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Why was Europe First?

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    Posted: 19-Sep-2006 at 16:04
The Greeks Help Advance Europe through the ages
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  Quote bagelofdoom Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19-Sep-2006 at 16:37
@Preobrazhenskoe
Thanks, I guess that I did remember the arguments Diamond used well enough.
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  Quote Majkes Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19-Sep-2006 at 16:40
I would add development of economy - capitalism which was far more efficient than any other type of ecomomy.
Greeks and Romans are father and mother of Europe or rather the opposite mother and father. So they defenately had their huge part in Europe's success.
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  Quote Ikki Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19-Sep-2006 at 17:04
Originally posted by Kids

The wikipedia has suggested this article is "The factual accuracy of this article or section is disputed". Thus, this is not a report from academic source.

However, the website I provided, which is from foremost experts in Asia history from Columbia University.
 
Also, China has been an independent political entity, unified writing system, philosophy since 200 BC.
 
India, however, has no unified language, belief, and even today, English (the colonial language) is the perfered language among elites (my ex-girlfriend is from India).  


Is disputed because the arguments of Maddison is disputed, not because innacuracies of the dates with the work of Angus Maddison, who is an academic source. Althought i have my doubts about his dates, he is the only source for previous time to 1800; curiously, in other discussions, the chinese guys give me these dates proving the great size of the chinese economy over the european.

India was diverse... like Europe Wink In fact as we see according with the only academic comparasion avalaible, the major economy was indian overpassing both to China and Europe the majority of the time. (Doubts for example, the Roman Empire isn't in the list, only portions of his territory)


Edited by Ikki - 19-Sep-2006 at 17:15
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  Quote Siege Tower Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19-Sep-2006 at 17:41
seriously, all i m asking was the cause of the acceleration in ecnomy, technology...., please ignore whatever you think is offencive
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  Quote Maharbbal Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20-Sep-2006 at 02:12
@siegetower:

I don't have a clue about China but here is for Europe. There are a few key economic facts that helped if not trigered the development of the European dominion.

One of the most important is the rise of the states. They gave Europe an unchallenged military organization back by an innovative way of using human resources and weapons.
Besides, the centralized state allowed a increasing trade security: trade rules were enforced by the state crossing no border from Manchester to London was in itself very profitable. Patents also became available and being an inventor became very profitable moneywise.
One could also argue that new religions more business friendly such as Protestantism or the rise of pratical atheism was important as well along with the dawn of modern scientific spirit with Descarte, Bacon and Newton.
All that allowed the development of a significant commercial aand industrial community all over Europe instauring confidence and trust which ultimately are the two engines of any major economic development.

My view.

Finally ignore whoever tells you to read Jarred Diamond's books I've been tricked twice and I swear never again.
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  Quote Siege Tower Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20-Sep-2006 at 07:41
thank you Maharbbal i see your point and it's wonderful
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  Quote Timotheus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20-Sep-2006 at 22:02
I prefer Hanson's hypothesis to Diamond's. I've recommended it before and I'll recommend it again. Carnage and Culture. Awesome book.
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  Quote Gun Powder Ma Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22-Sep-2006 at 11:03
Originally posted by Siege Tower

since we all know that in the begining of the 15th century, europe was very primative compare to Ming empire in eastern asia,


If Europe was "very primitive" compared to Ming China as late as the 1400s, then the Chinese must have come across to the Europeans in the ensuing centuries as total savages.

I think you should be more careful with your phrasing. Not because it is politically incorrect to say such a thing, but because it is wrong. There were quite a few things in Renaissance Europe which would have made a Chinese visitors gasp.


Originally posted by Siege Tower

why did the Chinese loose their technology lead over Europe in the 1700s? what was so special about Europe that it fostered liberal, pluralistic capitalism?

How could China maintain a lead in technology until the 1700s, when its last major innovation dated back to 1250? And even that, printing with metal letters, was COMPLETELY superseded by Gutenberg's printing press as soon as 1450.



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  Quote Gun Powder Ma Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22-Sep-2006 at 11:17
Originally posted by Vivek Sharma

The leader was Asia proper...


How could Asia have been the leader if it does not even constitute a cultural entity of any sort?

The Muslims always viewed themselves in their Ummah, separated from everybody else. The Chinese worldview was strictly sinocentric, but not asia-centric. The Indians...I do not know..you tell me what concept of Asia they may have had.

There has been no concept of one Asia, until European explorers confirmed its geographical shape and Asian reformers copied European concepts. And even today there are 4, 5, 6 different Asias.

So how can you group up Asia against Europe when Asia was not even there until it was created directly or indirectly by European influence?


