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Why Nations Fail (Read 25838 times)
sherri
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Re: Why Nations Fail
Reply #30 - Mar 16th, 2014 at 6:49am
 
The_Barnacle wrote on Mar 15th, 2014 at 12:06pm:
Postmodern Trendoid III wrote on Mar 15th, 2014 at 11:36am:
But I suppose it comes down to definitions of 'fail'. What is a failed society?


Here is a definition of a "failed State" by a US think tank which pretty much sums it up

Quote:
A failed state has several attributes. Common indicators include a state whose central government is so weak or ineffective that it has little practical control over much of its territory; non-provision of public services; widespread corruption and criminality; refugees and involuntary movement of populations; sharp economic decline.


Enormous variations in wealth is the process which causes a nation to fail rather than a symptom of it.
Once you have an enormous variation in wealth then corruption and criminality is going to increase and the economy is going to decline. The government will also start to have less control as the corporations and billionaires start to influence all decisions.



I would agree with that definition.
I would probably add that displacement of the population would be the really major marker. If you have high levels of displacement, refugees etc then I think you probably have a population where there is lawlessness and where people don't feel safe or feel there is a future for their family.

I don't think it is always about money. I was reading once that yearly income wasn't a reliable indicator of happiness as some very poor societies showed a fairly high degree of happiness. But I suspect those societies were settled, social traditions were upheld and probably most people were in the same boat.
I can remember once talking to a woman who said that she had a very happy childhood but she now realised her family was probably on the poorer side. But that she never knew that at the time as everyone else in the family and all the neighbourhood was exactly the same.

Lord Herbert wrote on Mar 15th, 2014 at 12:19pm:
freediver wrote on Mar 15th, 2014 at 7:23am:
In historical terms, it largely attributes these differences to "accidents of history".


Utter nonsense ~ as he would well know.

The author is obviously a disciple of PC politics and a moral coward who simply cannot bring himself to say that the West beat the Rest because it's institutions of governance, industry, and learning were far superior to that of the Third World.

While the Third World countries were turned inwards on surviving on cottage industries and centuries-old traditions that discouraged change and experimentation, the West meanwhile exploded with technical innovation, empire-building, inventions and discoveries, etc ... it had its Renaissance while the rest of the world slept.

But your author is too much of a leftwing arsehole to give credit to the West lest this 'offend' a few sensitivities amongst our immigrant Third Worlders.


I would agree. Over the last 20 years or so, there has been a bit of  PC wave of thought that tends to insist that we see all people, all religions, all societies as 'equal' and just as good as any other.

People take offence if there are any claims one way of life is any better than another. You see it, for example, if any study dares to suggest that 2 parent families are generally better for children than being in a single parent family.

But it applies on a broader front too. Western society got ahead because it was stable enough for technical innovation, empire-building, inventions and discoveries to go ahead. There was enough food and security for some people to spend time on those things instead of simply fighting for existence.
That doesn't mean western society was perfect with everyone getting a fair deal, or that there was no poverty, just that there was enough stability and enough general wealth for those countries to forge ahead.
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Winston Smith
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Re: Why Nations Fail
Reply #31 - Mar 16th, 2014 at 7:07am
 
sherri wrote on Mar 16th, 2014 at 6:49am:
The_Barnacle wrote on Mar 15th, 2014 at 12:06pm:
Postmodern Trendoid III wrote on Mar 15th, 2014 at 11:36am:
But I suppose it comes down to definitions of 'fail'. What is a failed society?


Here is a definition of a "failed State" by a US think tank which pretty much sums it up

Quote:
A failed state has several attributes. Common indicators include a state whose central government is so weak or ineffective that it has little practical control over much of its territory; non-provision of public services; widespread corruption and criminality; refugees and involuntary movement of populations; sharp economic decline.


Enormous variations in wealth is the process which causes a nation to fail rather than a symptom of it.
Once you have an enormous variation in wealth then corruption and criminality is going to increase and the economy is going to decline. The government will also start to have less control as the corporations and billionaires start to influence all decisions.



