers - long term political stability, per capita food production, per capita energy resources, commitment to innovation, etc.


agreed. my definition of superpower would be the ability to influence events affecting itself, wherever they may be. in that case a nation without much contact outside its neighbourhood could well be a superpower in that region.

most big powers of the ancient world would fall in that bracket.

but in the modern world such geographic isolation is nearly impossible, meaning superpowerdom will necessarily mean ability to influence events all over the world.

The US will still be the foremost power in the foreseeable future but the difference in power to influence world events with the next tier of countries will lessen to an extent to remove the tag 'super'. IOW, US will still be the big dog in a pack of dogs, but no longer a tiger among a pack of dogs.

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Re: Non-Western Worldview

Postby Johann » 09 Apr 2009 23:15

Rahul,

Again, the pre and post war periods are instructive

Part of the meteoric American rise after 1940 is its abillity as *both* as a state and a nation to weather the impact of storms that wreck others and turn the situation to American benefit.

Its advantages give it the ability to protect and enhance its already advantageous fundamentals in bad times.

There are many storms coming, which is why I dont discount the periodic rise and relative decline of American 'superpowerdom' in the medium and long term.

Others - whether Europe, India or China will usually rebuild and recover, and then its the same thing all over again. It's not fair, but that's life.

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Re: Non-Western Worldview

Postby Hitesh » 09 Apr 2009 23:29

How long can the political stability in US last? What factors would it take to degrade the political stability? I suggest looking at the US Civil War and events that precluded it. It would be a good barometer of gauging what factors would be useful to look at to see the long term trends of the political stability in US.

The Civil War was the last great event that had the potential to destroy US as a great power. I suggest going back to that era.

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Re: Non-Western Worldview

Postby vadivelu » 09 Apr 2009 23:40

Theoretical leaps in fundamental science will always happen.

If The Hindus had not come up with the concept of zero, the Chinese would have.

There will always be Einsteins and Chandrasekhars.

It is however technology that impacts humankind. Makes human life more livable.

And such earth shattering technology has come only from the West.

In the 20th century ( and on) the US has dominated. I see no signs of innovation lapsing in the US of A.

Where do you folks google, twitter or get introduced to statins?

All three drastically altered my life. And the statins - the Japanese inventor Endo was working in New York and his Japanese company sold the discovery to Merck which realized the potential.

Where does this desi arrogance to perennially denigrate the West stem from?

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Re: Non-Western Worldview

Postby Abhi_G » 10 Apr 2009 00:07

vadivelu wrote:Theoretical leaps in fundamental science will always happen.

If The Hindus had not come up with the concept of zero, the Chinese would have.

There will always be Einsteins and Chandrasekhars.



By the same logic, if colonization of India and (for that matter a greater part of the world) did not happen then there was a high possibility of *modern* technological developments in India.

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Re: Non-Western Worldview

Postby Rahul M » 10 Apr 2009 00:10

Theoretical leaps in fundamental science will always happen.
.....

:shock: wow ! some may think that a steam engine would be more assured of development in the normal course of things than an esoteric idea like zero or GR.

but you know that assertion is a belief, something of the same level as "god exists", "aliens visit me" etc. it's not open to appeals of logic or reason.
there can be no constructive discussion with a person who has left the realm of logic, at least for me, it's bound to be pointless IMO.

Where does this desi arrogance to perennially denigrate the West stem from?

may be the same source that brings about eulogies for the west in every deserved and undeserved cause ?! :wink:
.......................

Johann, you raise pertinent points and I agree that US was uniquely positioned to reap the benefits of the post WW world(both the first and the second one). although WW-I saw the economic depression in its aftermath, influence wise it was an watershed event for the US.
but are you sure the same reasoning still applies ?
is the US of 1919 or 1945 the same as that of today vis-a-vis the outside world ?
much or all of the subsequent benefits originate from the economic ones but isn't it the case that the US is almost saturated in how much more it can do. isn't it operating near the peak of its potential beyond which the returns will no longer be favourable ?
But then I'm not an economics guy ! :)

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Re: Non-Western Worldview

Postby vadivelu » 10 Apr 2009 00:27

Abhi_G wrote:
By the same logic, if colonization of India and (for that matter a greater part of the world) did not happen then there was a high possibility of *modern* technological developments in India.



Substantiate your viewpoints with facts will you.

Pre-Colonial Bharat was raped, pillaged, plundered by invading hordes that altered the ethos of a once Hindu India.

