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For a long time, the West shaped the world. That time is over. | Parag Khanna

For a long time, the West shaped the world. That time is over. | Parag Khanna


Our views and our theories about the world,
even about history or the geopolitics of the present, tend to be shaped by the perspectives
of the Western industrial democracies. And that means particularly, not just Western
Europe and the United States and North America, but rather just the U.S. and the U.K. because
of the English language and the role that the English language plays in shaping the
overall global discourse. However, more and more what we’re seeing is
that particularly the U.S. and the U.K. have fallen a bit afoul of the kind of normative
constructs that we tend to think of for a normal country, given the populism that is
gripping both countries politically. In fact, you can’t really speak in a united
way about Western civilization. Canada acts in many ways that are very similar
to Western European. And countries like Germany and France have
a very different political economy, if you will, than certainly the United Kingdom or
the United States because they are the more traditional, social democratic welfare states. So within the West there is the social democratic
welfare of states of Western Europe, and there is the more free market kinds of systems of
the U.S. and the U.K. So not only is the West not unified, and even
if it were, it would still not represent the vast majority of the world’s population. And so another reason why people are more
and more calling into question the wisdom, the sanctity, the universality of the models
of Western economies and politics is because they really don’t speak to the experience
today of 85 percent of the world’s population, which are governed in very, very diverse ways. Now, the Europeanization of the world in the
19th century did spread parliamentary democracy and civil service and some kind of enlightenment
values around the world. And 20th century Americanization also reinforced,
to some degree, the virtues of democracy and entrepreneurialism and so forth. However, still, in this century of Asianization
in the 21st century, there is a rising Asian confidence that they can determine their own
political systems, their own models, adapt them to their own circumstances. So, for example, they are very comfortable
in Asia having a strong role for the state, for the government in the economy, meaning
subsidizing industries, dictating which industries should be short of winners and be given more
support from the government, having more non-tariff barriers and these kinds of restrictions on
foreign investment and so forth to help to steer the economy in a direction that they
consider to be stable and progressive and benefiting the whole country. So that’s something that Asians are familiar
with and comfortable with. And it obviously runs afoul of some traditional
Western norms. That’s one example. There are other examples also about Asians
challenge the Western conventional wisdom and status quo. Many Asian societies, even democratic ones,
have a preference for a technocratic kind of government. So they elect leaders, even in the democracies,
like India or Indonesia and the Philippines, but they want to have a strong executive leader
who has a long-term vision and a real agenda and program for national modernization that’s
going to uplift the whole population. And they give a long leash and trust. Today, some of the most popular leaders in
the world, those with the highest public opinion rankings, are actually Asian leaders. It might be Prime Minister Modi of India or
President Duterte of the Philippines. When the Western industrial democratic populations
look at these leaders, they tend to not think very highly of them. They think of them as people who have a very
illiberal characteristic. Sometimes they’re even described as thuggish. But in these democratic societies of Asia,
they are actually very, very popular because they’re also seen as getting things done. So a strong executive authority who is going
to get things done is something that Asians have a lot of tolerance, a lot of patience
for, if you will. So these are some examples of how the Asian
circumstances and Asian practices and politics today are challenging what we tend to think
of as normal or desirable in terms of political or economic governance. And again, so long as Asians are succeeding,
they will gain ever more confidence that their system is not only right for them, but potentially
a better system, that maybe we should learn from from what they’re doing.

100 comments on “For a long time, the West shaped the world. That time is over. | Parag Khanna

  1. This guy spends time stating the west is fractured then talks about Asians as if they are homogeneous. Asia consists of India which is democratic, China which is communist, along with many other countries in between . This guy is full of shit.