I would agree with that definition.
I would probably add that displacement of the population would be the really major marker. If you have high levels of displacement, refugees etc then I think you probably have a population where there is lawlessness and where people don't feel safe or feel there is a future for their family.

I don't think it is always about money. I was reading once that yearly income wasn't a reliable indicator of happiness as some very poor societies showed a fairly high degree of happiness. But I suspect those societies were settled, social traditions were upheld and probably most people were in the same boat.
I can remember once talking to a woman who said that she had a very happy childhood but she now realised her family was probably on the poorer side. But that she never knew that at the time as everyone else in the family and all the neighbourhood was exactly the same.

Lord Herbert wrote on Mar 15th, 2014 at 12:19pm:
freediver wrote on Mar 15th, 2014 at 7:23am:
In historical terms, it largely attributes these differences to "accidents of history".


Utter nonsense ~ as he would well know.

The author is obviously a disciple of PC politics and a moral coward who simply cannot bring himself to say that the West beat the Rest because it's institutions of governance, industry, and learning were far superior to that of the Third World.

While the Third World countries were turned inwards on surviving on cottage industries and centuries-old traditions that discouraged change and experimentation, the West meanwhile exploded with technical innovation, empire-building, inventions and discoveries, etc ... it had its Renaissance while the rest of the world slept.

But your author is too much of a leftwing arsehole to give credit to the West lest this 'offend' a few sensitivities amongst our immigrant Third Worlders.


I would agree. Over the last 20 years or so, there has been a bit of  PC wave of thought that tends to insist that we see all people, all religions, all societies as 'equal' and just as good as any other.

People take offence if there are any claims one way of life is any better than another. You see it, for example, if any study dares to suggest that 2 parent families are generally better for children than being in a single parent family.

But it applies on a broader front too. Western society got ahead because it was stable enough for technical innovation, empire-building, inventions and discoveries to go ahead. There was enough food and security for some people to spend time on those things instead of simply fighting for existence.
That doesn't mean western society was perfect with everyone getting a fair deal, or that there was no poverty, just that there was enough stability and enough general wealth for those countries to forge ahead.


Define ahead.
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sherri
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Re: Why Nations Fail
Reply #32 - Mar 16th, 2014 at 7:47am
 
It's not easy, is it. Smiley
But I will have a go.

You know how they often rate Melbourne as the world's most liveable city?
Apparently it is based on surveys-things like access to health, education, housing, services. How satisfied people are with their life/lifestyle.

I would say you also need to look at change in a society & the expansion of the knowledge base.

So.. is the society fairly stable, with law and order? Are most people voluntarily staying put?
Is it a society that has some shared values?

Education and skills are important as they can make life more comfortable and give that society an edge.

Maybe you won't agree with some of these as 'ahead' but I think you have to ask yourself-why, in the last 150 years, did the USA see such a rush of migrants and people wanting 'in' to their society? I would suggest it was because a lot of those migrants saw USA as offering a 'better' life.
If they had to rate the countries, they were in fact putting USA ahead of their own.
Why do we currently have a lot of people trying to get into Australia? Do you ever hear of huge numbers of Aussies trying desperately to get citizenship in Iran/Iraq/Afghanistan? Why not?

Thee are some very politically/socially unstable parts of Africa at the moment. Would you like to go live there, or prefer to stay put?

What about groups that didn't get 'ahead' in science/technology? Was their society necessarily any worse? Take the aboriginals (as they seem to be everyone's fav topic on this forum). I am sure they had stable societies, there were rules, people were probably happy in their communities.
But basic food was sometimes a problem, they got by but had to work at it. And in the end, was the spear or boomerang any match against a gun? Or the sheer numbers of outsiders? I would suggest not.

When we look back at past civilisations, what are some of the things we look at? Not just their beliefs, but their buildings, their innovations, what put them ahead of their rivals.

I'm not necessarily suggesting wealth or knowledge or technology makes for a moral superiority, but stability, a feeling a safety and enough wealth to allow some to tinker with technology & science sure makes for a society people want to live in.