India’s basic culture was altered – everything from cuisine to literature to architecture. All pre-colonial.

Do not obfuscate colonial imperialism with the Western worldview – it is the western worldview that has given relevance to India again.

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Re: Non-Western Worldview

Postby Sanku » 10 Apr 2009 00:38

Troll alert -- do not feed the troll!! This thread will go downhill.

If there is nothing great about non western worldview -- so be it, leave us koop manduks alone and use either the whine thread or the indian psyche thread.

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Re: Non-Western Worldview

Postby Johann » 10 Apr 2009 00:43

How long can the political stability in US last? What factors would it take to degrade the political stability? I suggest looking at the US Civil War and events that precluded it. It would be a good barometer of gauging what factors would be useful to look at to see the long term trends of the political stability in US.

The Civil War was the last great event that had the potential to destroy US as a great power. I suggest going back to that era.


Hi Hitesh,

Good question. In the context of the Civil War, the on and off violent industrial labour conflicts from the 1870s to 1930, and the radicalism of the 1960s-70s I would say the greatest threats to political stability came from

- deadlock on fundamental issues regarding or relating to the American social contract due to ideological and social polarisation, particularly during periods of economic difficulty.

- unresolved constitutional tensions

Any political system becomes unstable when
a) sections of the *ruling classes* are use coercive measures such as violence against other sections of the ruling classes because they couldnt get their way - whether its a matter of principle, or simple personal advancement.

b) oversee a deterioration in economic and security conditions without taking timely corrective action, i.e. prolonged suffering, and an irresponsible response.

c)those running the show dont allow less powerful, but numerically significant stakeholders to participate in the political process.

The US civil war had more to do with a & c - this was a time when regional identities were at least as strong as American national identity - when that was combined with fundamental constitutional questions class solidarity was unable to cope. The famous example was the choice that fell upon US Army officers - Robert Lee painfully decided he was a Virginian first, and an American second.

While it is possible that some very fundamental social, political and economic questions may be opened up by technological advances in the life sciences and IT in coming decades, I havent seen divisions strong enough among core elements of the system that would make them willing to go to war with the system. Intelligently and aggressively playing by the rules is still the way to get ahead.
Last edited by Johann on 10 Apr 2009 00:44, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Non-Western Worldview

Postby ramana » 10 Apr 2009 00:43

VV its with great difficulty I have managed to keep this thread alive over the years. Please do not derail it. You have your POV and others have too. I request you not to derail it by enforinc it on others. There are other threads for doing so.

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Re: Non-Western Worldview

Postby vadivelu » 10 Apr 2009 00:57

pardon me for advocating a contrarian viewpoint.

I have no intention of trolling or flame baiting.

If one advocates and solicits a non-western worldview one should have the intellectual temerity, the mental testosterone to argue a case for the western worldview.

I will cease from posting here - continue with your incestuous mindset.

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Re: Non-Western Worldview

Postby Sanku » 10 Apr 2009 00:58

I think the break down of the US hegemony will essentially be a unroll/rewind of the way that has grown it forward.

The following factors will play a major role
1) Massive decline of WASP and Nordic populations in US and Europe
2) Severe population pressure from Mexico.
3) Severe economic pressure from China (imbalanced trade)

The above two will trigger a back to insularity formula to preserve the original culture.

This will create an US rapidly losing the tech/innovation edge, since its edge was rarely homegrown but mostly imported transplanted and nourished with the great resources that US provided.

The resources of US will be hoarded for the already existing elites -- it will use Mexican and Chinese as coolies (not that it does not do so now, but in increasing manner)

This time due to globalization, the factors which Johann outlined of unresolved parity and unresolved laws will actually play a role in a global sense and not local one.

Sooner or later we will see low end home based conflicts in US territories and high end conflicts on larger geographical scale.

Roman empire all over again at a WWW level.

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Re: Non-Western Worldview

Postby Johann » 10 Apr 2009 01:04

Rahul M wrote:Johann, you raise pertinent points and I agree that US was uniquely positioned to reap the benefits of the post WW world(both the first and the second one). although WW-I saw the economic depression in its aftermath, influence wise it was an watershed event for the US.
but are you sure the same reasoning still applies ?
is the US of 1919 or 1945 the same as that of today vis-a-vis the outside world ?
much or all of the subsequent benefits originate from the economic ones but isn't it the case that the US is almost saturated in how much more it can do. isn't it operating near the peak of its potential beyond which the returns will no longer be favourable ?
But then I'm not an economics guy ! :)


Hi Rahul,

I cant claim to be an economist either, but there are two basic sources of economic growth

- growth in the amount of area exploited for cultivation/mining/habitation, etc. This is limited by the supply of labour, and usually followed by attendant population growth.

