The West and the World

By Gilland, Bernard | Contemporary Review, September 1995 | Go to article overview

The West and the World


Gilland, Bernard, Contemporary Review


Barely a half-century after a quarter of Europe's people had died of bubonic plague and the Turks had begun their invasion of the Balkans, West European overseas expansion began with the conquest of Ceuta by the Portuguese in 1415. As the nineteenth-century Swiss historian Jacob Burckhardt commented: `There seems to be a total life of humanity which makes losses good. Thus it is not certain, yet it appears to us probable, that the retreat of culture from the eastern half of the Mediterranean in the fifteenth century was made good, spiritually and materially, by the expansion overseas of the peoples of Western Europe. The accent of the world shifted'.

In the course of the following four centuries Portugal, Spain, England, France and the Netherlands competed for supremacy, and their ocean-going sailing ships and naval cannon enabled them to establish colonies in the Americas, Africa and Asia. The scientific revolution of the 16th and 17th centuries paved the way for the industrial revolution, which began with the mechanization of textile production in England in the 1770s.

Growth in coal, iron and steel production and the replacement of draught animals and sails by railways and steamships went hand in hand with a rapid increase in manufacturing from 1830 onwards, first in Britain, then in France, Belgium, Germany and the United States. Europe reached its zenith (relative to the rest of the world) in 1870-1914; this period saw the advent of chemical industry (including Haber-Bosch ammonia synthesis, later to prove the most important technological innovation of the 20th century), electric power, ferro-concrete, the internal combustion engine, the automobile, the telephone, the cinema and aviation.

Despite the immense human and material losses of the 1914-18 war, economic growth continued until 1929, when the Wall Street stock-market collapse triggered a depression that persisted until the production of munitions caused a resumption of growth in the United States in 1941. By the early 1950s, the United States had developed into what J. K. Galbraith termed `the affluent society'. Western Europe recovered rapidly from the effects of the 193945 war, and the high rate of economic growth that prevailed from 1958 onwards resulted in the achievement of affluence in the early 1970s. Japan, which began to industrialize in the 1870s, achieved affluence in the early 1980s. Economic growth continues today under the impetus of electronics, telecommunications, bioengineering and other technologies.

The affluent industrialized countries comprise the United States, Canada, Western Europe (excepting Greece and Portugal), Japan, Australia, New Zealand. Hong Kong. Israel, Singapore and Taiwan. These countries have 15 per cent of the world's population.

A number of countries have achieved a moderate to high degree of industrialization. but have not yet attained affluence. They include most of the East European countries, Russia, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, South Korea, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Mexico, Uruguay, Venezuela and South Africa. This group of countries accounts for 13 per cent of the world's population.

A few countries have attained affluence without industrializing. They include Bahrain, Brunei, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. These countries, which are almost entirely dependent on oil exports for their revenues, account for 0.4 per cent of the world's population.

In the remaining countries of the world, industrialization is at an early stage or has not even begun. Will affluence gradually spread over the entire world, or will it remain confined to a minority of the world's people? Can economic growth continue indefinitely, or will resource constraints bring it to an end? Let us start by considering the following statement by an anonymous reviewer in the Times Literary Supplement: `In its struggles to survive [this species] has experimented with many social forms, all of them cruel, violent, superstitious and totally odious to all save a small elite -- and even they suffered hell from toothache, the stone, cancer, and similar benefits of the natural order. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

The West and the World
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.