Western civilization remains the center of the worldview for many people and among societies world over. Contemporary history, – politics, religion, scientific advancements, technology, among others, had a huge impact on civilizations around the world. The cold war, dissolution of the Soviet Union, petroleum politics, the democratization of Europe, the growth of Islamism among other major historical events post the second world war were predominantly western. These events shaped the foundation of the contemporary world. The result was that economic models, political governance systems, religion, industrial development, technology, and other aspects of civilization were adopted from the West by societies throughout the world. This gave the world a sense of European superiority and a drive to emulate European civilization. As the years have progressed, this notion of the west being the origin of civilization has remained in societies across the globe. In essence, it is not the superiority of European civilization that contributed to the skewed Eurocentric views of global issues that people share today. It was the dominance; the sheer popularity of western civilization due to early European involvement in world issues. The west through its early dominance has however managed to maintain a front seat on global trends to date thus its contribution in the maintenance of the contemporary world cannot be rubbished. This paper analyses why European civilization has come to define the modern world and why most parts of the world remain poor. The early dominance of western civilization is the reason why industry, nation states, and European style economics have come define the modern world instead of complex agrarian empires. Parts of the world remain poor because of the continued focus by the west to further advance itself instead of redistributing wealth.
European Influence on Industrial Development.
Influence from the west continues to hinder industrial diversity, which is a foundational characteristic of complex agrarian empires. The emergence of early agrarian civilizations was characterized by the diversification of industrial production. In Agrarian Mesopotamia for instance, after people learned to domesticate plants and animals, they gradually learned to utilize animals for a variety of things. They used milk, wool, manure, and muscle power from animals instead of eating them right away. This was possible because of a lack of predominant barriers to diversification. For instance, to use animal muscle power to cultivates lands, no existing predominant cultivation methods were limiting the use of animal power. The early dominance of the west as far as industrial development is concerned defines the modern world today through factors limiting industrial diversity. The industrial revolution in Europe founded the death of diversity through inventions of production tools dependent on specific sources of energy. Production machines that use petroleum energy, for instance, limit diversification to other sources of energy. Since the industrial revolution, Europe has maintained control of major industries in the world by monopolizing means of production. Overreliance on European production methods since the industrial revolution has also limited the ability of the rest of the world to come up with new, more diversified production means to revolutionize industries. Industrial technological inventions have largely remained a reserve for the west with Eurocentric nations waiting to adopt western technologies rather than try to create production means in their own way.
Leading the way in the development of production methods for industries, the West has managed to exert control of production in various industries across the world. European mining, construction, transport, and other primary production industries are positioned across the globe exploiting raw materials and tapping profits, a significant amount of which is remitted to the western countries. This has for years given the west the advantage to continue advancing production methods and setting the frameworks for the application of these methods. The proceeds of this European advantage in industrialization are largely used to develop their nations and not the parts of the world where they reap from. The result is that these parts of the earth and their people remain poor while the west continues to widen the gap. Arguments are made that the western countries make the effort to bridge wide economic gaps in various parts of the world. Truth is, the west majorly provides aid to countries instead of empowering the countries to be self-sufficient. The US for example provides HIV drug aid for several third world economies. Throughout the years the US has advanced its production of drugs, strengthening its position in the medical industry. Helping these third world economies produce the drugs themselves would lead to economic benefits to the people in these nations for instance through the creation of employment. Agrarian empires are self-sufficient civilizations. Ever since taking the lead in industrialization, the West has made very limited efforts to makes other parts of the world self-sufficient thus these parts of the world remain poor. Europe’s early industrialization is therefore the reason why the west continues to define the modern world with regard to industrialization.
Western Influence Administration
Colonization and the early administrative superiority of Europe continue to define the modern world. Unlike other aspects of civilization that constitute eurocentrism which is based on mere perceptions, it is a fact that Europe was popular administratively in the build-up to the contemporary world. Several countries across the globe were colonized by Europe. Despite independence gained by countries and freedom from European political administration, colonization had huge political impacts on countries most of which are felt to date. Administrative systems adopted from colonial models continue to impact important aspects of agrarian empires such as agriculture. Agrarian societies were anchored on the cultivation of land and rapid agricultural production. Settler farming during European colonization however killed the agrarian spirit that was founded on a freedom model for agriculture. State control of agriculture in countries, a product of colonial impact has significantly destabilized agriculture which in agrarian empires would be the backbone of economies. In Asia for example, the supposed dry climate leads to a dependency on irrigation agriculture. This form of agriculture then required that governments come up with structures to enhance irrigation thus having an influence on agriculture. The fact is that initially, agriculture in Asia did not solely depend on irrigation, rain-fed farming was part of the agricultural practice. Even then, irrigation schemes were small, headed by village councils and not by overreaching state structures that control agricultural practice. Colonization and administrative structures adopted by countries post-independence impacted agriculture which is a foundational pillar of agrarian empires.
Colonization’s impact on small-scale farming illustrated above continues to impact communities that would have otherwise benefited from small-scale agriculture. These communities remain poor as a result of resorting to other activities that do not necessarily fit them. Additionally, the high commercialization of agriculture by western countries impacts production as well as influencing agricultural consumption. Processing of agricultural products and consumption of processed foods further advance European control of agriculture globally. Several third world countries for instance export agricultural produce to western countries or supply them to European industries across the globe. They later buy the processed foods for consumption. Processed foods, a characteristic of western civilization continues to impact agricultural production and consumption consequently affecting poor communities all over the world negatively.