- increases in productivity which increase the size of surpluses.

America's population continues to grow, but importantly it continues to lead in innovation - technological, managerial, social and political, the keys to productivity growth.

Innovation isnt just dreaming up an idea - it requires the freedom and the financial capital to be an early, deep and wide adopter over and over and over again.

In addition despite population growth the burdens of food security, energy security, political pressures over social mobility and change etc are nowhere as acute and limiting as they are elsewhere - that frees up financial and political capital to innovate and adopt early.

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Re: Non-Western Worldview

Postby ramana » 10 Apr 2009 01:18

vadivelu wrote:pardon me for advocating a contrarian viewpoint.

I have no intention of trolling or flame baiting.

If one advocates and solicits a non-western worldview one should have the intellectual temerity, the mental testosterone to argue a case for the western worldview.

I will cease from posting here - continue with your incestuous mindset.



Arent these contradictory and self evident to your intentions?

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Re: Non-Western Worldview

Postby svinayak » 10 Apr 2009 01:25

Why cant we have a seperate thread for comparision and other issues.
This thread should be only Non Western view which took a long time to take off.

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Re: Non-Western Worldview

Postby ramana » 10 Apr 2009 01:27

We have enough threads to host all views from whines - serious. No need for any new threads.

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Re: Non-Western Worldview

Postby Johann » 10 Apr 2009 01:30

Sanku wrote:I think the break down of the US hegemony will essentially be a unroll/rewind of the way that has grown it forward.

The following factors will play a major role
1) Massive decline of WASP and Nordic populations in US and Europe
2) Severe population pressure from Mexico.
3) Severe economic pressure from China (imbalanced trade)

The above two will trigger a back to insularity formula to preserve the original culture.

This will create an US rapidly losing the tech/innovation edge, since its edge was rarely homegrown but mostly imported transplanted and nourished with the great resources that US provided.

The resources of US will be hoarded for the already existing elites -- it will use Mexican and Chinese as coolies (not that it does not do so now, but in increasing manner)

This time due to globalization, the factors which Johann outlined of unresolved parity and unresolved laws will actually play a role in a global sense and not local one.

Sooner or later we will see low end home based conflicts in US territories and high end conflicts on larger geographical scale.

Roman empire all over again at a WWW level.


With respect Sanku,

What original culture? America stopped being majority Anglo-Saxon and Protestant a long time ago. It hasnt changed the American recipe for material success. People like what works, regardless of caste or creed.

Culture and ethnicity/race cant be tied that closely in America thanks to assimilative pressures. I was startled once when visiting UCSD to have someone there describe it as 'too white' - when its overwhelmingly East Asian and Hispanic in background. What they meant was worldview, not skin colour or ethnicity.

The greatest failures of the Roman Empire was its failure to find a common thread to bind its diverse peoples without coercively imposing religion and financial obligations from the centre.

The populations of Egypt and Syria for example were *willing* to surrender to the Arabs because the Arabs taxed them less than Constantinople did, and didnt tell them what sort of Christians they had to be on pain of death.

Rome had no equivalent of the American political system and social contract, which has mechanisms for any group to achieve full participation even if it is shut out. Once you have a stake in the system things change.

A Mexican-American or Chinese-American is Mexican or Chinese only in the sense of family heritage. He has banked his future and that of his family on the success of the American enterprise. Marriage, personal faith, national service - in none of these areas is he particularly distinct from the people he works with. There's too much fluidity across lines to think in terms of 'jathi'.

I'd say look at people like Jeb Bush (fluent in Spanish, and a Catholic convert thanks to marriage), or Bill Richardson, who is not a 'WASP' but Hispanic. America has always been a land of hybridisation - that has been a source of strength rather than weakness. Rock and roll wouldnt have been as dynamic as it was if it wasnt for the fusion of Scottish/Irish, African, Jewish and the Italian influences.
Last edited by Johann on 10 Apr 2009 01:31, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Non-Western Worldview

Postby svinayak » 10 Apr 2009 01:31

ramana wrote:We have enough threads to host all views from whines - serious. No need for any new threads.

We need a comparison and it is very important. Maybe later when the discussion are more mature and factual. And also when the posters are calmer

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Re: Non-Western Worldview

Postby Hitesh » 10 Apr 2009 02:41

Johann wrote: I cant claim to be an economist either, but there are two basic sources of economic growth

- growth in the amount of area exploited for cultivation/mining/habitation, etc. This is limited by the supply of labour, and usually followed by attendant population growth.

