The West and the rest
During the last 500 years, the living conditions of humans on this planet changed dramatically because of modernisation. Modernisation involves division of labour, industrialisation, urbanisation, social mobilisation, and increased education and wealth. Social mobilisation means organising via purpose-based groups, for instance, corporations. Expanding scientific and engineering knowledge allows us to shape our environment in unprecedented ways. Modernisation is one of the most dramatic changes in the history of humankind.
The West was the first civilisation to modernise. But why? Samuel Huntington mentions the characteristics of Western civilisation that he believed to be crucial for modernisation.1 It is not clear to what extent these features will remain important in the future, but modernisation itself affects nearly everyone in this world. And so, finding clues about what might constitute a future global civilisation and culture includes investigating which elements of Western culture could be universal rather…
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