Civilization: Is the West History?

Civilization: Is the West History?Niall Ferguson asks why it was that Western civilization, from inauspicious roots in the 15th century, came to dominate the rest of the world; and if the West is about to be overtaken by the rest.

Ferguson reveals the killer apps of the West's success - competition, science, the property owning democracy, modern medicine, the consumer society and the Protestant work ethic - the real explanation of how, for five centuries, a clear minority of mankind managed to secure the lion's share of the earth's resources.

1. Competition. The first programme in the series begins in 1420 when Ming China had a credible claim to be the most advanced civilization in the world: 'All Under Heaven'. England on the eve of the Wars of the Roses would have seemed quite primitive by contrast.

2. Science. In 1683 the Ottoman army laid siege to Vienna, the capital of Europe's most powerful empire. Domination of West by East was an alarmingly plausible scenario. But Islam was defeated: not so much by firepower as by science.

3. Property. Professor Ferguson asks why North America succeeded while South America for so many centuries lagged behind. The two had much in common (not least the subjugation of indigenous peoples and the use of slavery by European immigrants), but they differed profoundly on individual property rights, the rule of law and representative government.

4. Medicine. The French Empire consciously set out to civilize West Africa by improving public health as well as building a modern infrastructure. Yet in other European empires - notably Germany's in southwest Africa - colonial rule led to genocide. What was the link from medical science to racial pseudo-science?

5. Consumerism. Today the world is becoming more homogenous and, with increasingly few exceptions, big-name brands dominate main streets, high streets and shopping malls all over the globe.

6. Work. The sixth element that enabled the West to dominate the rest was the work ethic. Max Weber famously linked it to Protestantism, but the reality is that any culture, regardless of religion, is capable of embracing the spirit of capitalism by working hard, saving, and accumulating capital.

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179 Comments / User Reviews

  1. DeeJay Pickles

    another broken link, apparently channel 4 have blocked the uk from watching this via non 4od links :(
    for goodness sake.

  2. 0zyxcba1

    that is a pity,
    it works fine this side
    maybe you could find a forum and learn what to do about it from others who have experienced the same problem.

    I've heard about this a lot, so it's not just a fluke.

  3. DeeJay Pickles

    that's very kind. Thanks a lot I appreciate that!

  4. wald0

    Cool concept, very valid questions, but boring beyond belief for some reason. Maybe it just my mood, I'll try again later. Maybe I am legitimately sleepy and should take a nap, I can't seem to stay awake past the first thirty minutes or so.

    I would definitely say that the West is in decline while parts of the East are pushing forward with amazing speed. However, from what I can see they are basing their expansion on the same capitalistic practices and ideologies that the West is now paying dearly for. It appears that neither absolute socialism nor absolute capitalism will ever work in the long term. Instead we need to let go of all ideologies and realize each situation must be approached uniquely. No one ideology will ever cover every possible scenario. There must be a balance between compassion versus progress, between the whole and the individual that composes it, the means must never destroy the end they are supposed to accomplish. The same can be said for the balance between science and spirituality. Science should be a means to the deeper spiritual questions man has always pursued, it should never completely destroy the concept of spirituality. This is a balance I find difficult to manage myself, no one ever said it was easy I suppose.

  5. magarac

    Is it not so that the east and other country´s are simply catching up rather than being "better" than the west.

  6. misterwong

    Interesting but paradoxically,this did plod along.I saw a doc on this site "Guns Germs,and Steel"that also investigates the factors of Western global domination beginning with the Age of Exploration .Conquistadores,the exploitation of indiginous peoples and their resources. The roots of agricultural and technical advantages of western civilization begins in Mesapotamia and Egypt.Fascinating,but don't expect a thrill ride

  7. Guest

    "Islam was defeated"???
    Hahaha. How oversimplistic it is to say that. Its like saying christianity, atheism and satanism was "defeated" when allmighty america lost its capitalistic war to a bunch of vietnamese communistic farmers :D

  8. phillip wong

    This guy, like so many commentators is an idiot. Countries like Taiwan, Korea, Japan, singapore are all examples of Asia dominating European, and American firms in their own markets. We do it not by some work ethics imported by some stupid western work ethic. We do it because hard work is deep within our culture, and genetics from our history.

  9. wald0

    I don't claim to know you but, there is a definite thread of anger and hatred that permeates every post I have read from you. We get it, you hate America and the west. Maybe you shouldn't let that hatred define you so much. Is that what America stands for to you "Christianity, Atheism, and Satanism"? That's silly!!

    When they say Islam was defeated they simply mean Christianity became the dominate religion in the new world of the west, not that Islam was destroyed or that people stopped practicing it. Can I ask you something? What is it you want to happen? I mean you are obviously angry with the west and Christianity, America in particular. Would you like to see all those that hold western values and practice Christianity dead, even those that opposed the aggressive war mongering tactics of their country? Do you want the west to simply go home and leave the East alone, and visa versa? Should the east be allowed to exact some kind of revenge from the west for the bad things we did, if so what-exactly. Surely if it was wrong for America to do the things we have done it is also wrong for others to wish they could do those things to us.

    I'm just trying to understand because if we remain angry at each other, if we refuse to let things stop at some point and say o.k. we are moving forward from here, then it will never stop. I don't think it is possible any longer for each culture to isolate itself, for us to just leave each other alone I mean. Resources are to thin and common threats must be dealt with, we have to interact some how. Our destinies are to either to unite in some way to explore alternative energy sources and more efficient means of living on this planet as well as outer space, or to destroy one another in a scramble for resources at the bitter end. For the latter to happen we need do nothing different, we are headed that way full steam ahead already. For the former to happen we, ordinary people like me and you that have completely opposite views, must learn to see each other in a new light. I have just as much work to do as yourself if that is to happen, I wish us both luck. Everything that we know depends on it in the long run!!

  10. SillyWillyOneNut

    An error occurred, please try again later.

    Why do I get this message, when yee all do not !

  11. Šar?nas Šimkus

    It seems to be just a plain propaganda of capitalism and western "culture".

  12. Eniki520

    has absolute socialism ever even been tried? Because the east(china and India) are far from absolute socialism.

  13. Eniki520

    What are you talking about? i didnt even see the post that says islam was defeated. and if Judaism and Christianity are a part of western culture then so is Islam, since it is an Abrahamic off shoot.

  14. Guest

    @ wald0
    "We get it, you hate America and the west. Maybe you shouldn't let that hatred define you so much."
    Bro, I already live in the west (Norway). And no, I dont hate living here, just because of the culture or people. I hate what west is doing in the east and other parts of the world. Why not get ur outnumbered armies out of muslim countries, and let us (muslims) live in our "own" ways? Is it necessary to teach hate against islam and muslims in the media, while allowing mass immigration of muslims to the west at the same time?

    "Is that what America stands for to you "Christianity, Atheism, and Satanism"? That's silly!!"
    Ofcourse not, I just gave an example. Problem in the west is that they oversimplify actions taken by different muslim nations and ethnicities to be a byproduct of religion islam, but they donot look at their own self this way. Muslim countries do fight against each other (Iran, Iraq, Kuwait wars in the past). So to say all muslims are somehow united and "only" take actions via islamic ideology is rubbish..

    "When they say Islam was defeated they simply mean Christianity became the dominate religion in the new world of the west, not that Islam was destroyed or that people stopped practicing it."
    O, really? It would be less bias and more logical to just say: Ottoman armies were defeated. But no, these westeners had to write history in there own hegemonic way: Islam was defeated sounds alot more fun, then to say ottomans were defeated :D

    "Can I ask you something? What is it you want to happen? I mean you are obviously angry with the west and Christianity, America in particular. Would you like to see all those that hold western values and practice Christianity dead, even those that opposed the aggressive war mongering tactics of their country?"
    I dont want anybody dead. I only want every human in this world to live in peace in their respective nations without fearing worlds police (USA) on their shoulders each and every year.

    "Do you want the west to simply go home and leave the East alone, and visa versa? Should the east be allowed to exact some kind of revenge from the west for the bad things we did, if so what-exactly. Surely if it was wrong for America to do the things we have done it is also wrong for others to wish they could do those things to us."
    Yes, west should go home and fix its bankrupt economy. Start its dead industry, employ its people, create higher standards of living for its diminishing middle class, give its people higher wages which are constantly falling since 70's (in the US). And donot rely on crap products from China, or India, instead get back that stolen cheap paid industry to what it was: high paid industry. East donot need u besides ur techical and economical support. No more military interventions, no more political coups and conspiracies. Let us be alone for Gods sake!

    "I'm just trying to understand because if we remain angry at each other, if we refuse to let things stop at some point and say o.k. we are moving forward from here, then it will never stop. I don't think it is possible any longer for each culture to isolate itself, for us to just leave each other alone I mean."
    There is ur problem. U cannot allow other cultures to cultivate in peace and harmony, just because u are only after its precious natural resources (oil, gas, minerals, metalls). Why do u think allies went to Iraq, Afghanistan or Libya? Are they gonna "built" democracy there by "force"? Enforced democracy? Ever heard of it? :D

    "Resources are to thin and common threats must be dealt with, we have to interact some how. Our destinies are to either to unite in some way to explore alternative energy sources and more efficient means of living on this planet as well as outer space, or to destroy one another in a scramble for resources at the bitter end. For the latter to happen we need do nothing different, we are headed that way full steam ahead already. For the former to happen we, ordinary people like me and you that have completely opposite views, must learn to see each other in a new light. I have just as much work to do as yourself if that is to happen, I wish us both luck. Everything that we know depends on it in the long run!!"
    Yes, ofcourse, after ww2, almost all wars were only and only fought for the depleting earths resources. Where deals could be made (saudis and emirates), things went well, where deals were rejected (qaddafi, saddam, taliban) west gotta take their resources "by force". Ofcourse we can unite the way saudis did, but then we gotta be eternal slaves of the almighty western bankers. :)

  15. Michael Last

    It bothers me that he keeps saying APP. That word doesn't belong in a history series.

  16. Luyang Han

    This doc gives a very subjective explanation of 'have' and 'have-not'. I suggest to watch or read the 'Gun Germ and Steel' from J. Diamond. His point is more objective.

