Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Progress, Development and Relations with Third World

Our Russian correspondent Dimitri K. has some thoughts about the pitfalls inherent in the concept of “progress:” as it applies to the nations of the world.

Progress, Development and Relations with Third World
by Dimitri K.

Dinosaur fossilI want to discuss here how the wide-spread belief in progress and development influences the relations between the West and the other parts of the world.

According to those concepts, people, technology and the world are developing. The progress is unidirectional: the later, the more developed.

However, if we look at the world, some countries appear to be less developed than others. They are believed to be “under-developed”. Given the monotone growth of progress, it is as if they were situated earlier in time. Those countries and their people are perceived, within the frame of Evolution and Progress, as people from previous time. Up to this point, everyone will probably agree.

Here is the trick: when we look at those countries and people, we inevitably think that we see our history. As if we see our ancestors, observe our history in real time. So, those people actually take the place of our ancestors in our minds. Geography substitutes for history. The relation is substituted by difference.

The consequences are straightforward. Clearly, everyone needs and wants to be fair to his ancestors. Treating your ancestors unfairly, or worse, being rude to them is like attacking your own parents. We may only help them and must respect them. This hypothesis may also explain why some conservatives are even more possessed by comforting third-worlders than leftists — because respect to your fathers is the key point of conservatism.
- - - - - - - - -
There is no way out of this trap, until we quit speaking about other nations and countries in the terms of time. Never call them retarded, under-developed, primitive, barbaric, medieval etc. Those names only strengthen the historical associations.

They are our contemporaries, not ancestors. Let’s call them “different”, “others” or “strangers”.

But evolution and progressive concepts must be avoided.

And the hardest of all: we have to quit thinking of ourselves as the most developed. Let us learn to be not the champions of the world, but just ourselves. Then we will be able to solve our problems rationally, not under the influence of feelings which have nothing to do with the problems we face.


Diamed said...

Communism is merely the logical consequence of Universalism. We defeated communism but embraced universalism--"everyone has equal value and we should treat everyone on earth equally and interchangeably with one another." Of course this just meant back door communism but with less violence as a soporific.

. said...

Dimitri has a point, up to a point, but he is ignoring the fact that several formerly Third World countries have, indeed, followed the Western economic model to prosperity for their people. These countries are, most notably, in East Asia, but there are several Latin American nations on the same pathway.

And, based upon these examples, it behooves the west to urge other world nations in Africa and the Middle East, as well as the Latin American and East Asian laggards, to follow this model. Remember, economics is not a zero-sum game - the U.S.and Europe are not less prosperous because China, India, Korea, Taiwan, etc. have made the lives of their people immeasurably better.

Zenster said...

Ex-Gordon: Remember, economics is not a zero-sum game - the U.S.and Europe are not less prosperous because China, India, Korea, Taiwan, etc. have made the lives of their people immeasurably better.

Horsehockey. Had you left China off your list, I might agree. Beijing is the nexus of so much theft, corruption and human degradation that they exemplify the Zero-Sum-Game. China's gain has so often been at the world's complete and total loss that it is long past tea for their bubble economy to pop like the swollen blister of political pus that it is.

China steadily engages in:

1.) Endemic intellectual property theft
2.) Routine copyright violation
3.) Counterfeiting of brand names
4.) Constant patent violations
5.) Allowing epidemics to spread unchecked
6.) Blatantly manipulating their currency
7.)Polluting the water, air and even orbital lanes with their heedless effluent
8.) Blackmailing foreign drug combines to help underwrite treatment of their own (world's largest) medically-caused AIDS epidemic
9.) Breaching WTO regulations by using prison labor for industrial production
10.) Avoiding costly quality controls by distributing tainted and poisoned goods
11.) Launching government sponsored Internet attacks
12.) Constructing flawed engineering projects that destroy world heritage sites and promise calamitous loss of human life upon failure
13.) Propping up North Korea as its rogue regime proliferates nuclear technology and forces its own starving people into cannibalism
14.) Distributing weapons and financial support to some of the world's worst human rights offenders like Sudan, Chad and Iran
15.) Just about every other damned form of criminal activity you can name

So, please remind me, once again, exactly why China belongs on your list of fair players.

Nyog of the Bog said...

For you GoV scholars out there, am I correct in attributing something in the Western notion of "Progress" to the work of the 19th German Philosopher Hagel which was subsequently to be incorporated into the thinking of Marx?

. said...

Zenster: I guess you don't like China ...

To which I say, you're more right than wrong. It makes me chuckle, in a sad way, to see people in the Western World as on Gates of Vienna expending so much energy attacking a group of pre-modern fanatics whose idea of an advance weapon is a box-cutter, instead of on a rising nation, technologically advanced and capable, ruled by a dictatorship hiding its rule behind discredited communist nostrums. China is the real 21st Century threat to the West - it's rise will soon make us a bi-polar world again as we were during the Cold War.

My only hope is that the model China is trying to keep up, economic liberalism run by a political dictatorship using ideological lies to prop itself up, will eventually prove untenable and collapse. This will be terrible for China, and will pose dangers for the rest of the world, but of a different sort that a rising power China presents.

It's why my bet is that in the second half of the 21st century the big Asian power will not be China, but rather India.

Zenster said...

Thank you for clarifying, Ex-Gordon. As I have long maintained, at day's end, communist China will make Islam's terrorists look like a pack of well-behaved Boy Scouts.

China's racial memory extends back almost SIX MILLENNIA. The Nazis look like abject pikers when compared to Chinese notions of being the Master Race™.