A few years ago the conventional wisdom in the West was that maybe China might surpass the United States (a sub-section of the West) in 50 years. Now, any serious thinker understands that China is top dog and the West is in deep crisis. The Western nations have lost their moral, financial and political leadership of the world.
This week we will look at why the leaders of the Western world nearly destroyed their own civilization. Then we will then try to figure out what to do to restore Western vitality.
The causes for the Western decline were years in the making. The results manifested themselves over a very short period. Our ancestors would have recognized the situation had its ultimate origins in moral failure on the part of our leaders. Here are the seven deadly sins of the West:
The pride that kills
Westerners as a whole are perceived by other peoples as arrogant, and rightly so. My own initial reaction to living in Japan was typical. Anything that Japan did that was different from how it was done in the West was wrong. I was constantly preaching to my Japanese friends (many soon to be ex-friends) and telling them what to do until it slowly dawned on me that I had more to learn that I had to teach.
The Western (especially US) leadership has been doing the same: telling and forcing countries to adopt two-party Democracy and the “Washington (read Wall St.) consensus” on economic management. What they failed to realize is that ever since military defeat in colonial times other countries and cultures have been diligently studying the West and drawing their own conclusions.
The West, meanwhile, never thought that perhaps they should be studying other civilizations for clues on how to improve their own. The result is that other countries, especially in Asia, have combined the best of the Western with the best of their traditional culture to create a vital new hybrid, leaving the West to catch up.
Sloth: the laziness that saps strength
At some hard to define point over the past few decades use of phrases like “protestant work ethic,” to describe hard working Westerners has been replaced with phrases like “couch potatoes.”
Westerners somehow thought they could let other countries do all the real work while they sat back and gave orders. The following joke sums up the situation fairly well:
“How many Anglo-Saxons does it take to change a light bulb?”
Answer: “Two, one to mix the martinis and another to look up an electrician in the phone book.”
This laziness resulted in over 30-years of merchandise trade deficits in most Western countries and the bankruptcy it has now led to.
Greed: the love of money over life
Perhaps the greatest sin among Western leaders. Enough has been written about the sins of greedy bankers that I do not need to say much. However, what many do not realize is that the love of money has literally made most Americans slaves to an artificial intelligence. Fantastical as it may seem, most of the profits generated by Wall Street are generated by artificial intelligences known as trading programs that have greed as their prime directive.
They rule Wall Street. Wall Street in turn is ruled by a single concept: seek money. The fountain of money, the Federal Reserve Board, functions like a single non-human mind run by massive computer networks. Most politicians and top military leaders in the US receive bribes and take orders from Wall Street and so in effect, they pillage the planet on behalf of an artificial intelligence motivated by greed.
Perhaps the best example of a black hole of greed sucking life and vitality out of the United States is Walmart. In order to maximize the “profits” or money for Walmart, the middle-class in the US and its industrial infrastructure have been decimated. The six members of the Walton family now have more money than the poorest 100 million Americans.
Wrath: the cruelty that destroyed Western moral superiority
There was a time when the West was seen as the champion of human rights and morality. Now the West is rightly seen by the rest of the world as a collection of rogue nations. The murder and pillaging of millions of people in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya are just the latest atrocities carried out by the fascist regime that took over power in the West after 911 in 2001. Western military forces now kill non-combatants, women and children in order to help fascist oligarchs steal their resources? Whatever happened to chivalry?
Gluttony: the West is literally eating the world
Westerners, the majority of whom are obese, have destroyed vast areas pristine wilderness to satisfy a lust for ever more food. The destruction of tropical rain forests for agribusinesses like cattle ranches and palm oil plantations are the single greatest reason why Western civilization has wiped out 30% of all land species on earth in the past 100 years. Overfishing is helping accomplish the same things in the oceans.
Greed for unnecessary food is wiping out variety in life that took billions of years to evolve. Hopefully the Chinese will do a better job of preserving global biodiversity.
Lust: Mistaken Malthusian fears of overpopulation have led Western rulers to do their best to divorce sex from procreation. Sex as a loveless non-reproductive sport is promoted through ubiquitous pornography. Homo-sexual marriage (that cannot produce children) is promoted while polygamy (that produces lots of children) is still criminalized in the West.
The result is that Western countries now all have shrinking, aging populations. The West is losing the battle of evolution which is won mostly in the bedroom.
Envy: The rulers of the West have been trying to start World War 3 and destroy 90% of humanity because they could not stand the idea of other cultures and nations surpassing them. It was their jealousy of other civilizations that led to their current international isolation.
So, what can the West do to recover?
Unfortunately, the first thing the West needs to do is what heroin addicts have to do to break their addiction: go cold turkey. In this case it is money addiction that needs to be cured. Money has no meaning unless it is backed by stuff that actually exists in the real world. That means Westerners have to start making stuff again. That means working again. To reverse what the Asian bar girls say: “No honey, no money.”
The West also needs to drain all the fraudulent money out of the political and economic system until money has real value again. The United States needs to stop using the foreign owned and operated, misnamed US dollar and start issuing its own currency. The Southern European nations also need to get off the Euro.
That will mean a temporary, and very brief, time when imports will suddenly become expensive. That is the pain.
Then there will be plenty of local manufacturing jobs as people buy local and exports are competitive again. There will also be plenty of tourist business creating jobs. That is the gain.
More importantly the countries of the West need to revamp their political and economic systems. They need to start imitating the Chinese and places like Singapore and create a hybrid between meritocracy and democracy.
The Chinese pioneered meritocracy with their imperial exams but, as my father once put it, “wasted it by devoting it all to memorizing those blasted ancient texts.” The British copied the system and improved it by basing the entrance exams on more modern and relevant topics. The Chinese then re-adopted that system and started adding their own improvements.
The new Chinese system combines meritocracy with real time democracy. Their leadership responds to opinion polls and blogs on a daily basis because they know that to do otherwise would lead to a loss of the Mandate of Heaven.
This system is still being tinkered with and improved but there can be no doubt the world’s center of economic gravity has shifted to China and will continue to do so as long as their system of government remains superior. However, the Chinese know from their own historical experience that a single central source of power, no matter how competent or benevolent, leads eventually to stagnation.
The West needs make sure we do not end up with a one-China world by setting up its own competing meritocratic systems. The pentagon is one example of a successful Western meritocracy that can be used as a model for a new system. The main, and fatal, flaw of the pentagon was that it was parasitical and not self-supporting.
The legal system remains perhaps the healthiest remaining part of the Western world but it too has been seriously undermined by corruption and lack of accountability or transparency.
Democracy was also a very good system in the past. It worked very well in a small city state where the rumour-mill provided freedom of information and town meetings could be called spontaneously in response to needs. However, it has been debased in most of the modern West by bribery, fraud, censorship, brain-washing and an inability to respond in real time to the emerging group-mind that is evolving on the internet.
That is why a new future planning agency needs to be established from the ground up so that it can incorporate the best methods and models from throughout the world and from the historical past.
If it is done right, the West can fully harness it’s still superior science and technology to help create an ideal world in harmony with nature and all humanity. What are we waiting for?