  17. wald0

    That's funny, I never picked up on any judgement as to which culture was better, more just or moral. I am not saying it isn't there or that you are wrong, just that i didn't notice. I think we all could learn a lesson from China. China decided instead of having enemies in the world it would learn from everyone, take the good from each culture and learn to emulate it. They took a little socialism from here, a little capitalism from there, eastern spirituality from their own past, the scientific attitude of the secular west, etc. The result is that they are poised to be one of the most successful countries in the future. The rest of the globe seems to be so convinced of their own perfection that they see propaganda even in simple history. Whether it was moral or just the west has dominated the globe for sometime now. This documentary explains how they did this, not whether it was right or not.

  18. magarac

    Wonder where you got your reply from???
    But i don´t think any religion could ever be "defeated".
    They´re nothing more than ideas happening in peoples heads.
    So for as long as you believe in islam or for that matter any religion you like, it will always work for you.

  19. wald0

    You know I really don't know the answer to that question. I assumed it had but I may be wrong. I doubt it would work even if it had though. Absolute socialism sacrifices the individual to the masses, which will never work. Individuals compose the masses, it would be like destroying the concept of tree in order to save the concept of forest, its a logical paradox. The same can be said for the state and the individual, the individual composes the state- so the state must have individuals. But, the state protects and provides for the well being of the individual, and so the individual needs the state as well. This is why a mixture of capitalism and socialism seem to work well in my opinion. You have the freedom and open opportunity that allows individuals to shine and gives them motivation to try harder so they may build up themselves and the state, but you also have the collectivism and compassion that allows the state to help build the individual. Many of these less fortunate will eventually re-enter the work place and contribute to the state again, instead of becoming a drag on the collective. It also allows the elderly to have a more rich and secure retirement in an age where businesses no longer cares to provide this service and one accident or serious illness can destroy a life time of work and dedication.

  20. Eniki520

    @wald0
    i dunno, but it works for ants. the Spartans would be the closest i could think and they not Athens were the powerhouse of Greece for most of its history. Athens only thrived for about a 100 years. but socialists Sparta lasted.

  21. Clix (????)

    Competition = Guns
    Science = The ability to make better guns
    Property = Robbing non-western locales blind of their resources
    Medicine = A carrot used when the guns are not as effective
    Consumerism = The machination used to keep the western populous war ready for the fear of losing what they never needed to begin with
    Work = The unparalleled desire to wage perpetual war

    My addition:

    Religion = Another carrot to get a foot in while holding the gun behind the back
    Greed = The ability to be entirely self-centered regardless of the destruction such behavior dealt to non-westerners

    We're all better off the west and its treacherous ways are becoming history. All human beings are better learned and evolved individuals as a result of it, and we're ready to concur our next shortcoming.

  22. adilrye

    Well not, objective in the sense that he actively ignores culture and politics in any decisions. I'm not saying that Ferguson is right, but Diamond has a perspective of his own as well. There really is no such thing as objectivity with things like this.

  23. adilrye

    Everyone is entitled to their own viewpoint. While Jared Diamond rejects the superiority of one civilization or people, Niall seems to celebrate it. In the end, their is no objective truth, it's all a matter of perspective. I take such a diplomatic approach because I know this is a touchy subject, for a son of the British colonialism, it does pinch a nerve in some aspects, I won't lie. But in the end, how wrong is he? How right is Diamond?

    Let's just take it as it is, one man's perspective.

    If there's one thing I definitely disagree with, it's the 500 YEARS number he keeps throwing around. Sure, the Americas and West Africa were certainly subjugated from the 16th - 18th century, but it really wasn't until the late 18th century that Asia, fell behind, no? I mean, technically, Mughal India and China were the largest economies in the world until the 1830's.

  24. melloyeyo

    It seems as if Civilization is Imperialism!!!
    Thanks for saving me the writing, and doing it better than I would. I love England-made docs, but this documentaries gave me nausea. The third part is just nonsense and almost childish. I can't believe how wrong everything was analyzed. I'm a PHD in Caribbean and Latin-American History, I can't explain how sad watching this was for me. And the poor places and people they chose to show in order to prove their point, gives me a clear idea of what king of "historian" wrote it.
    In conclusion,about that Property section, the big difference between English colonies and the Spaniard ones, is that most of the Amerindians of the English territories were swept away and killed. They were not "more violent" than the Incas. Are they still using that excuse in 2011? The history of the Amerindians of the English isles on the Caribbean doesn't even exist, nor museums, nor survivors, nor any ethnic trace of them... not one. And believe me, they were full of people.

  25. adilrye

    He is not saying that it an exclusive Western idea. It is also a very significant part of Confucian teachings as well; what he's saying is that at the time that the Protestant Work Ethic was born, East Asia was already deep in stagnation.

    I have no idea where you got the idea that work ethic was ever believed to be exclusive of Westerners. In fact, looking now, even most "white" people would agree Asians have a work ethic that is unbelievable, in general.

  26. Theanarchaist

    Why does he seems so arrogant at times?...

  27. Theanarchaist

    Agreed phillip

  28. avd420

    I can't hear you over that sheet covering your face.

  29. Hansi Mann

    What makes you think that what will follow Western supremacy will be any better than the last 500 years???

  30. Hansi Mann

    What makes you think that what will follow Western supremacy will be any better than the last 500 years???

  31. Frank Edelstein

    Niall is impressive and compelling. But his Sino centric sycophancy is overwhelming and distorts many of the facts. The printing press and gun powder were indeed Chinese and indisputably so.

    The facts about clocks mechanical clocks is one example of his distortions and his convenient omission of the truth. The Indians did so as they did with observatories to observe the celestial worlds and stars through. But apart from that yes China is great, was great and will be great. No need to Kow Tow though.

    David Kallnebach

  32. Clix (????)

    I don't think I made any implication what will follow is better. I think you're reading what is not there. However, I did state that humanity is better informed as a result of this experience and is ready for the next one.

  33. Jack1952

    He didn't say that the West had a stronger work ethic. He did suggest that the West used that work ethic in conjunction with science, political innovation and a spirit of competition to dominate the world. To give an example. Two men decide to dig a ditch. One brings a shovel and starts his project. The other finds a back hoe and also starts digging. They both work hard for sixteen hours, but at the end of the day, one ditch is hardly started while the other is finished. Hard work achieving significantly different results.

  34. Jack1952

    @ arifkarim
    In your comment to Wald0 you say that you live in the West and yet you want the west to leave "us" alone. You are no longer live in the East and can no longer claim to be a member of "us". You work to support the Western autocracy you hate, and pay taxes to a government who you say subjugates "us". Whether you like it or not, you have chosen to live in the West and are now the enemy of your so called "us".
    I do agree with your comment about the Ottoman empire. The Ottomans may have been Muslim but their empire expanded mostly because of a desire for power and riches. They are in no way the representative of Islam and should not be perceived as such.

  35. Matt Kukowski

    I agree with most of the previous comments below. I think many of us have become skeptical that Civilization IS civilization at all.

    I think we have a LONG way to go before we are Civil. To be civil means to not kill each other... well nothing but war and destruction of earth's surface is all that 'Civil' people's thus far have done.

    So, in my view Civilization has not occurred yet. ( maybe it was in the North American Indians until the Europeans came... they were in harmony for 1000's of years with the land and VERY giving when the White people first came, they did not know any better ... )

    I think it is safe to say that another WW 3 is coming with Obama and NATO leading the charge.

    I think that our culture is one of MORE and MORE and Greed, (had as many children as you can pop out and have them all consume as much as possible )

    When that runs out you start a war to gain more land/resources. This is BUILT INTO our culture. We can not see the forest for the trees that we ARE corrupted war like and sick people.

    We try to offset this with technology, movies and good humor... but when it comes down to it blood and death eventually comes. This is not good. I do not see this changing until we are wiped out to start a new Species.

    You only have to look at history to know this.

  36. OwenS

    Per the Native Americans--some absolutely were generous and peace-loving and welcoming. AFAIK, most hunter-gatherer non-agricultural societies are on the whole less warlike. But some Native American cultures were amazingly warlike, violent, cruel; torturing, making war and taking slaves. Think of the Aztecs, for example. 20,000 human sacrifices per year is pretty horrendous.

  37. You Do Not See Me

    Everything is connected to Africa! But notice the conquers always fall in the end taking from the Mother gets you no where. Is America next! I don't want o root for my countries demises but it is accurate that all "great" civilizations, empires, countries FALL!

  38. Clix (????)

    'Cause you're a nut! Sorry, couldn't resist!

  39. Clix (????)

    I have been reading your comments for a while now (even liking them sometimes), and it just occurred to me why it is difficult to engage you on any substantive debate. You straddle the middle like a crack ho hurting for a fix. You're like the proverbial 'where is waldo'. I am not saying take a rigid side, but at least stand for something. Even a compromised politician takes a side in the primaries until they start straddling the middle in the final stretch to win votes from wishy washy straddlers like you.

    China is not winning the domination war from borrowing ideologies from east and west. They're doing so by providing abundant resource (human) to greedy western corporations. You also state that that you don't pick up on any judgement from what is implied in this film. What do you make of the notion, 'how the west beat the rest?' After all, 'competition' is the name of the game, right? If so, how did the 'west beat the rest'? To see my position, read my comment further up on this thread. To answer your straddling position of whether it is moral or not, consider the occupation of Iraq and the unfolding events in Libya and west Africa if they're worth your precious consumerism in the west.

    It's not hard to to be moral, if you're only willing to view things outside of your immediate self-interest.

  40. SillyWillyOneNut

    Huh ? Why would you say this, are you stable ? The reason why, and thanks Vlatko is simply because our vid-players are not up to date,. or the IP will not allow certain copyrighted material to play for viewers in this country. So Clix, try to find a better way to voice your comments,.. Troll !

  41. Clix (????)

    Lighten up, will ya? Look at your handle.

  42. Sigurður Eysteinsson

    OMG this is simplistic. Interesting but simplistic. Competition.. yes, propertyrights.. yes, freedom to pursue your interest with out overburdening government, bureaucracy, self protecting oligarchy and taxes .. yes, protestant work ethic... I don't think so.. he is totally missing what's going wrong in the west today!

  43. alans

    Nothing lasts, everything always changes.

  44. adilrye

    I do agree somewhat. But he gives the basis for his ideas and does in a way expand on them, given the limitations of the format it's presented in.