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  Quote Siege Tower Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22-Sep-2006 at 15:59
do some reading, chinese invented printing press for it was recorded by a book written in 13th century, it is always okay to ask abut what you don t know, instead of jump into the conclusion, that's just pathetic, besides i think that i did mention to ignore what ever you think is offensive
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  Quote Hrothgar Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22-Sep-2006 at 20:50
Originally posted by Gun Powder Ma

If Europe was "very primitive" compared to Ming China as late as the 1400s, then the Chinese must have come across to the Europeans in the ensuing centuries as total savages.

I think you should be more careful with your phrasing. Not because it is politically incorrect to say such a thing, but because it is wrong. There were quite a few things in Renaissance Europe which would have made a Chinese visitors gasp.

In terms of architectural heritage and works of art i think Europe has no peer.

i went to China two summers ago and really, outside of the tourist traps of the Great Wall, the forbidden palace, and some museums, there's really nothing noteworthy.

i think any chinese visitor, then or now, would be impressed by Europe's many castles, cathedrals, statues, her magnificent cities like Prague, Venice, Rome, Florence, etc. and just the overall quality of the masonry.  I call this 'living history' where one can observe things like Colloseum, or the aquaducts, as opposed to Terra Cotta warriors behind glass.  In terms of eye candy, there's so much more to see.  In China, the evidence of civilization was a bit less tangible, but nonetheless our tour guide would remind us constantly how 'ancient' and 'glorious' chinese civlization was.  Perhaps it is.  But that history is mostly found in books.

Perhaps the differences between the West and East were dichotomous at this level.  Europeans expressed themselves in architecture and their conquering of nature and thus built beautiful things all around them, whereas Chinese did something completely different?  Just a theory.
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  Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22-Sep-2006 at 23:42
There are many reasons for your Q.The time period was the bigining of the new modern world and  economical development of the early modern world and the decline of the feudel system and the growth of commerce. The growth of international trade and the new banking system(The loan bank) in 1614 the Bourse includind a fully developed stock exchange and company share system with a very low interest rate. The Marine Assurance Chamber in 1598 and the grain Bourse in 1616 which formed the central machinery of the economy almost a large portion of the world trade passed through and the cloth industry of Leiden the largest in the world at that time. The oceangoing unarmed boat cheap to build which they carried corn timber salt sugar .increase in the agricultural sector and the duging for the fist time long range fresh water chanels some of them reaced a 60 to 65 km long to supply water to the increasing number of the European population approaching over 100,000,000, and the industrial expansion and the rise of the entrepreneur and the labour market ,the voyages of discovery and the colonisation of new world lands using them for agricultural and industreal purposes.
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  Quote Siege Tower Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25-Sep-2006 at 07:30
thank you, that's all i needed
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  Quote Gun Powder Ma Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25-Sep-2006 at 09:49
Originally posted by Siege Tower

do some reading, chinese invented printing press for it was recorded by a book written in 13th century...


The Chinese or Koreans did not know presses because they were not acquainted with the concept of a continuous screw before the 1500s. In Europe, in contrast, the screw was invented by the Greeks in the fourth or third century BC and the olive press caem into use by the Romans from the first century BC on.

After more than a millenia of agricultural use, Gutenberg was then the VERY FIRST to apply a press for printing around the world. Better you do some reading.


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  Quote perikles Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25-Sep-2006 at 14:45
In order to see which civilization was more advanced we have to see one fact. Usually the civilization that dicovers first the other one is usually more advanced. In that case Europeans came to East not Chinese to West. Now the reasons that Europeans became more advance and had more rapid evolution than chinese is another fact. After all Europeans have the culture, the knowledge and the idea of commerce, banking systems, creating ships and military etc. Europeans have as a base the Greek and later the Roman civilization. That helps a lot. They found many things ready(mathematics, strateges, politics, lawsystem etc) and they develop those thing. On the other hand Chinese was alone. I think that we compare a continent with a single nation. This is unfaire even if you think that the population of China is greater than Europes. But though the similarities of the civilizations of the European countries we consider them as a unique civilization.
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  Quote BigL Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25-Sep-2006 at 18:40
Originally posted by Gun Powder Ma

Originally posted by Siege Tower

do some reading, chinese invented printing press for it was recorded by a book written in 13th century...


The Chinese or Koreans did not know presses because they were not acquainted with the concept of a continuous screw before the 1500s. In Europe, in contrast, the screw was invented by the Greeks in the fourth or third century BC and the olive press caem into use by the Romans from the first century BC on.

After more than a millenia of agricultural use, Gutenberg was then the VERY FIRST to apply a press for printing around the world. Better you do some reading.