Maybe that is a good enough definition of ahead. A society a lot of people want to live in.
Oh-but ahead also implies some movement/change. can't stay static. Smiley


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Lord Herbert
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Re: Why Nations Fail
Reply #33 - Mar 16th, 2014 at 8:22am
 
sherri wrote on Mar 16th, 2014 at 6:49am:
Lord Herbert wrote on Mar 15th, 2014 at 12:19pm:
freediver wrote on Mar 15th, 2014 at 7:23am:
In historical terms, it largely attributes these differences to "accidents of history".


Utter nonsense ~ as he would well know.

The author is obviously a disciple of PC politics and a moral coward who simply cannot bring himself to say that the West beat the Rest because it's institutions of governance, industry, and learning were far superior to that of the Third World.

While the Third World countries were turned inwards on surviving on cottage industries and centuries-old traditions that discouraged change and experimentation, the West meanwhile exploded with technical innovation, empire-building, inventions and discoveries, etc ... it had its Renaissance while the rest of the world slept.

But your author is too much of a leftwing arsehole to give credit to the West lest this 'offend' a few sensitivities amongst our immigrant Third Worlders.


I would agree. Over the last 20 years or so, there has been a bit of  PC wave of thought that tends to insist that we see all people, all religions, all societies as 'equal' and just as good as any other.

People take offence if there are any claims one way of life is any better than another. You see it, for example, if any study dares to suggest that 2 parent families are generally better for children than being in a single parent family.

But it applies on a broader front too. Western society got ahead because it was stable enough for technical innovation, empire-building, inventions and discoveries to go ahead. There was enough food and security for some people to spend time on those things instead of simply fighting for existence.
That doesn't mean western society was perfect with everyone getting a fair deal, or that there was no poverty, just that there was enough stability and enough general wealth for those countries to forge ahead.


Thank you, Sherri.

As always, yours and Lady Mantra's posts are the epitome of good sense and calm reasoning that make them such an inspiration to us all.

"Accidents of history" is designed to be a face-saving sop to the readership whose ancestral homelands were cruising in neutral while those of the Anglo-Sphere were gearing up to Fast-Forward civilisation by 1000 years within a relatively very short time.

And the petulant non-British people have been sulking ever since, with this boorish resentment accounting for almost all of the energy they direct towards abusing and insulting the British and the Americans.

FD, John Smith and the like are not happy campers in any conversation that might even remotely give credit to the British and their colonial off-spring.

 
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Re: Why Nations Fail
Reply #34 - Mar 16th, 2014 at 8:57am
 
sherri wrote on Mar 16th, 2014 at 7:47am:
It's not easy, is it. Smiley
But I will have a go.

You know how they often rate Melbourne as the world's most liveable city?
Apparently it is based on surveys-things like access to health, education, housing, services. How satisfied people are with their life/lifestyle.

I would say you also need to look at change in a society & the expansion of the knowledge base.

So.. is the society fairly stable, with law and order? Are most people voluntarily staying put?
Is it a society that has some shared values?

Education and skills are important as they can make life more comfortable and give that society an edge.

Maybe you won't agree with some of these as 'ahead' but I think you have to ask yourself-why, in the last 150 years, did the USA see such a rush of migrants and people wanting 'in' to their society? I would suggest it was because a lot of those migrants saw USA as offering a 'better' life.
If they had to rate the countries, they were in fact putting USA ahead of their own.
Why do we currently have a lot of people trying to get into Australia? Do you ever hear of huge numbers of Aussies trying desperately to get citizenship in Iran/Iraq/Afghanistan? Why not?

Thee are some very politically/socially unstable parts of Africa at the moment. Would you like to go live there, or prefer to stay put?

What about groups that didn't get 'ahead' in science/technology? Was their society necessarily any worse? Take the aboriginals (as they seem to be everyone's fav topic on this forum). I am sure they had stable societies, there were rules, people were probably happy in their communities.
But basic food was sometimes a problem, they got by but had to work at it. And in the end, was the spear or boomerang any match against a gun? Or the sheer numbers of outsiders? I would suggest not.