  2. Let’s concentrate as a collective instead of as east or west, north or south!! I’m so tired of this kind of bullshit!! Anyone who sees any one sided view should look inward!!
    I don’t care where I was born I know I was born on planet Earth and I know there are likeminded and forward thinking people on this planet!!
    Do you mean that the eastern influence just stopped creating…if so why did they not hep our planet then?? Is it corruption which is a human flaw everywhere on this planet…

  3. Umm…no. The West will always lead the world. Natirally this Indian moron is going to hype the East. And no the Nordic Model is not democratic socialism. It's a capitalist economy with emphasis on social programs…and they're being withdrawn as we speak. I really despise this leftist propaganda.

  4. Uhhhh yeah… so what he's saying is "Asians want to give even more power to thier govts to get things done". Can't see how this is a good thing, I really can't. I could rattle off a list of unintended consequences that this would cause.

  5. Not to worry – the "East" will get their equivalent version of Democracy where everyone votes (even those who don't actually produce), followed by Western-style Socialism and Feminism, and they'll also fall. Nobody survives Socialism.

  6. So "the West" should just accept illiberal Asian drift and leaders just because they're perceived to be popular?
    What kind of cultural relativism is this?

  7. With this guy's logic we should have accepted Hitler and because he was popular in Germany. Nazism is an equally valid idea to democracy, apparently.

  8. Poor guy, he really has it out for the west. Some deeply rooted issues that need to be addressed. Always bashing on anything that isn't from fucking Asia..

    Where did he come from by the way? Oh wait…

  9. The high intent to migrate to the US and the rest of the west even in this days just make this video hard to believe. XD

  10. Very interesting point of view. Thanks. I've never realized that what is presented as autocracy by media might be simply a preference of a nation for a long-term, instead of short-term plan. I, personally, started to see short-term visions problematic, so perhaps I'll give some effort to study the Asian way of governing, too.

  11. Oh modi has a long term vision? Engaging in dangerous scuffles with Pakistan just for the sake of approval ratings.. I'm not sure about that mate

  12. What? This guy is manufacturing a narrative so that western viewers think they have a superior economic system and liberty.
    There are increasing number of right wing govts all over the world. He is just itching that east is succeeding economically and not willing to obey the hegemony of western institutions.
    And west is what caused world wars and colonisation, not the east.

  13. Five percent of the world population is 375 million people. This doesn't represent the west. Maybe he means US + USA population, which is about 400mln?!

  14. Damn the comment section of this channel is disapointing,for a channel called big think,lots of people here seem to think very narrowy(90% of comments are about him not blinking,bearly anyone is discussing what he actually said).
    I think what he said is for the most part true,I have had some similar observations when I tried to compare western to eastern political systems.
    People in the west(mostly muricans)have been so brain waished by their institutions,that the instantce someone mentions socialism or goverments managing markets in anyway, that isnt just purely negative,they just dislike before even finishing the video.
    Power is shifting from west to east,wether your are looking at economical measurements,like growth and GDP,or wether you are looking at from a technological standpoint like innovations,new tech and ambitious projects,this trend is undeniable and you can find multiple channels talking about this.
    Also I love how shocked americans act when they hear Duerte is considered a good leader by a lot of his people.
    Really you guys are so shocked about this?
    Your nations has systematicly fucked over countless smaller countries ever since the end of WW2,creating chaos and anarchy(the good old divide and conquer mantra by which roman/british/american empires were build on)and you are SOOOOO shocked that when a leader who is willing to risk his own ass for principles he believes in(something which hardly any western politian would ever do)people would actually praise him for that?
    Honestly,in an ideal world we wouldnt need people like him,but we dont live in an ideal world(mostly thanks to the game of thrones superpowers have been playing since the dawn of civilization).

    And btw,if you honestly think that our current state of werstern democracies(which is bought and owned by billion dollar corporations and works exclusively for their interests) is any less authoritarian and "empowering the people" than a lot of those eastern countries with strong "dictatorship" leaders,you are really just kidding yourself.