  45. SillyWillyOneNut

    See this is the problem with trolls like you, you show up and start posting immediate and intentional childish comments,.. not meaning to actually discuss the documentary, but rather simply to insight a reaction from people that you don't know. The way to make friends here is to be curtious to others, and not inflammatory and disrespectful within your remarks. Use your right to speak your mind, this is an excellent forum that offers everyone a chance.

    Your actions thus earn you Troll status. I am however guilty of breaking the 'don't feed the Trolls rule'

  46. jaw111

    Medicine = Allowed Europeans to survive Africa's (aka Dark Continent) diseases in order to colonize it.

  47. jaw111

    Europe's fragmented geography gave rise to very violent and competitive war-like societies that compete to out-do each other, but vented their continental tensions upon the world. When global closure (ie. world had been conquered), the Europeans focused their attention at each other, then WW1/WW2 happened, then while Europe was in shambles, another Cold war happened....

    War-like traditions of European Western tradition continue to this day, with U.S. 700 bases straddled across the globe like the Colossus of Rhodes, bombing no less than than four (4) third world muslim countries in the last 10 years alone... carrying the mythical "white man's burden" to civilize the world... haha. what a bunch of BS.

  48. Clix (????)

    Get a life! Click on my avatar and look at my history here. It's more extensive than yours.

  49. avd420

    I agree. If Russia or China or any of those countries in the middle east became the worlds dominate culture things would have gone sooooooooooo much better.

  50. SillyWillyOneNut

    Like I said Troll,.. and your history clearly shows that you haven't learned a thing, and now I'm all out of doggie biscuits.

  51. hoot holler

    Bahahaha! What exactly is this statement based on? I'll save you the trouble of replying: nothing.

  52. adilrye

    Uh, avd...what did he REALLY say that was wrong? He's pretty much spot on...European empires decided to fight across the world until there was nowhere else to AND then they finally collapsed in the early 20th century. Violent competition drove European growth, yes, but also helped sowed the seeds for destruction of empire.

  53. Jack1952

    Naive statement about the Amerindians. The Iroquois Federation was formed mainly as military protection against its numerous enemies. When Champlain showed the Algonquins his rifles the first thing they wanted to do was go to the land of the Iroquois and kick some butt. The Aztecs and Incas had large empires acquired through warfare.

    People have been predicting ww3 since ww2 ended. Quite often the current president of the United States was to be aggressor. Hasn't happened yet. No real reason to believe it will unless one has a pessimistic outlook.

    Western culture has a negative birth rate. These are the greedy cultures that you criticize. The population growths have come from the exploited 3rd world nations, in spite of Western pressure on their governments to try to enact policies to cut back on birth rates. Western corporation don't need the people of those exploited countries near as much as they need their resources.

    Cheer up a little. What will be will be. I just hope your not too disappointed when your dire predictions don't materialize.

  54. avd420

    The BS comment is what he said wrong, and it's general tone is condesending, and to hoot holler, you do know my comment was meant to be sarcastic right?

  55. Jack1952

    It seems no one from the west can examine the history of the west without it being called propaganda. Most of what the film says is true. European expansion happened. They didn't make it up. Its why they are hated so much in parts of the world and deservedly so. People have to be able to talk about it including those who came from the Imperialistic countries. If this film had used these facts to argue and justify a continuation of European expansion you would have a point. All it does is examine that period and offer suggestions why the Europeans could be so successful in what they had set out to do. I can understand why you don't like what the Europeans did, but not why you dislike any discussion about it.

  56. Hansi Mann

    So, in my view Civilization has not occurred yet. ( maybe it was in the North American Indians until the Europeans came... they were in harmony for 1000's of years with the land and VERY giving when the White people first came, they did not know any better ... ) --

    Man is this a foolish notion: look at the historical record of the native peoples of N. America: the Hurons were wiped out by the Algonquins. Tribes killed each other off whenever they came into conflict. Talk to Indians today: they still hate each other along tribal lines. Stop romanticizing aboriginals. They're no different and to think so is CONDESCENDING.

  57. David Foster

    I couldn't have said it better!!

  58. David Foster

    You overlook one crucial aspect. These civilizations were inherently volatile, and most eventually fell to their own over-expansion (those who were not slaughtered by the Spanish, anyway).

    ALL nations are opportunistic. Always have been; always will be. The west only dominates NOW, because, #1, it has accumulated the most spoils; and, #2, it has invested the most resources into achieving hegemony. It won't last forever. A bigger bully will come along eventually.

    FWIW, the Aztecs looked at the Spanish with equal disgust. Sacrifice was acceptable to their gods. Slaughter for the acquisition of resources was not. Today, we probably kill 20,000 Afghanis a year, in preservation of the American way. Horrendous is as horrendous does.

  59. avd420

    You make some great point and have some good insights. Keep in mind though the Natives fought wars with one another, had empires with daily ritual slaughter, and caused the exstinction of most of North Americas big game, so they weren't so civil maybe?

  60. Kateye70

    "There must be a balance between compassion versus progress, between the whole and the individual that composes it, the means must never destroy the end they are supposed to accomplish."

    Well said!

  61. Guest

    I got to think; The US GOV. knows that a WW3 could very well be on it's way, they know that they are involved as the "key player" and they want to make sure it doesn't happen on US soil. War is ok as long as it is abroad (to them).
    This war would be "started" in Iran, Syria or Lybia....it will depend on who is the supporter of who, in who's back.
    Let's hope WE wake up before this happens, US citizen can make a change and us with them, not the governements!
    It is not the citizens of the world that want a war, our men are just pegs in a game of control, those same men and women can put their guns down and say NO i won't fight....who will take the guns?
    Presidents? Lawyers? Bankers?
    az

  62. David Foster

    You imply that arifkarim has a choice of whether or not to comply.

    I live in the "west", and I equally despise "western ways". And yet, every so often I show up at the gas pump, hoping to fuel my twenty-year-old gas-guzzler, which I use to transport my imported groceries from the nearest Walmart, to our 135 year old house, which doesn't have enough yard surrounding it to grow enough food to sustain us; and even if it did, is not "ours to do with as we please" (even tough we pay taxes on it).

    So, would you also tell me that I have the same "choice"? Because, what I do, day in and day out --which is to go out into the world and collect 'money', which I could technically give a shit less about-- is both a conscious effort on my part to feed my face, and to keep the thief (my government) away from my doorstep!

    This is what most Americans do... We hide our heads in silly little video games, social networking sites, amusement parks, shopping malls, or whatever.. because we understand the alternatives. Have you ever been kicked in the face repeatedly, only to have a judge order you to pay for the boots you were careless enough to bleed on? I have!

    Such is America: The Land of the Free, and the Home of the Brave!

  63. David Foster

    Herman Melville gives a fair glimpse of it in many of his novels; though, his accounts are said to be somewhat exaggerated.

  64. Andreas Luneborg

    Very good series.

  65. Phillip Galinsky

    I don't dispute the historical accuracy of what I've seen here, what I'm questioning is the value of the content of this series for the advancement of scientific knowledge through the appreciation of historical scientific progress, something which seems to be held in high regard by the creators of these episodes, but may in fact be harmed by the divisive nature of the narration of the series.

  66. Phillip Galinsky

    I've only watched the first two episodes of this series so far, but I believe that I've detected a distinctive west versus east attitude in the script and general presentation of this series. Have you formed a similar impression?

    More importantly, do you believe that presenting rationality as a largely western phenomena that must be defended against eastern religiosity is an efficient way of promoting intellectual progress? Is the assertion (explicit or implicit) that "the west has contributed more then the east to scientific progress" a useful or helpful tool for advancing scientifically verified knowledge?

    It's generally a bad idea to comment on something that you haven't fully experienced (such as a documentary series that you haven't finished,) but I have to get up early tomorrow...

  67. Phillip Galinsky

    If you really believe this, please explain why.

  68. Clix (????)

    Get out more...then you wouldn't think this is important enough to be bent out of shape about. Sad creature.

  69. sparuga

    Great idea for documentary, but It is just an idea. One sided view and typical british-american bs. He said that he lived in Berlin at the end of 80's, if it is true he didn't learn much. I grew up in Yugoslavia, a country far from perfect, but free in many ways, a true bridge east to west. And one more thing- apps? Why apps? That kind of trendy and simplified presentation puts me off.

  70. sparuga

    Well it is a great idea for documentary, but it is just an idea. He didn't learn much in Berlin obviously. i grew up in Jugoslavija which was country far from perfect, but it was a true bridge west to east, we were on both sides of iron curtain. I don't like that "app" trendy presentation adn narrow "western" view on things. Pozdrav Danijeli u Trvižu.

  71. Man Kind

    "The alternating current king Thomas Edison" That is absolutely wrong Edison was against alternating not only did it threaten is business of DC he hated the inventor of AC and the real pro pant Nikola Tesla. wtf Neil u dropped the ball on that one

  72. Paul Nelligan

    um, the benefits conferred on less civilized countries by european countries, is he mad ??

  73. kijunshi

    I don't usually comment, but I've watched this whole thing and I both enjoyed it/was entertained by it, and was genuinely offended - to the point of thinking the creation of this show was societally irresponsible - by a few aspects of his arguments-slash-personal-opinions-mentioned-alongside-his-historical-facts. A brief (okay, it was meant to be brief...) summary of those:

    1. The repeated assertion that "colonialism had some good points, too!" Okay, perhaps not something to be denied right out of the gate... but what does he give as an example? Medical developments?? Let's be clear here - those medical developments were designed by colonizing white people to be used... FOR THE BENEFIT OF WHITE PEOPLE. The fact that African lives occasionally got saved by them was nothing more than a byproduct of science making human life better. Sure, not everything about colonialism was bad - just 94%! /sarcasm

    ALSO (dammit) I just don't think it's appropriate for a British person, or really a European person, to stand in front of a camera on a television show aimed at kids and argue that "Colonialism had some good points, too!" Not without an appropriate - yes, APPROPRIATE - level of shame at the unspeakable horrors that were unleashed upon the peoples of the globe for the sole reason of European greed, and their refusal to acknowledge native inhabitants as human beings. I understand why, in the face of this crushing and nearly unspeakable moral culpability, a British person would want to weasel out of it, to make excuses for it, the same way white Americans make excuses for American slavery. I've been to Britain and heard these arguments myself. But this is cowardice, utter and base cowardice. I can't believe the BBC would fund that.

