The Myths and Realities of the Clash of Western and Chinese Civilizations in the 21st Century

By Targowski, Andrew | Comparative Civilizations Review, Fall 2012 | Go to article overview

The Myths and Realities of the Clash of Western and Chinese Civilizations in the 21st Century


Targowski, Andrew, Comparative Civilizations Review


The Globalization and Comparative Approach

Key Words: Western Civilization, Chinese Civilization, USA, EU, China, civilization clash, wealth bifurcation, Death Triangle of Civilization, globalization, globalization waves, economic crisis, grand strategy, outsourcing, wise civilization, civilization future.

Introduction1

The main purpose of this investigation is to evaluate a question: is there a clash between the Western and Chinese civilizations, and what is the myth and reality of this clash? The spectacular economic development of the Chinese and the concurrent decline of Western civilization provoke many predictions of the near-future world order. So far it seems that the West cooperates with China quite well, since through outsourcing of Western manufacturing, China can employ its large labor force and the Western financial elite benefit tremendously in business, due to cheap labor. However, the question is how long can that kind of cooperation last? It triggered the financial crisis of 2008-2011, due to the shrinking middle class in the West, and furthermore, increasing numbers of employed Chinese workers can buy more and will need to consume more strategic resources which are available in limited volumes on the earth.

Will the current cooperation be replaced by a clash for resources? That kind of question will be investigated in this paper. Also the wisdom-oriented abilities of both civilizations will be evaluated to see which one has better chances to survive a shortage of strategic resources.

The methodology of this investigation is based on the interdisciplinary big-picture view of the world scene, driven by a global economy and civilization, with an attempt to compare both civilizations according to key criteria. A set of conclusions will be provided at the end of this paper, with practical and social implications for eventual implementation.

The Impact of Globalization on Western and Chinese Civilizations in the 21st Century

The development of the modern world began after the fall of Byzantium (1453) and the discovery of America (1492), that is, at the end of the 15th century. In each century since, usually one country has dominated the world. In the 16th century Portugal dominated, in the 17th century Spain was the hegemon, and in the 18th century Great Britain was the leader. At the beginning of the 19th century, the hegemon was France, which was later replaced by Great Britain. In the 20th century Great Britain, Germany, the United States, and to a certain degree Russia competed for the main role in world politics. In the 21st century the U.S. 's domination is fading, and many predict it will be replaced by China.

In the last 500 years, different targets and issues were at stake in world politics. For example, Portugal, Spain, and Great Britain were conquering new territories, with good results. Once the world became richer in the 19th century due to the gains of the Industrial Revolution, at stake were clashing ideologies. The English Revolution (168889) built the foundation for the parliamentary system, the American Revolution (17751783) provided the concept of modern democracy, and the French Revolution (17891 799) created citizenship in France.

The Industrial Revolution (1760-1850-1960) contributed the factory system and industrially manufactured products, financed by capital. It led to accelerated wealth creation and rising inequality among society's members. To solve rising dissatisfaction and poverty, differing ideologies regarding the further development of civilization were at stake. None of those ideologies - capitalism, socialism, and later communism and Nazism - could solve societal problems. Eventually these ideologies led to the Bolshevik Revolution (1917), Spanish Revolution (1936), World War ?, the Cold War (1945-1991), and to the very successful Scientific-Technological Revolution (1945-) and Information Revolution (1980-). …

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