 
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  Quote Preobrazhenskoe Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25-Sep-2006 at 20:18
Originally posted by perikles

In order to see which civilization was more advanced we have to see one fact. Usually the civilization that dicovers first the other one is usually more advanced. In that case Europeans came to East not Chinese to West. Now the reasons that Europeans became more advance and had more rapid evolution than chinese is another fact. After all Europeans have the culture, the knowledge and the idea of commerce, banking systems, creating ships and military etc. Europeans have as a base the Greek and later the Roman civilization. That helps a lot. They found many things ready(mathematics, strateges, politics, lawsystem etc) and they develop those thing. On the other hand Chinese was alone. I think that we compare a continent with a single nation. This is unfaire even if you think that the population of China is greater than Europes. But though the similarities of the civilizations of the European countries we consider them as a unique civilization.
 
Your first point about Europe "discovering" China first, which I assume is one way of gauging it. In this case, the Chinese traveler Wang Dayuan would precede the Portuguese who first landed at Macao, since it was Wang who sailed into the Mediterranean Sea (with escorts from Aden) and traveled up the North African coast as far as Morocco in the 1330s AD. I guess it depends on if you consider Morocco just south of Spain part of the Western World.
 
In your second point, Europe evolving much faster than China due to underlying economic systems of banking and free commerce, creating ships, and raising military forces. If I'm not mistaken, during the Middle Ages, China (in the form of the Tang and Song Dynasties) was the most affluent nation on earth, a reason why Europeans during the Middle Ages coveted "Cathay" or Asian riches. It's no secret that the Chinese gentry-scholars drafted as bureaucrats from the Imperial Exams and running the government despised the great amount of wealth coming from the most affluent of merchants, whom they saw as largely parasitic to the labor of the farming peasants, artisan craftsmen, and other groups within society. Also, it was no secret that the government held several widescale monopolies on things such as salt, iron, liquor, silk, and porcelain. However, all other enterprises and commodities-for-production besides the ones I just listed were free-trade and fair-grounds for average and wealthy Chinese merchants to pursue.
 
In regards to creating oceangoing ships and raising military forces, the Chinese during the Middle Ages crafted enormous naval fleets and drafted large naval forces to patrol in riverine areas in southern China, the vast coastline of China, as foreign assistance (like the the Yamato Japanese naval invasion of Korea during the 5th to 7th centuries AD, Sui Dynasty China had invaded Korea previously, but Tang China aided the Korean Silla Kingdom against the Japanese, finally defeating the Japanese in an allied effort in 663 AD, where Japan wouldn't attempt to invade Korea again until the Imjin War of the 1590s), as well as to provide military escort to large groups of merchant vessels and Chinese tributary collectors sailing into the South East and into the waters of the Indian Ocean to perform trade actions or collect tribute from regions such as Korea, Japan, Malaysia, Thailand, Sri Lanka, India, Persia, Arabia, East Africa, etc. China was most certainly not "isolated" as you point out, they were merely "isolated" from Europe and the Americas during the Middle Ages. Everywhere else, the Chinese made their presence. The Chinese easily could have rounded the tip of Africa and sailed up the Western African coast all the way to Europe...however, unlike Europe, they had no drive or desire to do so, whereas European monarchs were obsessed with filling their coffers with gold and silver to sustain dominance over competing European kingdoms, and since Europe understood (or at least believed to be true) that Asia was filled with prosperous kingdoms full of riches (which in fact it was), they were motivated to seek and explore, and ultimately to colonize and uphold overseas empires to provide their kingdoms back at home with a constant flow of foreign raw materials and precious metals. In contrast, the Chinese believed (with good reason) that most of what China needed was grown, produced, and manufactured indigenously within China already, and therefore overseas trade should be limited and only when there were certain benefits involved (like selling luxurious lacquerwares, silks, and porcelain goods to Indians, Arabs, etc.). Although China contended with the kingdoms of Korea and Japan during the Middle Ages, their main contendors and external threat came from the north, from the nomadic tribes. And let's face it, they weren't as powerful or advanced as the Chinese (save moments like the Jurchen, Mongolian, or Manchurian invasions, however, all of which could have been avoided and beaten back, as it was more of political failure than military failure of the Chinese to stop these two groups from encroaching into China). In contrast, falling behind in advances such as technological achievement or lack of raising a sound naval and land force meant almost certain extinction of one kingdom's power over another. The Chinese had different drives in their society's needs besides competition with external threats in order to achieve high levels of innovation, a completely different mindset and situation than the European conscience.
 