    Oh, and before anyone comments, I do happen to be a white person from a country that committed colonialization. I just happen to be able to own that. Unlike this host.

    I'm going to continue my arguments in another comment....

  74. kijunshi

    2. What the hell is this man's obsession with headscarves? Doesn't he know that the more people in authority freak out about something, the more attractive it is to the populace to rebel against it? Particularly since it is ENTIRELY true that the only real reason behind objection to a cute, flowery headscarf is the deep-seated belief that Islam is a monstrous thing that will eat our babies?

    Islam isn't going to vanish if we ban the things - it will just go underground, in forms where it no longer has to defend itself to mainstream society. The way to make Islam and the Islamic peoples into good global citizens is not to shame them for their faith, that's just stupid. It's to let them evaluate their faith and culture against a mirror of the benefits of Western society, by close contact and participation with it, and let them decide for themselves how they will adapt their faith to the modern society.

    Just... how on earth is the fact of stores selling cute, flowery, endless selections of headscarves not a clear sign of the total victory of Western capitalism and female choice versus the authoritarian hierarchical structures of radical Islam? I was so goddamn happy to see those stores. Seriously, what the hell is this man's problem?!?

    Still one more point to go...

  75. kijunshi

    3. He thinks the Chinese rise is related to, uh, Christianity? How racist and simplistic an association is *that*? It couldn't be that the Chinese culture has put great value in hard work since ancient times, as proved by the culture of the gaokao and it couldn't be that Chinese people have always had a great aptitude for economics and business, with only a brief interlude called Maoism. Oh no! It's all thanks to Western religion!!!1!1!

    Sorry but I've also lived in Asian countries for a long period of time and I think that any time you start thinking that an Asian person (or, hell, any person) has adapted aspects of so-called Western culture because they like you/are overwhelmed by your superiority!/realize it's so much better than their ancient backwards ways!, you are putting your own head up your ass. China has adapted certain Western "apps" (barf) because they suit their own goals, and they mesh well with their OWN culture.

    If you think a person thinks the same way as an American, or European, just because they're wearing a Backstreet Boys T-shirt, well... you deserve to be as baffled and disoriented as you will be when you realize - through actual real world experience! - the sheer diversity of perspectives in this world, and the fact that your own is just one in a multitude.

  76. AlfBeta

    In Australia, I hear it said "Don't forget that the indigenous people had their conflicts, and harsh aspects." (I hear much more besides) But I say, they were here and their culture evolved in such a way under Law, that these violent aspects of life were part of a balance that could never for instance threaten the whole populace with a famine or a bloodbath. When 'superior' western values arrive, these millenia-old stable economies are poisoned, caged, thrashed, despised, killed, and diseased, to a backdrop of constantly expanding threat of global suicide. So yes, humans have conflict issues, but a true civilisation approaches this fact with wisdom, skill, and joy,accepting custody of the earth for future humans.

  77. Suzanne Bailey

    I made it ten minutes before I couldn't take the overbearing style and narration of this program. I do not care for this sort of dramatization of history.

  78. Moodie Younis

    this is the dumbest most inaccurate documentary ever made. Oversimplified generalizations, dramatized often INCORRECT narration. China is still China. They never "succumbed" to western domination. What the hell is this guy talking about? Cant believe such false BS actually gets the green light to be made.

  79. SillyWillyOneNut

    Well, there ya go, trolling away as per usual,.. so add one more person to that long list of people that don't like you.

  80. adilrye

    Of course they did. Don't you know of the "century of humiliation"? It's from the 19th to 20th century when China was pretty much a puppet of Western empires and finally had parts of it annexed by the Japanese. China was once a weak tool of the imperial world.

  81. Thomas Keddy

    biased propaganda how about the wars the started and then won, that helped them control the world

  82. adilrye

    lol I know, right? But it does show his bias. I mean, because they're opting out of the fashion HE approves of, it's become a threat and a "tool for Sharia law."

  83. fvleo

    I don't think we watched the same documentary (at least the first part.) By the way, Christianity is not a race, although I never heard it suggested that it is what catapulted Europe to its global hegemony anyway. All religions are a drag on moral and social progress.
    I thought it was competition among the small kingdoms of a fragmented Europe that resulted in its world dominance That was certainly the documentary's theme that I saw.
    I'll watch Part 2 to see where your sensitivities are ignited but so far I haven't even noticed many scarves. By the way, adapting any other culture's styles or methods is testimony to their usefulness and a compliment to the intelligence of the creators and inventors. We Europeans borrow all the time without feeling inferior about it. Nobody really cares about the other religions anyway. People mostly want to live in peace, and it is difficult to do so when there are those who rant and rave and make more superficial generalizations than those they criticize. I've lived in America for all my 63 years and I don't freak out when we are criticized, nor do I claim to understand it as well as you do Asia. I do believe that Mao was a scourge. Even the Chinese see that now. Lastly, your word choice speaks of emotional vulnerability rather than critical analysis. Relax, we aren't all THAT different.

  84. fvleo

    I assume this is sarcasm.

  85. fvleo

    Silly Will is not curtious (sic) so why is he preaching. courtesy. I just skip the comments that sound angry and emotional now. I like learning, not being a psychiatrist to name-callers.

  86. fvleo

    The plural of country is countries.

  87. fvleo

    The plural of country is countries.

  88. adilrye

    I agree with his assertion that the decline of work ethic in Europe is directly related to the decline of the Protestant Work Ethic. I wholeheartedly agree. But I don't like how he said "Asia has imported hard work and saving from Europe."

    ....

    Come again? Confucius preached the same thing thousands of years before Protestantism existed, hell, before Christianity existed. The Chinese have ALWAYS saved because it's part of ancient beliefs not to spend money like a mad man. It's Chinese upbringing to be thrifty and work hard. In India, the same work ethic is present, but is more likely due to the competition between families as a result of the caste system. Every family wants to be better than the other, but instead of buying nice stuff, it's about sending the kids to a nice school so they can be doctors or engineers.

    I understand his point and in some ways agree that their is a "spirit of capitalism" defined by the Protestant ethic that is being lost in the West. But to claim it's this Western idea that is propelling Asia's workers forward is ridiculous considering how minimal Protestantism is in the grand demographic scheme. He ignores literally THOUSANDS of years of Eastern perspectives. And that is regrettable.

  89. stephenkuemmel

    all of these docs are fuccking blocked

  90. Muhammad Ali

    Thank God I am not the only one who sees this docu for what it really is...All I see is a way to program young kids to believe what their ancestors did in the past was AYE-OKAY...no problem...Colonize lol.

    What else will they come up with next...Dunno..But I am pretty sure there are more docus like this that will come out (or already have)..aimed at a child userbase and using trendy words like Aps comparing society to an IPhone...Thanks docu maker...Thanks for making us more material based people.

  91. kisubika priscilla

    Indeed the West has lost the very foundation of their 'power' ,their Faith..
    The faith which made them explore the entire world fearless is now thrown out of their constitution.
    Most of those men,who invented things were God fearing.
    The strength of a people starts from knowing who they are from the inside.
    Its no suprise that America is the world's superpower,its because America was founded on biblical principles but now they are rejecting the very being which birthed them.The word "In God we trust" was never a mistake.It was a banner of what was inside every American heart.
    You can't cut the tree on whose branches you are standing.If you think you are still standing,its because you haven't hit the ground yet but you're on your way down.

    There is no Western culture no more,No Western Religion.No Western values.They are now embracing anything.The Western culture is getting erodded ..Most culture and conquest is based on Belief,Faith.If this goes on, the West will sit under Eastern religion,Eastern culture,Eastern faith.
    Unfortunately If you can't stand for something you will fall by ANYTHING.

  92. kisubika priscilla

    guys guys...its no longer about Hard work only...its working smart.That's why the rich have their money work for them while the poor work for their money.Which one are you?

    dont abuse each other.Just learn from the documentary.Well if he is not making sense to you,then make your own documentary and get us to watch it.

  93. Rafaël De Troyer

    It's a decent series, although N. Ferguson gets it wrong when he believes that Israel is part of the West. There's no such thing as Judeo-Christian civilization. But anyway, usually documentaries with a similar subject are hysterically politically correct, one-sided and anti-European to the core, they're merely one long guilt trip. And this mindset is eating away at the heart of our society. Apparently Europeans are, in contrast with the rest of the world, not allowed to be proud of their heritage and history, neither are they allowed to stand up for themselves. So I can see why this docu may anger some.

  94. Si Belsi

    not only useful in itself this doc is also good for those who has sleeping problems..watch and see...
    get it..in interiors hes talking in a low voice and thats creating a hypnotic effect on the viewer
    what?israils feel threaten by its sorounding..they came and occupied the arap lands that cost lots of innocent lifes..what else did they expect..an invitation,welcome gestures..bullshi***

  95. Abdul Guuled

    Violence, subjugation.. slavery....extermination of native population and taking their resources....disease resistance...these were the most critical to temporarily allowing the West to become wealthy...but as this show suggest, the West will have to give up their undeserving leadership role...with so much of the world resources consumed by the Western people, today in the most powerful nation of them all, science is at battle with "creationists"....what a waste! While Asian countries are fully embracing science.

  96. mike.12542

    I would still rather live in a western county any day over some horrible middle eastern country. Appears thats where most people want to live too.

  97. mike.12542

    If you dislike the West so much why did you come here instead of staying in the middle east. I can only imagine why ...

  98. StevenLJones

    I've only watched the first episode. He seems to suggest that Opium was a Chinese problem before the British arrived.

    When if fact it was the dear British who were the pushers. I can't help wondering what other tidbits that he will gloss over.

  99. Nagual

    This documentary is loaded with so many logical flaws! There are so many racist and discriminatory view points here. First, what exactly is his definition of the West? Some times he means Europe, then just Austria as when fighting the "dreaded" Turks, then just the US and UK, then back again to all of Europe. In the conquest of the Americas he says the Brits and North Americans got it right with how they handled property. Question: Didn't he included the Spanish as part of the West in a previous segment, when he talked about exploration? Now they weren't included. Now China is developing because they are accepting Christianity? Does he mean that they never built their 5,000 years of culture, civilization with a work ethic? Is he implying that only protestants have a work ethic and it has only existed for just over 500 years? I'd like to add more killer apps, like ruthlesness, jealousy, thievery and dirty tricks. That is how England became a world empire. Israel? I don't know where he got this logic here on Israel. We have democracy? That is news to me! The UK is being shaken by the Murdock scandal. I guess that is just a minor set back as he would say in the legacy of Western democracy. I finished watching this to see where he was going and what his message was. What is he talking about when he brings up the legacy of Rome as Western civilization? The UK was a backwater barbaric colony of the Roman empire with a Celtic and Germanic population and now he (as with other propagandist) implies that it is the legacy of Rome!???????? Aghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh! Shall we follow his call to a new crusade; rally behind our bibles and combat the upstart Turks, Iranians and Asians! OMG! What a horrible message!

