External Relations

Up to now Protestantism has produced 80% of Nobel Prize-winners, 80+% of publications, 90+% of usable inventions.

In a famous book (The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism) Max Weber (1904) commented that, “Only in European civilization have cultural phenomena appeared which have universal significance” (actually I think this is too sweeping – numbering from India, Babylonia – these have universal significance).

It is true though that the great principles of science – Analysis (Greek) and Systematic Experiment (English, especially Francis Bacon) seem to be wholly European.

To be successful in Science and Invention you have to be free to speculate.  Breaking the monopoly of opinion in the 16th century was the Reformation’s great achievement and entrenching that view in Elizabeth’s England, “I seek no window into men’s souls” led on to the English colonies in North America, and the scientific and industrial revolution.

Economics

Modern economics are fundamentally scientifically and technologically based – even the primary industries of farming, fisheries and forestry.

Starting with Japan in 1869, it has been the settled objective of every Asian government to emulate and exceed the West in industrial terms.

Of the many early inventions which originated pre-1500 in the East – particularly in China – paper is a particular instance of something which in the West led on to a communications revolution of awesome proportions – but which in China seemed to stick as a medium mainly for bureaucratic edicts.

Why did China stick so to speak, while the West expanded in so many directions – all interdependent – literature, navigation, science, business, colonies of settlement?

So far as publication is concerned – the absence of an alphabet clearly has inhibited the use first of paper and latterly electronics – to the extent that most if not all of China’s external communications are in English.

But the argument of freedom is persuasive.  Even within the Protestant tradition, more innovation comes from the non-conformist branch than from the structured hierarchies of the Anglican and Lutheran tradition.

Personal freedom has to be contained within a structure of government for modern life to be carried on.  The more values are shared in common – the lighter the structure – “whose service is perfect freedom”.

Of the large Asian countries, only two – India and Japan – can be said to adhere to that balance of freedom and structure which we refer to as democratic government.  And that tradition derives directly from India’s British inheritance, and Japan’s conquest by the Allies in 1945.

The extent to which other large Asian countries will adopt this mode of government is an unknown.  Certainly the concept of the Rule of Law – superior to any individual, “however high thou be, the Law is above you”, is foreign to the Chinese tradition and most Chinese people.

Population

Ultimately values will be determined by numbers – of people and of GNP.  As some large Asian GNPs approach the West’s, numbers of people will tell.

Europe and Asia: Population Changes 1950-1994

A        

 

Europe:

 

 

1950

 

1994

 

Increases

Europe excluding USSR

Millions

 

391

Millions

 

484

Millions

 

93

%

 

24

% per annum

 

0.53

 

Europe overseas1

 

252

 

476

 

224

 

89

 

1.6

Total European Origin

 

643

 

960

 

317

 

49

 

1.0

B

 

Asia:

 

 

1950

 

1994

 

Increases

 

Major developing2

Millions

 

1044

Millions

 

2850

Millions

 

1806

%

 

173

 

% per annum

 

2.5

 

Major developed3

 

103

 

168

 

65

 

63

 

1.2

 

Total Asia Majors

 

 

1147

 

3018

 

1871

 

163

 

2.4

C

 

Turkey

 

21

 

59

 

38

 

180

 

2.6

 

 

1          USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay

2          India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, China, Indonesia, Iran, Philippines, Thailand

3          Japan, South Korea

 

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