Last but not least, your point on European mathematics, politics, their unique systems of law, and strategy. This I would need you to be a bit more specific on, because there were many different political alignments, mathematical standards, different laws, etc., for nearly every single region of Europe during the Middle Ages. European mathematics have a long tradition since the early Greek mathematicians, yet the Chinese tradition of high mathematics stems back yet as far, and advanced to a high zenith degree of indigenous innovation during the Middle Ages. As far as laws go, that's a complicated matter that differs from region-to-region during the Middle Ages in Europe, yet since China was unified by the Tang and then Song during the Middle Ages, universal codified law was extended throughout the entire Chinese empire, which differed from Europe, since Europe, unlike in previous times like the Roman Empire, was not united under one system of universal law. That's but one nuance and difference between Medieval Chinese codified law and Medieval European codified law (which makes Europe more at odds with different factions, but diverse nonetheless, and therefore much greater chance of a certain region being able to promote campaigns of seafaring than others). If anything, I would say the most accurate thing you mentioned was politics, with European seafarers looking to various monarchs like Columbus did to Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain to fund voyages across the Atlantic. With this in mind, one must consider the very complicated and sophisticated political intrigue and atmosphere during this age and this new drive to discover and to expand interests abroad. If you ask me, more than anything, the Renaissance was an underlying factor to drive Europe forward into the Age of Exploration. This and the general drive of competition between European kingdoms to gather riches in foreign gold and silver than other nations, in essence, to become the most affluent and therefore the ablest to dominate in foreign affairs.
 
Eric
P.S. Perikles: It is a fair assumption to compare ancient and Medieval China with the whole of Europe. Yes, it is correct that Europe is a patchwork of different cultures, societies, ethnicities, langauge groups, etc., but so is China (past and present). What we consider "China" today is Central Asia (Xinjiang), Tibet, Inner Mongolia, Manchuria, northern part of Indo-China, and last but not least, the heart of China, China proper, home of the Han ethnicity (which didn't even really exist as one unified culture and percieved ethnicity until the vastly unifying Han Dynasty in the 3rd century BC). There are hundreds of different classified ethnicities living within China today, much as there is in Europe. So when you say it's unfair to compare a single nation with the whole of Europe, think about these similarities between the two.   


Edited by Preobrazhenskoe - 25-Sep-2006 at 23:47
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  Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25-Sep-2006 at 23:48
Originally posted by Ikki

Originally posted by Kids

The wikipedia has suggested this article is "The factual accuracy of this article or section is disputed". Thus, this is not a report from academic source.

However, the website I provided, which is from foremost experts in Asia history from Columbia University.
 
Also, China has been an independent political entity, unified writing system, philosophy since 200 BC.
 
India, however, has no unified language, belief, and even today, English (the colonial language) is the perfered language among elites (my ex-girlfriend is from India).  


Is disputed because the arguments of Maddison is disputed, not because innacuracies of the dates with the work of Angus Maddison, who is an academic source. Althought i have my doubts about his dates, he is the only source for previous time to 1800; curiously, in other discussions, the chinese guys give me these dates proving the great size of the chinese economy over the european.

India was diverse... like Europe Wink In fact as we see according with the only academic comparasion avalaible, the major economy was indian overpassing both to China and Europe the majority of the time. (Doubts for example, the Roman Empire isn't in the list, only portions of his territory)
 
I think you should dig a bit deeper into the population estimation sources that Maddison drew from.
Other than the fact that Maddison said the population for India is largely speculatory,
He took his population estimation for India in 1 A.D.(75 million) from "Biraben, Jean-Noel, 1980, An Essay Concerning Mankind's Evolution,Population, Selected Papers, December, table 2," which is rather on the high end of the scale of estimate. McEdvy and Jones for example only gave 34 million for that period, Durand gave 46 million, and Maddison himself gave 55 million for India. But for some reason,Maddison chose Biraben's estimation which is no more detailed than the others, and much less likely since it proposed that India's population didn't grow between 1-1000 A.D.
Furthermore, Biraben himself estimated Chinese population to be 80 million. Maddison ignored that and used the Han census of 2 A.D. from the Han Shu di li zhi instead. In another word, he is using the estimation from one author while making some adjustments to parts of it but not the others. This completely screws up the methodology that was originally used.
 
Maddison major focused is on post 1500 Western European economic history, and Chinese economy since the Qing, he have not consulted earlier sources. In fact he said it himself that any data before 1500 are all speculatory. And the funny thing is he still take for granted traditional Chinese census for Chinese population when most modern historian already choose to be more moderate and less dependent on the census and focus on the demographic archeology instead.
 
Also, Europe and India is a bit general, they were never a single state and were more categorized as civilizations than states and shouldn't be compared with China, but rather, East Asia in general.

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  Quote Aster Thrax Eupator Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26-Sep-2006 at 04:26
BigL, my grandfather is a bookbinder and thus i think i am in a position to say that Gutenberg DID invent the printing press. Also, Wikipedia is not exactly known to be very reliable. Don't use Wikipedia for you sources or you may be ridiculed.
 
...Sorry, do you have the ISBN of that book "Carnage and Culture"? It sounds really good!
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