  15. War is the one who shape and give western technology boost, now the east (asia) has catch up and the world is pretty much in peace
    While west kinda screw themself up, We try to make our own model now

  16. It is the Greek World of Democracy, Philosophy, Science, Art, and Sports.
    Everyone is welcome to participate.

  17. The West still shapes the world, and we will do for the foreseeable future. using China as an example of an independent Asian government is kinda hilarious. considering their entire government is built upon the foundations of a European philosopher aka Karl Marx, and is also based on Russian Stalin-ism, (another European influence.)

    There's really nothing radical going on anywhere. and in the words of one Big Think speaker who's said it before.

    "We have Kung-Fu, we have Pandas, but we could not make a film about Kung-fu Pandas"

    Culture IS influence, and in that regard the west is still light years ahead.

  18. History will repeat itself. It does each and every time. History has always shown that societies that promote knowledge and offer peace has been able to continue making better decisions. While these populist leader has always led their people to astray.

  19. I was on board with the train of thought until it seemed like you were glossing over the atrocities both Modi and Duterte have committed.

  20. I think both the asian and American (not western because that includes Latin America and Europe) political systems have a huge problem and that is extremism (only talking about political views) as he explained countries like India, the Philippines and of course China are very radical in the way they go about the problems, they try to control the people as much as they can and act very aggressively in a non fair way for all their population on the other hand, the american way is more subtle but with the same goals, except when talking about their companies they protect companies more than their population so is the companies the ones that end up making most of the choices and creating an increasing money gap between groups at the expense of the poor. What we need is more equilibrium, in Asia governments should be more restricted about how can they do things and in america, companies should be more restricted on how they can do things but overall we needfor the people to have more power over both and this really applies for the whole world.

  21. 3:13 Sounds like dictator… I would prefer shorter terms maybe two years as the world moves really fast nowadays.

  22. Asia is too yellow! The middle east is to brown! We have to send millions of white and black people over there!

  23. Here, let me make this clear- no, you won't get your way and take over the western world. Come here to "redirect" our thinking and we will end you. There will be no Shariah Law in the US, Canada nor the UK. Nor will Asia become the defacto means of governance. Bottom line is, we don't care nor will give in. This will come to a point of violence if you proceed in that direction-we value and indoctrinate ours as you do yours. Step off or die. Clear enough?

  24. How is the time of the western shaping the world over? We basically created a lot of the models of government/economy that you see in Asia… Obviously Asians are shaping Asian culture at this point, but this is all after the fact that their cultures have been forever changed by the west, and these changes normally fit within the western systems.

  25. Any economic system in its pure sense will eventually collapse under its own weight.
    In order for an economic system to be successful and continue it must have a mix and be flexible to adjust itself when needed if not it will produce poverty and tyranny.

  26. The West isn't as United? The USA alone is a larger organization than the EU – and wtf do you think UNITED in United States means? Our founders didn't use that word flippantly.

  27. Thanks. This was helpful. I have been curious about alternative theories of knowledge to the West. Insights from Daodejing and Buddhism I think challenge Western tradition. I am excited to see the great things to come for us all by expanding upon our understanding. If knowledge, truth, and the good life are what we want then insight is necessary, even if it makes us uncomfortable. We've so much to learn and diversity and critical analysis is key to developing meaningful insight to all things. Comparative philosophy(political philosophy included) is so cool. Idk why a lot of the comments are so salty. People think they've mastered knowledge, and so they lose, again and again. It is disappointing, I can't be free for other people though, I've the responsibility of my own to bear and that burden is heavy enough.

  28. It's still shaping it most Asians whitening their skin and taking up western ideals no denying most people love the west

  29. It will be hard for Westerners to see this, much more to accept this. But it already happening. Trump and Co are the drowning men clutching at straws. Desperate and fearful will try anything….threats, pointing the finger, being obnoxious etc. Goodbye West. Your brief time is coming to an end. Accept gracefully and exit.

  30. Yeah, Us asians are dumb and fall for populist strongmen crooked leaders! Look at what Modi is doing here, are u dumb or what?

