Why The West Rules-- For Now : The Patterns Of ...
So, as in all departments of life, it is a game of leapfrog, standing on the shoulders of our elders, reaching for new ways to explain why things change. It remains essential for such work to be embedded in all the other ways of studying history, otherwise it can easily suffer from the distortions of reductionism; that is, of not recognizing that new and unexpected patterns emerge from the growth in complexity. Fortunately, Morris avoids the pitfalls of a narrow positivism by his impressively wide scholarship.
Why the West rules-- for now : the patterns of ...
Morris answers the question quantitatively. He begins with theDNA-dispersion patterns laid down when people moved out of Africa.Incorporating evidence of worship, urbanization, centralized authority, toolsand the harnessing of energy, he analyses many societies, over 100- and1,000-year intervals. The West usually scores higher than the East, but notalways.
Now, at the beginning of the 21st century, many worry that the emerging economic power of China and India spells the end of the West as a superpower. In order to understand this possibility, we need to look back in time. Why has the West dominated the globe for the past 200 years, and will its power last? Describing the patterns of human history, the archaeologist and historian Ian Morris offers surprising new answers to both questions. It is not, he reveals, differences of race or culture, or even the strivings of great individuals that explain Western dominance. It is the effects of geography on the everyday efforts of ordinary people as they deal with crises of resources, disease, migration, and climate. As geography and human ingenuity continue to interact, the world will change in astonishing ways, transforming Western rule in the process.
Cliodynamics is a transdisciplinary area of research integrating historical macrosociology, cultural and social evolution, economic history/cliometrics, mathematical modeling of long-term social processes, and the construction and analysis of historical databases.\u00A0Cliodynamics: The Journal of Quantitative History and Cultural Evolution\u00A0is an international, peer-reviewed, open-access journal that publishes original articles advancing the state of theoretical knowledge in this transdisciplinary area. In the broadest sense, this theoretical knowledge includes\u00A0general principles\u00A0that explain the functioning, dynamics, and evolution of historical societies and specific\u00A0models, usually formulated as mathematical equations or computer algorithms.\u00A0Cliodynamics\u00A0also has\u00A0empirical content\u00A0that deals with discovering general historical patterns, determining empirical adequacy of key assumptions made by models, and testing theoretical predictions with data from actual historical societies. A mature, or \u2018developed theory\u2019 thus integrates models with data; the main goal of\u00A0Cliodynamics\u00A0is to facilitate progress towards such theory in history and cultural evolution.
Describing the patterns of human history, the archaeologist and historian Ian Morris offers surprising new answers to both questions. It is not, he reveals, differences of race or culture, or even the strivings of great individuals, that explain Western dominance. It is the effects of geography on the everyday efforts of ordinary people as they deal with crises of resources, disease, migration, and climate. As geography and human ingenuity continue to interact, the world will change in astonishing ways, transforming Western rule in the process.
Suresh is correct: it is a very good book. And it is not about "why the west rules for now." it is, instead, Ian Morris's ecological materialist interpretation of global history, very well written, well argued, and well documented. I learned a lot from it.
Humans have, Morris believes (and I agree), a common biology and also a common sociology: people whether they are East or West will think thoughts and arrange themselves in patterns that make sense to them given the ecological, material, and technological constraints and opportunities they see. What drives differences, Morris believes, is differences in geography.
Morris's "West" runs from Santiago to Vancouver to Rijkavik to Moscow to Chandigarh to Cairo and back to Santiago. It is made up of all the wheat lands, as opposed to the non-west of rice and millet. Manchester vs. Shanghai is certainly an interesting issue, but so are Manchester vs. Kiev, Manchester vs. Seville, Manchester vs. Cairo, Manchester vs. Karachi, Manchester vs. Samarkand.
According to a new NOAA-sponsored study, natural oceanic and atmospheric patterns are the primary drivers behind California's ongoing drought. A high pressure ridge off the West Coast (typical of historic droughts) prevailed for three winters, blocking important wet season storms, with ocean surface temperature patterns making such a ridge much more likely. Typically, the winter season in California provides the state with a majority of its annual snow and rainfall that replenish water supplies for communities and ecosystems.
The Navy is anticipating powerful payoffs of reduced costs, shortened cycle times and enhanced IT service for our warfighting and business customers. The DON must be positioned to get the most value from these digital investments. The NMCI will bring enterprise-level issues that span the very essence of how we conduct business and support warfighting. Information sharing on these new "roads" will allow greater knowledge. As importantly, new information sharing patterns and processes emerge, so will organizational and cultural changes inherent in a "digital democracy." 041b061a72