Western Influence on Education
European invasion and subsequent colonization of several parts of the world also marked the introduction of formal education. Education would later open avenues for global engagements by providing common ground for parties. To date, education systems are tailored to the initial European foundations in their respective colonies all over the globe. Education impacts several aspects of life that constitute the contemporary world. Education, a critical aspect of the contemporary world is, therefore, technically a European idea. Advancements in education systems over the years have therefore been pegged on advances in education in western countries. Pioneer and development of formal education put the west steps ahead of the rest of the world and the continued advancement of education keeps them at the front seat on the organization of the contemporary world. Formal education, a core pillar of modern civilization was not a part of agrarian societies. Education is informal and solely for the purposes of harmonious social existence. The central role that formal education holds today, therefore, makes it difficult for agrarian societies to define the contemporary world.
European Cultural Imperialism
Early European cultural imperialism further shaped the Eurocentric view of the modern world held by the majority today. In the nineteenth century, European countries formed empires in Asia and Africa, marking their presence in a variety of ways. One of the most enduring was their cultural imperialism, or the effort to imprint their culture on their colonial subjects. Europeans claimed they were not only militarily superior but also culturally superior as a result of their conquest of much of the world. Europeans argued that it was important to substitute these inferior societies with their own in order to “civilize” the rest of the planet. Surprisingly, this phase of cultural assimilation and homogenization occurred in Europe as well, both in the colonizing countries and in the Eastern European borderlands, where Germany and Russia were embarking on separate impoverishment campaigns. In religion, for instance, Christianity was spread by European missionaries across the globe where there were existing religions. There is a possibility that European excellence in terms of political power, industrialization, and other aspects of life contributed to the assimilation of European cultures with the perception that it was superior. Today, Christianity is perhaps the most prominent religion in the world, a product of European cultural imperialism.
Western Influence on Global Commerce
European superiority in world politics and state interests in western countries in the 19th century laid the foundation in which western countries have shown dominance throughout the years and continue to shape the modern world’s economy. The political presence of these countries saw the rise of international political and economic organizations regulating trade and commerce in most par6s of the globe. These organizations set out regulations that have since received little challenge and continue to be the base or economic engagements between countries. The European Union for example has regulations for trade facilitating commerce between member states and restrictions to non-members. Since 1945, the global economic order has evolved to reflect shifts in the broader context of global politics and economics, as well as changes in national priorities as viewed by nation-state decision-makers. Until the end of the 1980s, two of the most critical and significant conditions of the international setting and its development, namely Cold War politics and American hegemony, shaped the creation and evolution of the liberal international economic order. The global economic order, on the other hand, has been gradually shaped and deformed since the early 1990s. Beyond the distinguishing characteristics of hierarchical force and forced taxation/tribute, many of the earliest agrarian civilizations produced several similar characteristics. Only centralized state authority appears to be capable of successfully integrating and supporting large numbers of citizens. Europeans style economics in the contemporary world are therefore not a result of European superiority but a result of commerce regulatory policies put in place in the early years of European dominance.
Why Some Parts Of The Earth Remain PoorFrom the underpinning factors, aspects of the modern world discussed, it is easy to understand why some parts of the earth remain several years into modernization. First as discussed, the influence of western countries in industrialization and their continued focus on further developing themselves rather than empowering communities to self-sufficiency. Western states continue to monopolize the industrialization sector by controlling major industrial production methods across the globe. They continue to exploit parts of the world for the production raw materials given their monopoly with natives of these areas not getting the meaningful value for their resources. Secondly, regulations of commerce by international bodies influenced by state interests have given developing countries little chance of bridging the economic gaps between the west and the rest of the world. Thirdly, the overreliance of developing countries on western countries for development has left these nations struggling to make any meaningful economic progress because of the dependence on the west to come up with solutions for their problems. The west is interested in further advancing itself, not developing struggling countries. The faster developing countries realize this and start looking for local economic solutions the better. Finally, education being central to modernization has left communities with low levels of education struggling economically. Education is the key to opportunities in the contemporary world and the lack of it, or inadequacy of it leads to limited economic opportunities.
Many people view the world from a Eurocentric point of view. This point of view stems from historical happenings that portrayed European civilization as the ultimate form of civilization and modernization. This however provides a skewed image of the contemporary world and may not truly reflect on contemporary issues and also takes part of the blame why some parts of the world remain poor to date. Western civilization had and continues to have its contribution in defining the contemporary world not because of the superiority of the west but because of the dominance of the west in the early years of civilization. The impact of this dominance and the discussed contemporary issues in the west made it difficult to define the modern world by complex agrarian empires. The influence of the west on industrialization, education, administration, culture, and economic regulations around the world are some of the reasons why industry, nation states, and European style economics define the contemporary world. The early dominance of western civilization is the reason why industry, nation states, and European style economics have come define the modern world instead of complex agrarian empires. Parts of the world remain poor because of the continued focus by the west to further advance itself instead of redistributing wealth.
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