  31. Why the dislikes? He's not wrong. Asia is set to have the greatest impact on the 21st century for better or worse.

  32. Err… have you lived and worked in the UK? Also – a few of those ‘democratic’ places are only in namesake – i.e you can vote (making it democratic) but you get persecuted if you join/vote an opposition party to the government. That kinda challenges whether democracy works or not.

  33. Hey Big Think! Could you guys- for once -have a pro-West, pro-Capitalist, pro-Christian, pro-democracy puff piece? Kinda gettin tired of 'edgy'.

  34. Tend to have very high approval like DuTerte.. Not sure you can really discriminate anything useful in terms politics from that one. Very open minded because it's ignorant to think we can't learn from other cultures, and politics is about people so methods of persuasion must be universal to one degree or another. But he shoots people.

  35. THE MAMMONWORSHIPPING CAPITALISTS POWERS TO BE IN THE UNITED STATES HAVE DONE A HALF ASS JOB IN HELPING THERE AMERICAN PEOPLE THEY ARE SLAVED OF THERE MASTER MAMMON

  36. To the powers that are…..上五千年, 西方文明先发展….下五千东方文明进步跟上。
    These words form the agenda for the coming times…..when CN becomes the biggest economy and UN, WB + IMF relocate to Asia !!!

  37. Shar'ia Law, fist fight's in Parliament, assassinations, secret police and military juntas, dictatorships and totalitarian regimes coming to a neighborhood near you! Gee, I can hardly wait!

  38. The West you are talking about never existed you are trying to put europe and the United States in one basket bad move We have been the guiding force for a century now even communst countries have learned you have to have capitlism to compete in a world market all countries try to emulate the US but fail why governments can not compete with free enterprise.. globalism is another word for communism witch is slavery to a government .. you would think hitler and stalin would have taught the world a lesson but no people want to be lead around by the nose …the US has a way of getting rid of bad leaders and regulations … The United States stands alone..THE west you talk about is every one else trying to grab on to her coattails …so what it comes down to is Asia is trying to be the United States

  39. With control of the largest media agencies, large number of sponsored think tanks, they still shape the world narrative.

  40. Great points. Fresh perspective is what we need. However, we should really look into popularising a term for denoting different parts of Asia (the east-east like China, Korea, etc and India, Philippines etc) because we have different social structures and cultures.

  41. Now that the West is fading, where do y’all think the world will fall back to?
    New records for genocide?
    Subsistence farming?
    Cannibalism?
    Hunter-gather?

    Extinction via cannibalism after the last of the megafauna is exterminated?

  42. When I was in Thailand, I saw that the people were very satisfied with their lives and the government, although a king is ruling. So I think that for those countries this kind of systems works very well, while in the western world our democratic system works well (to a certain extent). Each culture, therefore, needs the systems that works best for them. There's no system that works well for everyone.

  43. No shot shirlock Western Europe and North America are nanny state shitholes. Heck add in infrastructure and the USA is a real shithole

  44. Ok this is just like the Jussie Smollet case, this is just bad image for the actual, legitimate practices such as meditation and Philosophies of Zen and so on, that should get its turn in the power grab of influence, shame this Indian man knows so little of his culture and practices…

  45. It's funny to see how people who disagree with the guy's opinions quickly turn to personal attacks on this guy.

  46. Western Civilization
    Has changed all of the world
    200 Million Chinese learn English
    200 Million Americans do not learn Chinese

    All the World
    Is becoming Western

    Evidence ? …Look at your children !

  47. This is a rather flat argumentative video. The west is in decline, yes. Is it this you want to tell us? Or what?

  48. I am assuming he’s saying China and India are doing so well that the west should learn from them? If that’s the case, why the rich of these countries are fleeing and moving to The west? Because they know what’s happening in their own countries are not sustainable

  49. The idea is false. Western civilisation has more to offer to the rest of the world. Mainly the second sexual revolution. Homosexuality, gender fluidity and SJWs.

  50. It's not so long time. Only a few hundred years? China shaped the world for much longer time in the last few thousands years. You are wrong.

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