Is the decline of the West inevitable?

Squarg

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The relative economic decline of the west is inevitable on an individual nation scale to that of China. What people are missing is that "The West" is not one nation like China is. If you compare The EU + US and their affiliate contries to china in 20 years it will still dwarf the chinese economy. That's not even factoring in the fact that many South American states are now becoming industrialized to the level of "western" and who knows who they will affiliate with in the coming decades (my bet is on the people with similar language/culture and geographic proximity). The only way that the west could possibly lose it's dominance in the coming century is a odd indo-sino-russian alliance that could dominate the pacific and possibly bring indonesia, korea and japan into it's sphere but still then if it becomes a hemispheric battle they have the numbers but we have the military technology head start.
 

Dachs

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@Dachs: You have just given away: Naval travel. Like that wasn't important.
It was certainly important. It was the reason the Europeans could be players anywhere in the world. The fact that they were frequently consigned to bit parts while over there means that their advantages in naval travel weren't all that dominant, decisive, or controlling.

It gratifies me to see that you're gradually reducing your argument from "superior in virtually every sphere of life" to "had slightly better technology in certain fields for a few centuries".
Kaiserguard said:
Honestly: Did the East had East-India trading companies? Large scale commercial enterprises? The ability to colonise the New World? Fractional reserve banking?
There's no need to develop force multipliers if your 'force' is already equivalent to more than the enemy can bring to bear. Saying that these things proved some kind of 'Western' superiority over 'the East' is like claiming that the Chinese bureaucracy made Chinese states clearly superior to 'the West' during the medieval period. It's stupid dick-waving without any actual basis in reality.
It's also good you noted Zheng He and the like. Ming China may have been able to colonise the New World, hadn't they neglected the navy after the Zheng He era, if I may name it that way.
That would be extremely unlikely.
 

civ_king

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GoodSamartian: Thx for the interesting info! I really appreciate that! :)

It's also good you noted Zheng He and the like. Ming China may have been able to colonise the New World, hadn't they neglected the navy after the Zheng He era, if I may name it that way.

civ_king: Well, the main problem in early modern Indian trading culture was the high incidence of nepotism. When making deals, businesspeople generally sought deals with family, even if other offers were much more profitable.

Would Zheng He have used colony ships or frickin' flying turtleships outfitted with frickin' lazers?
 

Tee Kay

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It's also good you noted Zheng He and the like. Ming China may have been able to colonise the New World, hadn't they neglected the navy after the Zheng He era, if I may name it that way.

Why would they even want to?
 

Masada

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GoodSarmatian said:
I didn't mean supremacy as an evaluation which culture is "better", I just meant the ability to dominate: to impose one's will upon others, either economically or militarily.

Ah, right. Your post was a little ambigious on that point. And I'm not sure I subscribe to that notion. For one thing, wars are not just a clash of systems. It wasn't the totality of Western Civilization riding on Britians back as she strode in to fight the Confucian Mindset or something: it was a historical episode with two players playing a game all their own. If more abstract factors like civilization intruded it was at best as background noise to far more immediate concerns.

GoodSarmatian said:
I don't really follow your train of thought here.

It's easy to understand, if you read your previous posts as some sort of endorsement of force as the supreme expression of culture/economics or war.

GoodSarmatian said:
Significant influence being the export of an ideology and the ability to compete and fight proxy wars with the other, more "western" superpower, not to speak of the technological advancements made by the soviet union which brought about the space race,

I think your overstating the influence of the Soviet Union in the third world.

taillesskangaru said:
Why would they even want to?

Because USA#1?

civ_king said:
Would Zheng He have used colony ships or frickin' flying turtleships outfitted with frickin' lazers?

It wasn't impossible. Just improbable. The Chinese were capable of building large sea-going vessels.
 

Tahuti

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There's no need to develop force multipliers if your 'force' is already equivalent to more than the enemy can bring to bear. Saying that these things proved some kind of 'Western' superiority over 'the East' is like claiming that the Chinese bureaucracy made Chinese states clearly superior to 'the West' during the medieval period.
The Chinese bureaucracy didn't led to anything except strengthen the authority of the Emperor. It didn't provided the Ming empire any leverage over foreign powers. It only provided more leverage of the Chinese authorities over the Chinese people. It was
nothing special really, so comparing to Western advances in the areas of commerce is just pitiful to say the least.

The commercial superiority of the West did provide the West with leverage over the Non-Western powers: More wealth and more advanced economies, which would help the development of theoretical breaktroughs and military capability.
 

Dachs

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The Chinese bureaucracy didn't led to anything except strengthen the authority of the Emperor. It didn't provided the Ming empire any leverage over foreign powers. It only provided more leverage of the Chinese authorities over the Chinese people. It was
nothing special really, so comparing to Western advances in the areas of commerce is just pitiful to say the least.

The commercial superiority of the West did provide the West with leverage over the Non-Western powers: More wealth and more advanced economies, which would help the development of theoretical breaktroughs and military capability.
Yeah, you apparently didn't get the memo about China outproducing most European countries in virtually all relevant economic metrics between about the Six Dynasties period and...say...the Industrial Revolution. (Funny how that Industrial Revolution thing keeps coming up.) There's a reason that the only thing that the Spanish seemed to be able to have in more abundance than the Chinese was silver, and that was because of Potosí; it's the same reason the British had to resort to opium trafficking in order to be able to trade with China at all. Hence my comment: why develop 'force multipliers' if you don't need them? Now, there's a very long, involved, and open scholarly discussion on why the Industrial Revolution didn't happen in China first, and frankly it wouldn't be that profitable to get into it here and now, especially considering the amount of trouble some people in this thread seem to be having with the notion that Europe wasn't King S**t of Everything since the medieval period, which is also why I've colossally dumbed down everything about why certain things worked one way in China and not in Europe.

On the subject of the bureaucracy, dismissing it as simply another method for the Oriental despots to soullessly crush their peasants into the dirt is of course ridiculous. But hey, since your comments about the "East" and the "West" are basically dick-waving with historical factoids (both true and false), it's hardly as though I can expect more. It's not as though that bureaucratic system provided one of the key foundational reasons as to why China kept being resurrected as a politically unified entity for a millennium and a half, right? :rolleyes:
 

Theige

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Obviously China was "outproducing" Europe in the basic commodities that we can measure, due to its larger population.

China currently outproduces the United States in a vast array of measurable economic categories, but that doesn't mean China is "more developed" or is showing "superiority" to the United States, currently.

Did many European nations not exhibit vastly superior output per capita than China by the end of the 17th century?
 
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