  100. Nagual

    spot on!

  101. Nagual

    spot on!

  102. Nagual

    Polish and Russian women wore head scarves adn they weren't Mulsim. What do you expect from this stupid racist!

  103. Nagual

    What is the heritage and history to be proud of? He briefly mentioned the greatest of all, the Age of Enlightenment, the French revolution and Brittish common law.

  104. Nagual

    And where were your ancesters from? Why did they go to the country you are in?

  105. rljp

    This documentary is not a social commentary on how the west destroyed cultures to succeed. The only hidden agendas are from the people who are watching and then commenting.

    Fergusson is a well known and very intelligent person. Check out the Accent of Money...it is a brilliant piece of work. This documentary was about the comparison of economic models and what makes them rise and fall and what can we learn from it.

    He never said the british pushed opium because that is not what he said. He said that the chinese in their decline turned to opium while the west went onto booze. He is simply commenting on what happened in the cultures as they rose and fell without bringing into it all the righteous who is to blame for the ills of the world. That is not his point.

    This is not a social commentary documentary it is a doc about how countries and regions on the planet rise and fall. And maybe what we can learn from it.

    Best reply to many of you so far is ...go make your own doc if you don't like it. There are many on this site that point out who is to blame for everything you have all brought up. This was however not Niel's purpose in this documentary.

  106. rljp

    He never said nor suggested that. There is a lot of hidden agenda here but only from the viewers. Niel is a very intelligent person. Check out "The Accent of Money".

    Seems like most people want him to stand up and shout from a mountain top about all the injustice of the west.

    Well wake up this is a documentary about the rise and fall of countries/regions dominance in the world stage and what we can learn from it in the present context of china's growth and upcoming dominance.

    He does not go into the injustices in China in present day either....because that is not what this is about. If he sounds condescending and righteous it is because he has a PHD and knows what he is talking about.

    He used the opium as an analogy as to what some of the chinese turned to when their culture faded. The British kept them in stock for sure but he was not here to point that out only that as part of the downfall of china they turned to opium. It would be out of context for him to step in and say..."and the reason for the opium problem was that the british were pumping it to them" And the reason for the American accent was because they destroyed the native peoples etc etc.

    Did the chinese go out in those armadas with 30,000 saiors and bring peace to the region they lived in? Or did they go and pillage like everyone else?

    Best comment so far was hey you all want to see some righteous documentary that will point out the injustices on the rise and fall of countries and regions then go make one.

    This one is about "is the west history?" Not "is the West History and all the injustices done over the past 1000 years"

  107. rljp

    In the beginning he mentioned what control Spain, Protugual, France and England and Holland for that matter had over the planet from 1500 onwards. To Call Niel dumb is to call yourself much worse.

  108. rljp

    Once again in the context of his thesis and the 6 determining factors for a countries rise to greatness...one of those determining factors was competition....at that time it was competition to colonize.

    And once again it was not his place to point out all the injustices you think should be brought up. This was not the topic of the doc. But that really apprears to have been missed by many.

  109. StevenLJones

    Disqus generic email templateTo be politically involved to me means bias and I think he's biased. If you check him out on wikipedia you will see that he's involved in politics, he advised Senator John McCain's campain for example, His interest is financial and economic history. If he had said, I won't go into the horrendous crimes committed by the british or by slave traders, I might be less critical, but he didn't. It would take what, thirty seconds to do this. History is written by the victors. Check him out on Wiki. He's a very bright man, no doubt but like the news media it's what is not said that says volumes. Wiki also has a critisism by Paul Krugman a nobel prize winner which is scathing. Like I said I wonder what else he will omit or slant and so I won't watch the rest of it.

    Steven

  110. rljp

    stephen. You are asking him to satisfy your needs. that is not his job. If Obama paid him he would have advised Obama. This is a documentary about what it is. To make it some social commentary is not what it is. It is a very good insight into where cultures and regions have been and what can happen and probably will. Much like what Niel does in the Accent of Money. Some of you would say that what he says there is racist as well but all he is doing is recounting history and its context to economics. He does not say how Jewis people were forever tormented because of their beliefs with regards to banking and their religion he just says that the jewish peolple did X. You want some retribution and it is assinnine to expect it from the thesis of this documentary. Respectfully

  111. vance victor maclaren

    The series is correct about most topics and very well done. It is true that just about everyone in the world today is more or less westernized culturally (please save your bland accusations of "racism" because that's not what the series is about at all).
    I do disagree on one point: at the end of the series he argues that Europeans and Americans can still prevent meltdown because we have fundamental liberties that they don't have in China (free speech, democracy, rule of law, etc.). The problem with that line is that most of us are definitely not free economically. I am in Canada and the average person here is certainly not able to take any moral stand against the banker types ruining the world.

  112. Babz Rahman

    Being of the leftie type, I do sometimes enjoy watching and listening to the views of the right and I found this documentary to be very enjoyable and quite correct though it doesn't delve into how these 'killer' apps were used to prevent other Civilizations and Nations from developing. However I think the episode about property was quite a peculiar one as he pitted one Western power against another Western power. I would've rather seen what the situation about property ownership was like in the East at the time.

  113. FadedGarden

    The ottoman empire came up with the scientific method didn't they?

  114. Corbin Rempel

    Was impressed, for the most part, until the last 'app'..

    Similar to Nagual's sentiment from a couple weeks ago, the over simplification and lack of grounded assertions have really brought out doubt and irritation in me.. (meaning that during one episode he will make one claim as a reason for excelling / diminishing and then simply slap on a different generalization when it conveniently suits him in later episodes.. specifically, south americas stagnation was supposed to be property, oh but just wait.. its because they are predominantly catholic..)

    as was said in previous comments, how exactly did the Chinese import work ethic?!.. such a joke.. ahhh!!!... this whole last episode is ridiculous and nauseating.. definitely a capstone of his british arrogance (which is a general theme through out)

    Anyways, lots of interesting info and interpretation - but def has its flaws, imo

    "Although I brought up an atheist, I suffered from an extreme form of the protestant work ethic".. haha, seriously?!.. what a joke...

  115. Terry Beaton

    In Canada you can take any stand you want, on any subject you please! I live here too and I speak my mind often through the editorial page in the newspaper. Guess what, they often print it, and I usually read it while having my morning coffee. Your statement is a complete mystery to me! If you want to make big changes in short order to the way the system works you can do that too. Tommy Douglas did it and the world is better for it to this day. Read about him and see what one ordinary man did in the face of deep institutional resistance. Or just check out the doc. "Tommy Douglas, Prairie Giant". He changed the whole world!

  116. dusttracks

    Europeans were not the first to explore the planet. This is more cultural bullshit cheerleading.

  117. dusttracks

    The West beat the rest with guns and disease. Europeans are not superior to any other people in any way. The west is still playing the same game today. Guns and disease. Nothing more.

  118. wpsmithjr

    You people and your snide comments.

    Let me explain something to you...

    Occupation, pillaging, slavery and subjugation are simply ways of life. If you don't think that eastern civilizations did their share of conquering and pillaging on their way up then you're living in a dream world.

    Guess what?

    The elite explorers, rulers, politicians and other "leaders" of society have ALWAYS taken advantage of their citizenry and still do today. It doesn't matter if you're talking about British colonialism, American "capitalism" or Ottoman confiscation... there has always been a small group of wealthy, elitist f*cks that have enslaved their people and forced them to ravage and/or conquer another group of people (who were already enslaved by their own group of rich elites).

    When will the people of the world stop arguing over capitalism vs. socialism, west vs. east, U.S.A. vs. the "terrorists", left vs. right, liberal vs. conservative, jews vs. the rest of us, BLAH, BLAH, BLAH?? When...

    It is... and always has been... the people vs. their rulers. When we, the people, figure that out... then the game will change. Until then, wealthy, immoral, power-mad elites will always rule the world... and always have "the people" under their thumb.

    And they will always use DIVISION in order to maintain their rule. To keep us all at odds with one another... so we don't try to blame them when the s.h.t.f..

    Why do you think Obama vilifies "the rich" so much... when HE is one of them? So in the end... you won't go after the ruling class... just the business people... like they are doing in Britain right now. Burning down ordinary mom and pop businesses because it's all the fault of "the rich". You should be after the Queen's head instead.

    Btw...

    Vote for Ron Paul 2012
    He doesn't want you to be his slave.

  119. Domus Canus.

    Bravo!

  120. jpman17

    it seems to me , historically, the Capitalism and Western culture only thrives with the use of cheap and / or slave labour...definitely nothing to do with Protestant religious work ethic....maybe that Religious acceptance or work ethic (if you wish to call it that) is adopted by those who have no choices for any other labour options

  121. unhappy

    It seems to me that you didn't even listen to the documentary. A large amount of time was spent on Jung He (Spelling is debated) the most famous Chinese explorer that explored and subjugated the world long before Europeans.

  122. unhappy

    I can't help but notice that all of these comments about the horrible Western world and all of our treachery are being submitted by computers via the internet (created in the west), in countries free to express themselves, likely Western Democracies (or this site would be blocked), all while enjoying life in their air conditioned/heated homes, eating safe and plentiful mass produced food, driving their cars and flying around the world at will. Oh yes, we ruined your lives. Poor you!!

    Perhaps you would prefer Chinese rule where anyone not ethnically Chinese is considered an enemy of the state and all points of view contrary to the "Party" line are met with jail time. Or perhaps the tribal warfare and genocide of Africa. Maybe the overly corrupt democracy of India where you can't get police help unless you pay for it.

    I'd like to see the world just for a day if any of the other contenders for world domination had won. Islam forced on the entire world and Sharia law. Chinese subjugation of the world and forced slavery on all non Chinese.

