Saturday, February 12, 2011

The West in Relative Decline

Arguing that “The West no longer is the mirror in which the rest of the world sees the future,” commentator Michael Wesley
writes in the Australian:
Politics and the markets seem increasingly at loggerheads in Western societies. It's like a bad marriage: government and business realise each needs the other to survive, but each increasingly regards the other with mistrust and contempt. Politics has overwhelmed policy. . . governments [seem unable] to design and implement big and necessary reforms. We saw it . . . last year [in Australia], in the US, Japan and Europe.
Kishore Mahbubani, dean of the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore, in London’s Financial Times uses different evidence to make the same point :
Before [the Western financial] crisis Asian policymakers deferred towards their Western counterparts. . . The enormous blunders since committed by the US and Europe mean deference has been replaced by disquiet. . . Asia’s concern is that the world will soon come to grief if both the US and Europe fail to make fundamental readjustments. . . We . . . need altered attitudes that accept Asians as equals. . . What truly frightens many Asians is that Western leaders are still unwilling to tell their populations the hard truth – that the world has changed.
We know the world’s balance of power is undergoing a monumental shift. Just look at this chart:
And at this one:
The combination of capitalism and democracy this blog fervently advocates is at the heart of Western thought. Here’s hoping the two have become universal enough to carry on as Western supremacy declines.

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