The Eastern Origins of Western Civilization
The book challenges the idea of Euro centrism. Euro centrism has focused its efforts on the developed countries eventually overlooking the eastern countries which contributed to the world development. This idea insinuates that Europe generated its development and technology internally. Hobson demystifies the idea that the east was passive and inactive in building the world economy. Eurocentric is incognizance of the east contribution to the development of the west. Hobson therefore represents the east in the following manner.
One of the ways eastern region is represented is that it engineered its own economic development in the early days about 500 A.D. The second thing is that it made significant contribution through labor and technologies that helped sustain the world development as well as the global economy. Lastly, eastern countries supported and fuelled the rising of the west through its resources portfolios. This portfolio incorporates institutions, ideas and technologies. This means that the western nations utilized the eastern countries in an attempt of progressing economically, socially and politically. One of the factors that led to the development of western countries is the assimilation of ideological concepts, inventions, and technologies from the eastern people. The second thing that led to the market development was the upsurge of European imperialism that exploited eastern resources such as land, markets, and labor for their own good.
The eastern residents had weak governing body which were not organized enough to protect their properties and natural resources (Hobson 40). Therefore, it was extremely easy for European colonialist to chip into their territories and rule them to an extent where they lost their identity as citizens. They were traded as slaves and worked on the big firms owed by the whites in Europe, Canada and among many other countries in the world. These people formed cheap source of labor to the owners of the farms because they were locally available and did not have vast knowledge of the development going on in the world. The paper will be outlining and deriving at the reasons that resulted to the civilization of western economy, society, and politics as a product of colonies capital outsourcing.
Origin of Civilization
Any civilized society has a history that involved individual steps that helped in the upbringing of the outgrown civilest nation. Each step involves individual’s contribution by the members towards goal achievement that leads to overall performance improvement. The world has been interlinked since time immemorial by the search for goods and services due to the scarcity of resources, which ought to be shared by the world population. European scientist travelled in search of more resources and markets for their products an action that led to the discovery of idle land. Eventually, it created an opportunity for slave trade where the strong men and women from the east would be transported to the west to till the land. Christopher Columbia discovered many things and places in the east where dominant communities resided.
During 1700 A.D major technologies and ideas that led to industrial and agricultural revolution in Europe diffused across the Chinese industrial sector. This intermingling brought about European enlightenment. Consequently, the east and the west had links since 500 A.D which ignited technological advancement in Europe. Imperial appropriation of resources such as labor, market and land enabled the west to rise economically and politically. European identity and agency played a big role in developing the market by incorporating all processes of getting the raw materials into the industries. They risked their life and investments (Hobson 65). On the other hand, people from the east were viewed as being lazy, arbitrary, exotic and irrational because they failed to seizure the opportunities that were available. The western citizens thought that they were rational, advanced, liberal-democratic, proactive, and progressive in their way of doing things, which eventually created the notion about Eurocentric.
European industrial revolution came as a result of three factors that are as follows. One factor was the diffusion of technologies and eastern ideas critical during the medieval period in agriculture revolution. The second factor is the political power and feudalism. The third factor represented the European identity in the global context. Windmill and water-mill, mould board plough, iron horseshoe and animal harnesses characterized industrial revolution during feudalism. Heavy ploughs were used in Africa and Asia before millennium CE which later assimilated to Europe through a process known as oriental globalization.
Industrial technology eventually led to the upsurge of feudal economy where politico-military system was pegged on Europe economic welfare. Structural components were established to manage the resources and the rule of law (Hobson 70). Acquiring the agricultural supplies was an expensive ordeal by the European government thus they needed to use their political power to expropriate these technological tools from the peasants. Steel barrel and gunpowder originated from china. The technology used later diffused to Asia and then to Europe. Ottoman Empire was famous for gunpowder invention and military technologies used in times of war. Hobson explain British inventions as being a tactical experience with the east where they applied individualism to assimilate resources portfolio.
After the Second World War, many countries suffered because of the great destruction that happened. Japan was one of the victims from the Nagasaki and Hiroshima bomb attack. It rebuild it fallen state through help by their neighbors who supplied materials and products that they required. Their strategy was influenced by western civilization because they believed that if they follow the footsteps of Eurocentric, they would leap the benefits of modernization. Their economy was characterized by the maximum use of available land for farming, with great innovation in firm inputs such as fertilizers, quality seeds, irrigation methods and plant varieties.