    Did the West have problems and create new problems? Absolutely!! Could it have have been a whole lot worse? Absolutely!! Now enjoy your modern Western pampered lives and keep bitching about this horrible way of life being imposed on you.

    Sources: I have lived in 32 countries throughout my life in every corner of the globe and I wouldn't trade my Western ideology, democracy or heritage for any other.

  123. didjuana

    Good job you're one of the rare thinkers among all these fools deluded by t.v. and divided by religion and/or politics. The best thing we could do as a unified human race is to take the elites MONEY away from them. Forever. Then we can end the bank theft system,and begin to stop corporate "democracy" altogether. Corruption in gov. positions of power is Treason and should require death penalty! Yet we shrug it off as business as usual! Bush,Cheney,Rumsfeld& many others are war criminals. Obama is "token" Black talking head to placate US idiots.

  124. Monica sanchez

    I don't think you had, because if you did live in in "32 countries" as you claim, you would have notice that other countries feel the same about they culture and ideology. I was born in Madrid, lived in Equatorial Guinea, and now US, and I don't believe our culture and ideology is the answer. So go ahead and be truthful once in while...:-) Maybe little humility will help realize that at the end is not about "your ideology" but humanity.

  125. Monica sanchez

    I think he is correct. You can't say whatever you want, but you are not being listen to, it doesn't really matter. What he is meant is that only the powerful are the one who has the say at the end of the day...so please go ahead and feel good about yourself for trying to make him feel stupid.

  126. Monica sanchez

    What do you expect from?....well you fill the blank...:-)

  127. unhappy

    Hi Monica. I have worked for oil and gas companies since I was 18 years old and yes I have lived in 32 countries as it is a part of my chosen career to move around the world with new projects. Including your home country!! Y sí yo hablo español también uno de los idiomas del oeste.

    What are you trying to say about humanity? Humanity is nothing but a collection of beliefs and ideas within a group of people. Without something to guide humanity we are nothing but ruthless animals as has been shown in Rwanda, Germany, Cambodia, and the list goes on. Humanity does not promote peace and stability civilisations do! I am not saying that Western ideology should be imposed on the world. I am saying that it's is very easy for people like yourself to criticize the West all while enjoying the many advances and freedoms that came with Western civilization. If you are truly self righteous, stop using the internet (Western), stop driving and traveling the world by air (Western). Stop living a modern lifestyle and go back to what you consider a better way of life. If not then all of your criticisms are nothing but hypocrisy!!

    Every civilisation will of course think that their ideology is the greatest. I am saying that my Western civilisation is the greatest that I have encountered. If it is so terrible why do you chose to live in the US? Why not stay in Africa?

    FYI. This post was added from Vung Tau, Vietnam. Yet another in my long list of "homes". It does me no service to lie about my past as i have no idea who you are nor do I care whether or not you believe me. Every way of life has it's supporters and it's detractors and I am on the Western civilisation supporters side. I will never apologize for that nor will I make up stories to boost my credibility. Now go on and insult me some more as you obviously have not thought this argument through.

  128. U_Should_Know

    Nugal, how do you manage to miss the point by such a wide margin. Firstly, while the term 'west' as applied to a culture isn't PC anymore, it still is understood where the west is by most people. Europe, North America, and Australia. Not Latin America, even though they were colonized by the Spanish (and Portuguese, don't know how Niall managed to overlook them, their colony covered half the continent).

    Secondly, Niall does not condemn modern Turks, or even Turks historically, he simply explains how they were viewed with fear and hatred by the Europeans (who rallied behind the Austrians, as that was the crucial battle ground at the time). Is it really so suprising they didn't like their invaders.

    Was the west ruthless? Yes, and he points this out in the very first segment of the documentary. He goes on to call them much more than that. To be fair though, most empires have been ruthless when they expanded. I challange you to find a world power in any point in history that was not ruthless on its climb to the top. Not that this justifies their actions, just shows the west is not alone in acting barbaric.

    Oh, finally. The celtic civilization was not a backwater to Rome. Ironically that is a western biased view that has existed for a long time. Watch Terry Jones' 'Barbarians' and see just how barbaric and backwards the romans were compared to the people they founght (including Celts, Cathagians, and Persians).

  129. U_Should_Know

    As you might have found from watching the documentary. The land was occupied furst by the Ottomans, then by the British, and promissed to both Jews and Muslims alike. They were given the land, perhaps not rightfully, but they have just as much right to live there and practise their religion as anyone else.

  130. j4deddevil

    How did Europe come to develop those guns in the first place though and why didn't the Egyptians, Chinese, Arabians etc. beat the rest with guns and disease before the Europeans? That's the whole point of Niall Ferguson's study here...

  131. Kateye70

    "Vote for Ron Paul 2012
    He doesn't want you to be his slave. "

    No, he just wants you to die. Or at least to deny you the Social Security, Medicare/Medicaid "entitlements" that I, for one, have been paying into via payroll taxes since I was 16.

  132. Mirt Kruusmaa

    I agree with you! I couldn't even finish the last episode - it was horrible and sometimes even ignorant. I was really dissapointed...

  133. Guest

    Most inventions are the result of previous inventions.
    Telegraphy lead to the internet.
    A chain of thoughts and results, resulted in what we have now.
    az

  134. Leasy

    IMHO 'unhappy' is exactly that. All invention is the result of someone's idea and he/she not generally accredited as having played any part in the invention because they are not 'western'. Lets get back to basics, without the invention of the wheel, no cars, no planes. Hmnnn let me think oh yeah, now generally accepted by science that the oldest wheel found was in........ Mesopatamia (Syria).

    Of course the West saw the growth of many things however to say that they 'invented' it all is crass ignorance and blind stupidity. If I came to your home, took any implement that you had made from the ideas in your head, added bits to it and now mass marketed it. Who do you think would be credited as having invented it, you or me? I do believe that would be me. However without your original idea, chances are I would not even have seen the opportunity to manipulate your idea. Which is what the West is great at, exploiting ideas and opportunities.

    I too have lived in many countries, happy to experience their cultures and languages, however I would never presume to speak to anyone based on what I perceive to be their language over the internet as any fool can type in a sentence and have it translated into another language so it proves nothing. The argument also become mute when the very countries that are held up as 'failure' compared to the west, not only includes a European country ( last time I checked Germany was still in Europe/the West), but even those that are not, eg Cambodia,Rwanda,Uganda, were all governed by dictators who were educated/influenced by ...yup you've guessed it... the west.

  135. unhappy

    @Leasy

    Typical liberal mud slinging rather than actually making a coherent argument. I am Panamanian by birth and was educated in several countries within Latin America. It was not until I moved to and English speaking country at the age of 8 that I could speak anything but Spanish so please take your ignorant insults elsewhere. I was not addressing her native language I was addressing her in OUR native language. If you want to argue the facts and the statements that I made I would be happy to reply but as of now you are just another internet trash talker with large testicles online and none in real life.

    You call my arguments crass and ignorant yet you have not made one valid point in your argument. The first wheel in no way changes the fact that the modern amenities that I mentioned were invented in the west (Air Travel, Air Conditioning, the Automobile and the Internet were my examples). Please with you ultimate wisdom explain to me where these ideas were stolen from? I have yet to see any intelligent thought in your rant. Someone flying a kite in ancient Babylon does not qualify as the inventor of the first aircraft. Sorry but you theories sound like nothing but uneducated BS to me. By your logic nobody on earth can claim responsibility for any advancement because ancient Syrians built a wheel. Stupid!

    I would agree that Western countries were responsible for creating the political instability that has allowed genocide to occur in the past but nobody was holding a Western gun to the heads of the Khmer Rouge, the Hutu rebels forcing them to slaughter millions of their own people. Blaming such a choice on the West is both ridiculous and untrue. People make their own choices based on what they believe and just because someone went to school in the West does not make all of their actions accountable to the West. Mao and Stalin were not Western educated yet they managed to kill 10's of millions each.

    It seems clear that you hate everything about the West but yet if you develop a heart problem you will be lying in a Western style hospital, using Western drugs while undergoing a Western developed heart operation all the while cursing us. I suppose that doesn't count though!

    I have never once claimed to be any type of authority on Western civilization and if you had read my posts you would see nothing but I think, I believe, and In my opinion. Everyone is entitled to their opinion and I have stated mine. I stand by my message that if the West is so evil as you claim the world should stop accepting our food aid, our charity work and our technical advances and make it on their own. Yet from what I see, every country in the world that I have visited is in a mad rush to become more Westernized and more modernized. It seems to be only the spoiled ignorant middle class living in the West that hate it so much when most of the developing world is doing it's best to catch up. Why else are there hundreds of millions of refugee and immigration claims to Western countries every year? Why is it that we send food aid to countries like N Korea every year when they hate everything about the Western world? Do you see any other cultures in the world going out of their way to assist everyone, even their enemies? I thought not!

  136. Dhananjaya

    Just finished watching the entire series. I had enjoyed Ferguson's 'Empire' and 'Ascent of Money' and expected this to be of the same quality. Man, was i disappointed. I am not a guy who rants for objectivity, but this is nothing but one sided trash. I second 'Nagual's comments fully.

    I am from India. I am really upset with the crafty ease with which he conveiniently forgets to mention the numeous atrocities his 'West' commited.
    He paints a vivid picture of Germany's attrocities in Africa and how in 1902 many people was killed based on race lines and it was the world's fisrt genocide, before the word was even coined. He forgets that his favoured North American, Protestant ethic filled, property sharing people also committed a genocide when they killed thousands of native indians, just to grab their land.

    The Chinese are imbibing work ethic because of the Protestant religion!
    Wow, I wonder how Ming dynasty flourished in its prime with all the technology , economy etc in 14th Century? Before protestant religion came into existence.

    The entire last episode was full of religious propaganda. I wonder if in few years, he will be Reverend Niall Ferguson instead of Professor Niall Ferguson.

  137. Brian

    Save your breath. Reason and facts are not important to the left. Recyling brain dead marxist slogans and letting others think for them, is. Besides, the left is finished in the U.S.

  138. Rahul Fulzele

    The link doesnt work... :(

  139. Me

    i assume you dont live and enjoy the life and freedoms of our protestant great great great great grand parents gave us? They did build the the country

  140. Dhananjaya

    Your assumption is incorrect sir. I do have tremendous respect for your great great great great grandparents; for the likes of Thomas Jefferson especially. I do enjoy the life and freedoms in my country.
    In fact, I am from the country which is the world's biggest democracy,
    which is the hallmark of your great grandparents.