When we look back at past civilisations, what are some of the things we look at? Not just their beliefs, but their buildings, their innovations, what put them ahead of their rivals.

I'm not necessarily suggesting wealth or knowledge or technology makes for a moral superiority, but stability, a feeling a safety and enough wealth to allow some to tinker with technology & science sure makes for a society people want to live in.

Maybe that is a good enough definition of ahead. A society a lot of people want to live in.
Oh-but ahead also implies some movement/change. can't stay static. Smiley




You can only know the price paid for getting ahead from your own experience.
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NorthOfNorth
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Re: Why Nations Fail
Reply #35 - Mar 16th, 2014 at 9:24am
 
The question of China's 'sleep' from around the 16th century until the late 20th century was one that prompted Joseph Needham to write his massive 7 volume account of China's history 'Science and Civilisation in China' which detailed the incredible superiority of Chinese society until it ended relatively suddenly around the 16th century.

The list of inventions and technology that he discovered were developed and deployed in China hundreds of years before the west is impressive.

It prompted him to ask the question (now known as the Needham question) "Why had China been overtaken by the West in science and technology, despite its earlier successes?"

No definitive and complete answer has ever been proposed, but the question is more of a rhetorical one than a call to inquiry.

One thing is for sure, he is honoured in China (known in Chinese as Li Yuese) as the man who helped the Chinese rediscover themselves.

If his predictions prove true, China will reassert itself as the leader of world civilisation again and the past 500 years (in Chinese cultural terms) will be something akin to a good night's rest!


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Re: Why Nations Fail
Reply #36 - Mar 16th, 2014 at 10:06am
 
NorthOfNorth wrote on Mar 16th, 2014 at 9:24am:
It prompted him to ask the question (now known as the Needham question) "Why had China been overtaken by the West in science and technology, despite its earlier successes?"

No definitive and complete answer has ever been proposed,


And that's only because political correctness forbids Britain and America's current crop of de facto Social-Marxist academics from claiming a superiority for the West that might embarrass and upset China for its 'Third World' status.

Of course our academics know full-well why the West succeeded whereas China continued with its agrarian rice-bowl economy ...

The Chinese lived under a succession of rigid dictatorships that forbade any deviation from the norm. The strict hierarchal system ~ similar to the Vatican ~ stifled liberal individualism to the extent it quashed any creativity that was not directly under sanction of the Royal Court of the prevailing dynasty. 

NorthOfNorth wrote on Mar 16th, 2014 at 9:24am:
One thing is for sure, he is honoured in China (known in Chinese as Li Yuese) as the man who helped the Chinese rediscover themselves.


And who kept tactfully silent on anything that might have caused them to 'lose face'. It's an old strategy for currying favour with those not of British or American background.

Tickle their tummy, and tell them they're just as good as those who they have had a chronic inferiority complex about (the English, et al). I've done this many times with Greeks and Italians, much to their appreciation.

Read any books lately by academics giving an honest critique of pre-settlement aboriginal traditions and cultural practices?

Of course you haven't.

That would spoil the Victimhood 'narrative', and make the Brits not look so bad by comparison.





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Re: Why Nations Fail
Reply #37 - Mar 16th, 2014 at 10:16am
 
Lord Herbert wrote on Mar 16th, 2014 at 10:06am:
NorthOfNorth wrote on Mar 16th, 2014 at 9:24am:
It prompted him to ask the question (now known as the Needham question) "Why had China been overtaken by the West in science and technology, despite its earlier successes?"

No definitive and complete answer has ever been proposed,


The Chinese lived under a succession of rigid dictatorships that forbade any deviation from the norm. The strict hierarchal system ~ similar to the Vatican ~ stifled liberal individualism to the extent it quashed any creativity that was not directly under sanction of the Royal Court of the prevailing dynasty. 

Yes, that's the common answer to the Needham Question.