- increases in productivity which increase the size of surpluses.

America's population continues to grow, but importantly it continues to lead in innovation - technological, managerial, social and political, the keys to productivity growth.

Innovation isnt just dreaming up an idea - it requires the freedom and the financial capital to be an early, deep and wide adopter over and over and over again.

In addition despite population growth the burdens of food security, energy security, political pressures over social mobility and change etc are nowhere as acute and limiting as they are elsewhere - that frees up financial and political capital to innovate and adopt early.


No need to be an economist when you can see the general trends. Although the Great Depression was a very severe event, it did not threaten the political stability although there were grassroot support for communism, although not widespread but significant among the displaced Midwesterners who lost their homes due to failing crops and loans. I wonder how the political stability held under severe economic depression. Was it due to the New Deal programs in which FDR foresaw the need to pre-empt any mass wide support for communism in order to preserve the essence of capitalism or was it that the people had enough faith in their political system that their leaders will get them out of the mess?

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Re: Non-Western Worldview

Postby Sanku » 10 Apr 2009 12:46

Johann wrote:What original culture? America stopped being majority Anglo-Saxon and Protestant a long time ago. It hasnt changed the American recipe for material success. People like what works, regardless of caste or creed.


I humbly disagree. The elites of US at least to me appear to have not fundamentally changed. If I look at the standard spectrum of political corporate elites, all said and done they are WASPs.

I don't know if ethnically WASPs are in minority either. Do you have any references of this (not doubting you just wondering)

What they meant was worldview, not skin colour or ethnicity.


That is what I also what I mean -- the elities from other ethnicity have to turn white also and have.

The greatest failures of the Roman Empire was its failure to find a common thread to bind its diverse peoples without coercively imposing religion and financial obligations from the centre.


With reference to your statement above I think it is true for US too a large degree. Its the scale which is different and the scale makes up for apparently relative flexibility vis a vis the Roman empire.

Rome had no equivalent of the American political system and social contract, which has mechanisms for any group to achieve full participation even if it is shut out. Once you have a stake in the system things change.


I disagree, for its time, Rome did co-opt all manners of barbarians and Romanized them, much like US today. Of course in its day and time the intensity was different.

Rock and roll wouldnt have been as dynamic as it was if it wasnt for the fusion of Scottish/Irish, African, Jewish and the Italian influences.


The melting pot internally is not something I challenge -- but my point is some what different
1) Internally the pol power structure is WASP -- other ethnicity have to turn WASP to succeed (rock and roll is frankly a sideshow)
2) The extent reach and scale of US is way larger than previous empires. So it will fail on the same scales.

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Re: Non-Western Worldview

Postby Sanku » 10 Apr 2009 12:48

Hitesh wrote: Was it due to the New Deal programs in which FDR foresaw the need to pre-empt any mass wide support for communism in order to preserve the essence of capitalism or was it that the people had enough faith in their political system that their leaders will get them out of the mess?


Both; and to take the analogy further -- the US must offer the WORLD a new deal -- or it will end. There is still a way, but I think US is towing the usual WASPs rock behavior, esp w.r.t. Obama (funny aint it)

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Re: Non-Western Worldview

Postby ramana » 17 Apr 2009 22:52

The English Civil wars: 1640-1660 By Blair Worden, Weidenfeld & Nicolson, Rs 695


NOT A WAR WITHOUT MEANING


The English Civil wars: 1640-1660 By Blair Worden, Weidenfeld & Nicolson, Rs 695

The history that was made in England between 1640 and 1660 remains epochal because it was the first time that a monarch was beheaded as an expression of popular will and protest; it was also the first experiment with republican government. Regicide and republicanism made many historians see the events of those 20 years as a revolution. Other historians have seen the events as the expression of a country at war with itself. Hence the term, ‘the English Civil War’. Blair Worden, in this delightful little book, introduces the term, ‘Civil Wars’. He explains his use of the plural noun thus: “The civil war will mean the war fought between king and parliament in 1642-6. The civil wars will mean the range of conflicts, military and political, of the 1640s and 1650s.”

