Monday, 10 January 2011

Why The West Rules, For Now: a review

Pheewww, the first blog entry of 2011. This year, I'm gonna be 22. Hoop, hoop horrayhh :O. 10 days of hiatus, this is a record. hehehe

This brilliant book is written by Ian Morris, a professor of history at Stanford University. In it, he argued that geography rather than racial supremacy, religion, or lucks that somehow brought the world to what we have today, known for. From the start to finish, the author tried to suppress and summarize 15000 years of humanity development into a comprehensive analysis of bits and pieces of history, left by our ancestors.

Over the very long period of human existence, the old world was already shaped by its two geographically unique communities of the east and the west. Morris focused more on the biggest and most developed civilizations at different time instances, therefore some empires were not mentioned as frequently as the more prosperous ones. The main theme of the book was about the advantage of backwardness, explaining how a previously laggard, poorly governed area can evolve in a span of a few hundred years, overtaking the previous super-power.

Western centre of civilization had changed plenty of times, from the ashes of the Greek empire, more city-states sprawled and grown faster than ever. The Roman, Persian, ancient Egyptian were the stars of their time, each one of them occupying distinct prosperous period. Renaissance movement induced more development in northern Europe, Britain in particular. However, in 20th century Pax Britannica slowly faded away and from there, came the new super-power in the form of the Great United States of America.

A similar kind of development was unfolding in the east as well, largely in Chinese mainland. Throughout history, it was not always the west who hold the the winner cap. The east was far on top for a few hundred years before western Europe bounced back from its dark age. Again, applying the theory of advantages of backwardness, the hegemony of the world will always change, favouring those who successfully adapt themselves to the changes in humanity evolution faster and better than the rest, it is inevitable.

Perhaps, the next 100-200 years are going to be the next Pax Sinica? A world where China will replace USA as the single most powerful country on earth. Who knows?
"The farther backward you can look, the farther forward you are likely to see." ~ Churchill


  1. Pax Sinica eh. This issue were brought up since the 80 and 90s dah kan? There's even movies where it tried to describe the world in the future where people convere in a Chinese dialect. Chinese spoken dialect jadi lingua franca. Logically it's possible sebab China is a rising power.

    What about the Golden Age of Islam, ada disentuh dalam buku ni?

  2. Dia ada mention jugak macam mana Nabi Muhammad mengubah masyarakat Arab, di tengah padang pasir menjadi satu peradaban. Siap ada ayat quran apa semua.

    Golden age of Islam takde la mention sangat, ada sikit-sikit. Mostly because lack of space kot. Banyak perkara nak dicover.