Lord Herbert wrote on Mar 16th, 2014 at 10:06am:
NorthOfNorth wrote on Mar 16th, 2014 at 9:24am:
One thing is for sure, he is honoured in China (known in Chinese as Li Yuese) as the man who helped the Chinese rediscover themselves.


And who kept tactfully silent on anything that might have caused them to 'lose face'. It's an old strategy for currying favour with those not of British or American background.

Tickle their tummy, and tell them they're just as good as those who they have had a chronic inferiority complex about (the English). I've done this many times with Greeks and Italians, much to their appreciation.

Read any books lately by academics giving an honest critique of pre-settlement aboriginal traditions and cultural practices?

Of course you haven't.

That would spoil the Victimhood 'narrative', and make the Brits not look so bad by comparison.

I think its true to say the British did not act any worse than other imperial nations (maybe better than many)... But that's not to say they didn't commit crimes in the cause of empire... Now that the British aren't writing the history without serious rivals as they did in the 19th century, naturally there's now a focus away from the glories of the Empire towards the cost borne by others as a result of empire. Is that so surprising?

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NorthOfNorth
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Re: Why Nations Fail
Reply #38 - Mar 16th, 2014 at 10:19am
 
Lord Herbert wrote on Mar 16th, 2014 at 10:06am:
Tickle their tummy, and tell them they're just as good as those who they have had a chronic inferiority complex about (the English, et al). I've done this many times with Greeks and Italians, much to their appreciation.

Good ole, English cynicism... The cornerstone of 'divide and rule'.
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Re: Why Nations Fail
Reply #39 - Mar 16th, 2014 at 10:46am
 
NorthOfNorth wrote on Mar 16th, 2014 at 10:16am:
I think its true to say the British did not act any worse than other imperial nations (maybe better than many)... But that's not to say they didn't commit crimes in the cause of empire... Now that the British aren't writing the history without serious rivals as they did in the 19th century, naturally there's now a focus away from the glories of the Empire towards the cost borne by others as a result of empire. Is that so surprising?



That is exactly right. What the Conservatives like to deride as "political correctness gone mad" or "victim mentality" is actually a backlash against the establishment which for too long has been writing it's own history and blowing it's own trumpet.

When there is even the hint of a suggestion that under modern civilised values the treatment of our indigenous population was quite barbaric, the Conservatives get very defensive, bury their head in the sand and try to justify it by proclaiming racial and cultural superiority. 
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Re: Why Nations Fail
Reply #40 - Mar 16th, 2014 at 11:47am
 
NorthOfNorth wrote on Mar 16th, 2014 at 9:24am:
The question of China's 'sleep' from around the 16th century until the late 20th century was one that prompted Joseph Needham to write his massive 7 volume account of China's history 'Science and Civilisation in China' which detailed the incredible superiority of Chinese society until it ended relatively suddenly around the 16th century.

The list of inventions and technology that he discovered were developed and deployed in China hundreds of years before the west is impressive.

It prompted him to ask the question (now known as the Needham question) "Why had China been overtaken by the West in science and technology, despite its earlier successes?"

No definitive and complete answer has ever been proposed, but the question is more of a rhetorical one than a call to inquiry.


One thing is for sure, he is honoured in China (known in Chinese as Li Yuese) as the man who helped the Chinese rediscover themselves.

If his predictions prove true, China will reassert itself as the leader of world civilisation again and the past 500 years (in Chinese cultural terms) will be something akin to a good night's rest!




It's been written about quite a bit. But you've got to read the texts written before the 1960s. From the 1960s onward history was taken over by Marxists and post-structuralists. Instead of examining and revealing its achievements, they went for the complete "oppression" angle. That said, you can often find a historian here and there that doesn't cower to trendy "oppression" theories.
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Re: Why Nations Fail
Reply #41 - Mar 16th, 2014 at 11:49am
 
NorthOfNorth wrote on Mar 16th, 2014 at 10:16am:
I think its true to say the British did not act any worse than other imperial nations (maybe better than many)...


Jesus on a crippled donkey! Didn't they have comparative history at your school?