The book is divided into five short chapters: ‘Origins’, ‘War’, ‘Regicide’, ‘Republic’ and ‘Restoration’. The emphasis is heavily on political history at which Worden excels. But one looks in vain, say in the chapter, ‘Origins’, to learn something about the economic conditions (some would say, crisis) prevailing in the 1620s and 1630s. Similarly, while Worden analyses the political positions adopted by the various groups upholding the cause of parliament, there is scarcely a word about their economic ideology. This is one major lacuna of the book. It is political history at its best, but a kind of political history that believes that the subject can be understood without its interactions with the economy.

The author is also very good at separating the strands of religious doctrine and debate that excited contemporaries in the middle of the 17th century. The term, ‘Puritan Revolution’, since the time it was first used in the 19th century, has tended to act as a kind of holdall. Worden separates the various strands and where they stood against episcopacy. He does this without going into the nitty-gritty of theological doctrines. This is one of the real strengths of the book, and it serves to underscore how strong religious sentiments were in the wars that divided England in the middle of the 17th century.

Worden writes with a hint of disapproval about what happened in England in the 17th century. He comes close to upholding the king’s cause without quite saying it. He closes the book with the words of a poem written by John Dryden in 1700. Dryden walked with John Milton and Andrew Marvell in Oliver Cromwell’s funeral procession, but in 1700, looking back, he had written, “Thy wars brought nothing about.” Worden approves of this assessment.

This raises a few questions. Did the Royalists actually regain the throne that Charles “needlessly lost”? Worden seems to think so. But surely the throne to which Charles II ascended was not the same one from which his father had ruled. The terms of power had been radically altered. The significance of this change was demonstrated in the Settlement of 1688, which Worden seems to think was unconnected with the events that engulfed England between 1640 and 1660.

Historians may have overstated their case by calling the events a revolution. It would be a similar kind of exaggeration to conclude on the other side that the events signified nothing. There is meaning in failure. History, as a great historian of the 17th century, for whom Worden has much time, said, is tragedy, although not a meaningless one.

RUDRANGSHU MUKHERJEE

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Re: Non-Western Worldview

Postby SwamyG » 25 Apr 2009 03:26

A neglected Precursor to Classical Economics

It is about how classical economics thoughts of Kautilya were for long neglected.

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Re: Non-Western Worldview

Postby SwamyG » 25 Apr 2009 03:29

Management fundamentals in Kautilya's Arthashastra
Seven set of articles on the management principles found in Arthasastra.

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Re: Non-Western Worldview

Postby svinayak » 29 Apr 2009 08:49

X post
viv wrote: It appears to me that there is an assumption that there is no 'science' in Ayurveda. That the scientific method was not followed or is not followed. Is it correct to use the term 'western science' and not the term 'modern science'; as science is equally (or largely?) built upon , and actively continues to be contributed to by folks non-western.

The mathematics, or science or medicine or metallurgy of earlier India is explained through observations, hypothesis derived from it and proofs developed from it - is it not? In the last few hundred years contribution from Europe were prominent in extending science - but why should those weigh more than others and we suddenly consider only that contribution as 'real' or 'normal' science and term the scientific method 'western'?


The real problem is the level of dependence on logic as opposed to repeatable experiments.

Science in the West took the route of disbelieving anything that could not be proven by repeatable experimentation. (Almost) Nothing was "fact" until that occurred, and until that occurred everything was "theory" and "hypothesis", yet to be proven.

Science in India did not take that route. Both were science, but only one was "Western science". Both achieved results but only some were on common territory. Both types of science reached places that the other did not reach.

(I posted before but somehow my post seems to have vanished.)
The scientific method was refined in Europe, sometime post-Renaissance between the 16-18th centuries, to have an increased emphasis on repeatable experimentation. It certainly avoids taking Aristotle's statements on face value - 32 teeth for men but 28 for women etc.

But why does this 'process' warrant the science itself to be called 'western'? Why so much weightage to the process that entire modern scientific base is termed 'western'? Then should we call mathematics Indian? - after-all the decimal system, trigonometry, algebra etc. are from India or, call it all 'western math' since the recent advances have been Europe based.

It appears to me that post renaissance jump in various disciplines of science and scientific method has allowed 'west' to appropriate science for itself; and leave any of the thought process until then as the 'oriental' science. Unfair!! for the Renaissance leapt off the shoulders of Indian (and other) science and mathematics.

Ayurveda that was mentioned earlier certainly followed the scientific method - observation, hypothesis, treatment/verification, and the refinement based on the result. It would have been followed to get the right method for making steel, or other technical processes. I came across Vaiseshika philosophy (800 BC) as described in a book called 'Hinduism' by Klostermaier, and almost thought I was reading an extract from a physics text.


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