    Yes, they did build the country, a great country it is; but why should one conveniently turn a blind eye to what happended to the native americans and fail to acknowledge it.

    My point was in connection to Mr. Ferguson's documentary, where I find a strong, deliberate imbalance in his protrayal when it comes to attrocities committed by the White Americans & the English compared to the attrocities commited by the Germans & the Spanish.

    My point was also regarding his view that the protestant work ethic is the driving force for China's development. No disrespect meant towards the Protestant religion, but his argument is simply ludicrous.
    The Chinese civilization is one of the oldest and richest civilizations in the history. They gave us the printing press, the gun powder, the zoetrope. They have an ocean of philosophy and richness in their culture which has helped them in attaining their work ethic and flourish for 5000 years. The protestant work ethic certainly might have been a driving force for the building of America, but in no way the same theory can be applied to China.

  141. AA7

    I agree with Dhananjaya's contention that Mr. Ferguson is incorrect when he concludes that China needs to imbibe a Protestant work ethic in order to succeed in its development. While Britain and North America (excluding Mexico) have been primarily Protestant in their history and can be said to have the Protestant work ethic as a driving force for their development, it is incorrect to say that China's development is due to its absorption of the Protestant work ethic. Chinese people have had their own strong work ethic since ancient times which is driving their current development. It was not because the Chinese people did not have a strong Protestant work ethic that China fell behind in its development. It is through other factors such as the lack of sufficient development in science or the lack of democracy that held China back.

  142. Liam MacSuibhne

    An embarrassingly one-sided. myopic. self-glorifying portrayal of the West. Worse, a very apparent western-type need to link all the progress of many great cultures throughout many ages to a localised, quasi-religious revisionist theory of the 'importance' of Protestantism on a global scale. Tribal garbage.

    The only thing that's 'finished' is the WASP right-wing mentality, as so vividly portrayed in this absolute failure of a 'documentary'. It's pretty much finished everywhere. Whether or not the USA grows up and joins the rest of the world in progressive, balanced and critical awareness of the role of socialism in a free society is entirely up to them. If they don't, they will be the one to lose out.

    As for dealing with complexities of historiographies and sources of change, progress and development, this one rates as the low-brow of low-brows.

  143. Terry Beaton

    Everyone thinks that for The West to claim leadership in the exploitation of the worlds resouces and basic destruction of it by greed and mindless industialization is somehow 'self-glorification'. The fact is, The West (with it's Protestant focus on upward mobility and personal ambition) really is the leader in this pillaging of the earth. Why would anyone feel 'left out' in any discussion of who's to be credited for such an evil thing. It's true. It's the saddest thing I can imagine, and it's true.

  144. John Paul

    I must question your 5 senses: It is in the West that you find the highest valuation of labour/work, and the highest level of benefits shared to the population via a central gov system to which most contribute and from which most receive benefits. You use western inventions or applications 24,7,12, like this blog. Do you think that an holiday at the beach was a chinese invention?
    In South Africa, in the days of apartheid, black South Africans were paid the highest wages in Africa. Miners came from Malawi to work here. In 1991, a sweeper at SAB breweries was paid more than a doctor in Rio De Janeiro, US$400.
    Have a glass of water. Here, from the tap is still ok; outside the West, you get jippo guts.
    Acorda

  145. Phoenix Chan

    Good on you, say it like it is!

  146. Uberhaxor Roflcopternoob

    I found this documentary series interesting, but there is a fair bit of information that contradicts many of the main theses that I wish Niall would address.

    Firstly, most 3rd world countries have people working far longer hours for far less return. Even in India and China people put in longer hours for less return. It is not the protestant work ethic that is valuable here. It is not working harder, it is working smarter, mini-maxing, finding ways to have your cake and eat it. This produces the leisure time that allows people to come up with better ideas. Proof of this is to be found in comparing societies where labor driven economies grind humans down, as opposed to those where "mechanical contrivances" perform most of the work, i.e. capital economies.

    Next. What drove the creation of mechanical capital in Europe ? This is where Christian superstition comes into play, specifically the belief in the holiness of filthiness, and that cats were the servants of the devil and must be killed. Diseases in Europe killed people in frighteningly large numbers periodically, but especially the Black Death. By driving up the price of labor, investment in inventing ans employing labor saving devices became important. This rather flies in the face of the Science and Medicine apps too. It was more about blind luck, like when the Mongols had 2 successive waves of European invasion halt due to deaths at the top.

    Competition is an interesting idea, but is it a valid assessment of the failure of the Treasure fleets ? If this were true, then all small Balkanized communities would be the most competitive, with the most to gain from commerce. Now there have been examples of this being true, but there are many more examples of it being false. For every Netherlands or Portugal, there is a Sri Lanka, a Latvia, a Denmark, a Bulgaria, and Albania. What drove Europeans to Asia in search of spice was poverty, what kept them there was the greed and violence. It was less competition, and more a combination of Government policy and the economic model of the Mercenary Company (and it's violent mercenary ethos) from which all forms of legal companies ultimately derive.

    I have few issues with the episode on Property, though once again I think that this is more about government policy, the failure of the aristocratic system due to nepotism and corruption, and the revolution of the masses against aristocracy, that won in the USA and failed in South America. I would have said it was about Nepotism versus Meritocracy, and that is a choice about how to run a Government bureaucracy.

    As to science. Choosing the Ottomans as a counterpoint doesn't necessarily explain everything. China had led the world for a very long time in technical matters, and the Treasure fleets prove this. What we should really be asking is why China, the powerhouse of world technical innovation, stalled ? I would argue that it was the cost associated with building and maintaining the Great Wall that cut the R&D budget, and created a sense of isolationist complacency. Once again, this comes down to issues of Government policy.

    I therefore attribute Europe's success in part to extreme good fortune, but mainly to flexible and responsive government policies introduced by people who knew what they were doing, or learned from their mistakes.

  147. Jose Rosales

    I really enjoyed watching this documentary even though as an Atheist I was quite annoyed by one of his killer apps. The so called Protestant work ethic does exist but it is hardly protestant at all. A hard work ethic can be found anywhere on earth from a fisherman in Indonesia to a CEO in New York regardless of their faith or lack there of. The main reason why the USA has become the worlds most powerful country is in fact because of its citizens work ethic and vast resources. Our economy is great because of the diversity of its populace and the contributions made by Jews, Catholics, Protestants and people of other faiths and those who don't have a belief system.

  148. complexphenom

    Quit burying your head in the sand. The truth is, much of our modern culture is due to its religious heritage, including the work ethic. Leave aside whatever grievances you may have with religion in order to objectively asses its contribution to our civilization. To say that it did not contribute whatsoever, or that it didn't contribute to a considerable degree is just disingenuous and revisionist. I'm not even a theist, I'm agnostic, but I recognize that our civilization would be completely different, unrecognizable even if it hadn't been for religious influences. Whether or not it'd be better or worse is another question, and would be more speculative than the empirical claim that we owe where we stand in large part to religious influences.

  149. Herrerasaurus

    I'd like to attempt to elaborate your point.
    Religion unites people with traditions and the such.
    Christianity in the west brought with it through merchant a sense of unity and trust because they all knew some common traditions and practises, as well what God was chief and so on.

    An important question is what exactly did religious influences help humanity to advance? I think central power (unifying for good and bad) and a sense that important nations keep peace with each other because the ruling families share religion and blood.

  150. Hector Sanchez

    Europeans are the greatest. The west is the best.

  151. Hector Sanchez

    The west is the best.

  152. john mason

    not anymore bitches die like the rest. hahahaha its time to reap the evil people. the seven horses have been released

  153. rodiee

    First SUPERPOWER in the world history is China.The oldest culture is the indians , and chinese.The most tech nation is Japanese.Now where will be a Europe and the "west civilization" whitout the east ???

  154. SirMe

    Most of Western Civilization was developed in Ancient Egypt, Phoenicians, Persia, and Mesopotamia (by Non-Westerners) and transferred to Ancient Greece and Rome. Work ethic is not a Western characteristics, it has been part of Asia for thousands of years. I also believe imperialism played an important role in developing Western Europe and America, though the documentary seems to leave that aspect out.

  155. Jonathan de Ruiter

    Very insightful comment. You throw an idea out that I'm really wrestling with at the moment. I haven't found the answer yet, but it's interesting, I totally understand what you're saying, and this is why I'm getting so intrigued and trying to understand all these different systems of human organization lately on a deep level. [as opposed to the surface level I was taught in high school].

    What I find fascinating about your comment is that you say "we should get away from capitalism vs. socialism, left vs. right, etc". And yet, the reason we still have these discussions is because they just evolve. You identify as a libertarian, and believe it is the people vs. their rulers. Yet this sounds exactly like the ideals of Karl Marx. Everyone being free and equal is the [utopian?/ideal] goal of both Communism and Democracy is it not? Yet communism was corrupted back into dictatorships, and democracy is being corrupted into crony capitalism/plutocracy.

    It seems to me that unless you are someone who is only out for themselves, then we all appear to agree on the goals of universal freedom and equality... We just haven't arrived at our utopia yet, and so we must continue to work out the best system for getting there. Thus the discussion, and the quest of the human experiment continues hey?

  156. Jonathan de Ruiter

    You seem to be missing the point by choosing a paradox. Niall showed the atrocities of the German's not to exonerate his "favored N.A.", but precisely to show that the West was not merely on a "mission of civilization" -- indeed, that the killer apps were turned on the West itself because humanity is far from perfect and takes one step back for every two forward. How can you say he is one-sided and biased when he expressly ends the episode on the USA's innovation/killer app by showing the contradiction of having the property owning democracy being built on the backs of slaves?...

    That you arrived at your conclusion makes me wonder: do you have a vested interest in seeing the West as "all-bad", instead of the complex, multi-layered, Jekyll and Hyde that Niall richly explores?

  157. Jonathan de Ruiter

    Wow, you really missed the point on that one. He wasn't trying to make him feel stupid, he was trying to encourage him that he CAN change the world in significant ways even in the face of powerful opposition. As someone who feels more disenfranchised myself currently [like vance], I found it to be very encouraging indeed.