Economic activities were revived from the state of stagnation to prosperity. All these achievement were led by their democratic leadership that established measures that controlled extreme conditions in the country (Hobson 145). It helped in settling the debt that has been accumulated by the land owners. Agricultural sector supported the upcoming of cities and urban centers by producing enough food to sustain the growing population.
The state encouraged people to settle in towns as a way of finding a solution to the land scarcity problems. Land was increased by this move and maximum usage enabled the country to produce enough food. Commercialization of the agricultural sector intensified business operations inside and outside the country to an extent the country exported food to other countries. Trade ties were established between nation and the Japan government to supply the excess supply, earning the country income that enhanced and drove the economy to greater height it has been able to reach at the present days.
Emergence of Eurocentric
Europe bragged of their achievement from the discoveries made by their own scientists such as Christopher Columbus’s and Vasco da Gama who arrived in Africa and India in the 14th and 15th century. Portuguese emulated the business tactics used by the Islamic empire as they entangled with them in the early days. Europe was credited for facilitating the act of intermingling between the two nations because it felt that it was the contributing body in this situation. It regarded its acts of opening up the market of underdeveloped countries as the key eye opener to all other countries to do business. However, the praise would not fall on one side because there were many contributing factors within the system. Some of them attributed to the technology and resources that were explored in eastern countries.
Men from these nations were versatile in making iron items which were used for various purposes. Chinese followed in navigating the world after some insinuation by their researcher that Africa and other eastern countries presented great opportunity for development (Hobson 200). At this juncture, Europe was regarded as the most superior country in terms of machinery and Army. They had well developed states that were governed through democratic means with rulers who were geared to develop their markets and territories. Portuguese interaction with other countries in Africa and Middle East was guided by their desire to trade. Goods traded included items such as food spices, silver and other valuable materials. Europe was becoming irrelevant in the market with new entry of traders who were vigorous in trade. They tried to put barriers by dominating major routes, which was successful for some time.
Printing in Ancient Times
Printing is the medium through which a person is able to pass message to the other through sharing experience and other encounters in life. Writing stated as a form of transferring knowledge from one generation to the other through preserving it on walls and tomb. Chinese argued that they were the first people to invent writing while European opposed saying that they had discovered writing long before china and Asia engaged in the endeavor. European strived to support the ideas of Eurocentric that opened the door for economic development in the world. This led to a stalemate exchanges between the two countries scholarly writers who intended to outdo each other.
This art of writing seemed to have originated from the Africans, who preserved important events by writing on walls. It spread to the Greeks who on their part used it to demonstrate the effects of war during the Second World War. The scholars wrote about the development and inventions that has happened in all parts of the world. Through the evaluation of these documents, military transformation was possible.
Guns replaced machetes and other obsolete weapons that were used in fighting by different nations (Hobson 230). These items were capable of causing high magnitude damages to properties and people. An example is where gun powder and bombs were used in the Second World War against the Japanese. They lost almost everything in their surrounding; the effects had higher magnitude to an extent that it is being experienced even today. People died while those that remained relocated to other places, which left the place with no inhabitants. Industrialization was made possible by the invention and documentation of the facts about development.
This book is very helpful because it explains the development of superpowers and their civilized society. It does not only give insightful knowledge of the origin of development but also explain the steps through which history unfolded itself. It can be used as a reference book for doing more research into the factors that affects the development agenda in the world and ascertain the history of a particular economy. Imperialism is one of the contributing factors of discrimination and colonialism among the Africans and Asian countries by the British. This is evidence by the way they exploited their skills, competence and technology that is inherent in these communities for their own benefit (Hobson 250). They traded these communities as slaves and excavated their resources for their industries locally and abroad. Labor and resources that were exported implies that local industries in African and countries in Asia would not see the light of the day.
They lacked materials and labor at the same time to carry out their daily chores. It implies that if the east was left on its own, it would probably be amongst the first regions in the world that are most developed. Exploitation and colonization drugged the development potentials that were exhibited by these countries due to their vast in making tools from iron ore. It would also be correct to say that the great resources that were endowed would have led these countries into optimal productivity. They only lacked the knowledge of transforming raw materials into finished products. The writer is very categorical in coming up with a trend that was exhibited in colonies that were under the British rule.
John, M. Hobson. The Eastern origins of Western Civilisation. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2004. Print.