While the rest of the European colonial powers were butchering and slaughtering across the world ~ committing real genocide and stealing their gold ~ the Brits meanwhile had the Death Penalty around 1800 for any of their own who should kill one of the local Stone Aged natives.

No other colonial power dreamed of hanging one of their own for killing one of the local abos. It was inconceivable to them.




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Re: Why Nations Fail
Reply #42 - Mar 16th, 2014 at 11:52am
 
The_Barnacle wrote on Mar 16th, 2014 at 10:46am:
NorthOfNorth wrote on Mar 16th, 2014 at 10:16am:
I think its true to say the British did not act any worse than other imperial nations (maybe better than many)... But that's not to say they didn't commit crimes in the cause of empire... Now that the British aren't writing the history without serious rivals as they did in the 19th century, naturally there's now a focus away from the glories of the Empire towards the cost borne by others as a result of empire. Is that so surprising?



That is exactly right. What the Conservatives like to deride as "political correctness gone mad" or "victim mentality" is actually a backlash against the establishment which for too long has been writing it's own history and blowing it's own trumpet.

When there is even the hint of a suggestion that under modern civilised values the treatment of our indigenous population was quite barbaric, the Conservatives get very defensive, bury their head in the sand and try to justify it by proclaiming racial and cultural superiority. 


You're making a common mistake. You're applying modern day trendy morality to past acts. This in no way actually gives an insight into the time and why things occurred as they did. True history involves understanding the morals, laws, mores of an era and how they were justified. Just looking back and claiming the past was 'barbaric' reveals more about the values of the person making the claim than anything in history.
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Re: Why Nations Fail
Reply #43 - Mar 16th, 2014 at 11:54am
 
Postmodern Trendoid III wrote on Mar 16th, 2014 at 11:47am:
It's been written about quite a bit. But you've got to read the texts written before the 1960s. From the 1960s onward history was taken over by Marxists and post-structuralists. Instead of examining and revealing its achievements, they went for the complete "oppression" angle. That said, you can often find a historian here and there that doesn't cower to trendy "oppression" theories.


Thank you, Culture Warrior.

Don't be surprised if a certain petulant and boorish individual should make an appearance here soon to tell you "It's all in your head" ~ and he "KNOWS you're full of sh!t"

Stand by with a mop-and-bucket ready for him. The Sydney Fish Markets close early on a Sunday, so he should be here soon.

***

At the school I went to in the '50's we had ALL the 'dirt' told to us about Britain's past ~ but they also told us about all the good stuff.
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Re: Why Nations Fail
Reply #44 - Mar 16th, 2014 at 11:56am
 
Postmodern Trendoid III wrote on Mar 16th, 2014 at 11:47am:
NorthOfNorth wrote on Mar 16th, 2014 at 9:24am:
The question of China's 'sleep' from around the 16th century until the late 20th century was one that prompted Joseph Needham to write his massive 7 volume account of China's history 'Science and Civilisation in China' which detailed the incredible superiority of Chinese society until it ended relatively suddenly around the 16th century.

The list of inventions and technology that he discovered were developed and deployed in China hundreds of years before the west is impressive.

It prompted him to ask the question (now known as the Needham question) "Why had China been overtaken by the West in science and technology, despite its earlier successes?"

No definitive and complete answer has ever been proposed, but the question is more of a rhetorical one than a call to inquiry.


One thing is for sure, he is honoured in China (known in Chinese as Li Yuese) as the man who helped the Chinese rediscover themselves.

If his predictions prove true, China will reassert itself as the leader of world civilisation again and the past 500 years (in Chinese cultural terms) will be something akin to a good night's rest!




It's been written about quite a bit. But you've got to read the texts written before the 1960s. From the 1960s onward history was taken over by Marxists and post-structuralists. Instead of examining and revealing its achievements, they went for the complete "oppression" angle. That said, you can often find a historian here and there that doesn't cower to trendy "oppression" theories.



There's a book by Ricardo Duchesne called The Uniqueness of western Civilization that explains in detail the differences between China and Europe, particularly Britain, from about the 14th century to the 19th century century right down to things like the size of crop yields.
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