  158. Jonathan de Ruiter

    So in your opinion, talking about slavery being the "original sin" of the US, or using Germany as the example of the atrocities of colonialism is biased to show that the West is perfect and God's gift to humanity? How do you manage such an paradoxical conclusion? You can only talk about so many things in a 40 minute episode. If you need a presenter to list every injustice ever committed by human beings before you can watch a program, you might have a hard time finding much to watch...

  159. goodman

    I have a different point of view.
    I don't think it's the work ethic that matters. There are so many poor countries in the world even though they work hard. The Netherlands, which is one of the wealthiest, has the shortest working hours.
    I think what really matters is efficiency. How well a just society it is. How fair the law system is. How less corrupted the entire law system, government is..
    When there is a good, fair system maintained, the society should prosper nomatter what.
    That's my theory.

  160. Zishy

    realy bad documentory. twisting, lying, revisionist. pretty disgusting to watch when you are a scolar of history and see trough the pits and holes of the western hemisphere

  161. Jacek Walker

    It seems many people mistake technological developement for civilization.
    They seem to be pretty happy with worldwide poverty, wars, violence and greed as long as they got a new smart phone or car.
    This is not what I call civilization - it is merely dog eats dog reptilian - like- homo - resemblings.

  162. Jacek Walker

    The fact that they were here since ages doesn't justify their brutal behaviour towards each other.
    But this aggression and abuse have been notorious throughout our known history. Something is basically wrong with our species to start with petty thefts and cons, family never-ending quarrels, omnipresent greed and hatred and finishing on "professional" sociopaths parsiting in governments, banks and corporations, to name the most influential institutions.

  163. bluetortilla

    I agree. Implies a smug attitude that only competition brings about prosperity and implies that the only reason for China's 'success' today is its adoption of Western Capitalism while leaving out all of the devastation that development has brought to China both ecologically and especially culturally.
    Particularly disgusting was the notion that Chinese on their sought out opium as a destructive vice of the lazy when it was the British that forced it upon them (destroying untold thousands of households). It neglects to mention that the Chinese civilization was basically gang raped for two hundred years by nations more powerful than them (Japan being the last), to only finally suffer one disaster after another during hard one independence. It is no surprise that China finally took on the Western model- I believe its leaders were at their wits' end.
    One would like to see China develop a new economic model for the world- one that reflects its antipathy for the aggressive domination of the capitalism under which it suffered only to embrace later. Perhaps demographic and ecological pressures will result in new innovations. I prefer optimism. And despite the problems and fear mongering, one can't help but feel proud of China.

  164. CarlaKah

    The oldest cultures are those of the Khoi-khoi and San in Africa, approx. 100,000 years old.

  165. CarlaKah

    I wish we all understood the full scope of human evolution from 100,000 years ago till now. Including how dark skinned Africans turned white in Europe (albinism), where the first civilization ever was created (East Africa, in current Sudan), how we evolved from hunter/gatherers to capitalist citizens (theft, landgrab, a thirst for empire building and misuse of religions) and why most wealthy people on earth are white and most poor people are black and brown (murder, manipulation, genocides, rapes etc). Truth is if you are part of the dominant culture/group of people on earth you are a heir of an accumulation of atrocities that haven't been addressed let alone avenged by its victims.

  166. steviecomment

    The reason white country's have more wealth, is because of
    the weather. As you get further from the equator, people walk
    faster, and work harder, because they have to gather resources to survive long winters. This work ethic gets embedded in the peoples psyche.

  167. MarkW99

    I'm a skolar too, but you spell it funny.

  168. AlfBeta

    I don't want to start a fire here, but I see religions, at least in their beginnings, as being manifestos for the management of "Something...basically wrong with our species...". including descriptions of the defect and its causes. For example the Christian myth (I mean the word in its actual enormous sense of crystallised prehistory, racial memory etc., NOT as used in modern chatter meaning a false sporting rumour) of the Garden of Eden. The story tells of a time when humanity was in harmony, and what went wrong, and what events cascaded. Can be very interesting, although because symbols ("apple, snake, rib) are used (as in a dream) it can be tricky! And then there's translations! But anyway, your comment about "something basically wrong" has agreement in far-flung belief systems from biology to buddhism!

  169. AlfBeta

    No wonder I didn't watch the bloody thing, sounds indeed very very annoying!

  170. AlfBeta

    Ha Mark, at least Zishy can claim to have just too lightly tapped the 'h' - but you missed the 'c' by a mile, 'k' is far away

  171. CayaK

    I only agree with the walking faster because of the cold. Working harder is too vague. Define what you mean by "harder"? The desert heat can kill someone too if they are dehydrated just like you can freeze to death in Sweden if you don't have ways to keep your body temperature on point. There is this Ewe-mina proverb that illustrates why this Eurocentric defense of white supremacy is so commonly seen: "Until the lion has his or her own storyteller, the hunter will always have the best part of the story."

    If you consider "white" people to be superior you will totally forget where the Western wealth comes from: exploitation, murder, theft, rape, castration, violence, slavery, colonialism, neo-colonialism, schemes, discrimination and dehumanization as a whole.

    Of course your response will either be silence, denial or the tired white supremacist answer "I didn't know that".

    SIGH.

  172. steviecomment

    I considered not replying to this, because you seem to be quite racist. I really believe we are products of our environment, regardless of our race. I think all human races have it in them to hurt and abuse other humans. There are not good guys and bad guys when it comes to race. We are more or less all the same. (Genetically)

  173. CayaK

    Aha so your answer boils down to: Denial. Wow! Racist! You must not know what racism is to be calling me, someone who has been stating FACTS so far not emotionally charged negative assumptions about people based on the color of their skin, a racist. Do you know what white supremacy is? And white privilege? Or do you feel that albinism is a negative explanation for the lighter complexions of Europeans and Asians? Do some research on these terms and the realities of people of color, please! I never said any race is worse than the other. I clearly stated where Western wealth comes from. I have no business sugarcoating that.

  174. CayaK

    Africa (don't forget ancient Nubia) and Asia

  175. steviecomment

    I will take back my racism accusation, but can you confirm that exploitation, murder, theft, rape, castration, violence, slavery, colonialism, neo-colonialism, schemes, discrimination and dehumanisation is not unique to western country's.

  176. Shaving Pvt. Ryan

    I was excited to watch this, but 5 minutes in I realize this is just bs British racist propaganda.

    These are the real reasons why west dominated:

    Savagery/Chattel Slavery (worst type of slavery the world has ever seen, dehumanizing people and treating them worse than animals)
    Completely manipulating and converting/brainwashing the rest of the world at gun point
    Genocide of natives through disease and murders
    Conquest of trade and economy of countries through corruption and military attacks of countries (Dutch East company just 1 example)
    Exploiting other countries(relates to the ones above. Still happening today through manipulative tactics like transfer pricing and corruption of military leaders in africa and south america, dont even care about people suffering from asthma due to the pollution of the mines and undrinkable GREEN WATER in villages)

    Its spiteful when he said "work ethic". Thats when I realized this is racist propaganda. Are you saying the average brit who drinks his way to death at the pub works harder than a chinese or japanese?
    South Koreans have a saying: You are lazy like a Japanese". And think about how hard Japanese people work?.....

    This documentary is BS.

  177. Harry

    Do you see any similarities between these two hypothetical claims -
    "Stop using toilet paper as a westener, because paper was invented by the Chinese. Paper, in all its forms, is inherently Chinese." Quite ridiculous, isn't it?

    Here's the other comment, and I'm quoting you here, "If you are truly self righteous, stop using the internet (Western), stop driving and traveling the world by air (Western)." Do you now see how ridiculous both claims are? Internet is a tool, just as paper is a tool and so are flying machines. If airplanes were inherently western, the Chinese couldn't build it. How can they build it? Simple - heads working on aerodynamics, laminar flow, flight surfaces, propulsion systems, payload, delivery, economics, management, deployment, objective, satisfaction.

    What I'm saying is, and what Monica was point out, is that, ultimately, it's the people, the humans (collectively) that use tools for their ends. Credit goes to those who pioneer ideas, definitely, but it's the human spirit for ingenuity, entrepreneurship and service that leads to further tinkering, ideation and iterations to expand on ideas. It's a humanistic exercise. It is against the spirit of humanity to reduce everything to "mine", "yours".

    You may find the Western Civilization to be the best. That's your view and you're entitled to it. Not all civilizations think they are the best, if at all and at all times. The important question is how well versed one is about about world cultures, values and civilizations. Traveling extensively doesn't make you wise about other cultures, unless you can manage to live 6,000 years and spend at least 300 years in one given country, culture and/or civilization. From what I've read from your writing, I can clearly see bias going in (and being reinforced) despite your travels, but then you may have a special liking for what you internally associate as something truly representing your values, which just happens to be western philosophy and way of life.

    I can see both yours and Monica's point of view here. I am, personally, not bigoted about my own culture, either. There are great, inspiring sides to it, just as some aspects that I don't agree with. It's the same with most civilizations, but few go and enforce it onto others. Even those who do it have interesting aspects to them. I'm certainly not close-minded to believe that western civilization to be the best. I rather would like a combination of all the great aspects of all civilizations put together, so that we, humans, collectively can be proud of ourselves together. There is no exclusivity in the world, only pretenders. Not that you are one. Good day.

  178. John Murgaš

    It's funny to say that the history of the world is only western. There is no West without the East. From Science to Agriculture, Architecture to Fashion, Who were the first ones to wear PANTS? Asians and The Middle East to ride horses. THE WEST OWES EVERYTHING TO THE EAST. FROM STEEL TO MEDICINE. Who were the first ones to use Amapola ( Morphine) as medicine? AFROASIATIC CULTURES. R.I.P. WESTERN CIVILIZATION. 500 YEARS OF RACIST SCHIZOPHRENIC DOMINATION.

  179. meis

    I like how he interprets "competition" or rather misinterprets, really. His so called "competition" is born out of hating each others. The Europeans hated each others, then it leads to smaller "autonomy" kingdoms or broken into pieces (Martin Jacques compared it to the fallen Roman Empire vs Unified China), only then the "competition" comes around, and lots of exploitation in Africa (which Niall Ferguson hardly mention of), and Zhang He didn't even think of it. In short, "competition" = brutality and brutality rules. CCP must learn this. Isn't that what the elites across the world subscribed to? Isn't that what the Zionist Murica been doing in mid east?

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