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Why Did the West Dominate?

Autor:   •  January 18, 2019  •  948 Words (4 Pages)  •  169 Views

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counterparts on the other hand, much in the vain of capitalism, used innovation and change, allowing merchants to have an upper hand against their competition. There were no incentives to change or surpass the norm in China, which is one of the reasons there was a distinct difference in productivity between both powers. This refusal to change and innovate is one of the seeds of the Ming Dynasty’s undoing later on.

The notion that the West would be the most dominant power would have been foolish to anyone during the Middle Ages. The dynasties prevailing in China were so far ahead in so many regards, with architecture outclassing that of London, world changing inventions like gunpowder, paper, and the printing press, and a fleet of tens of enormous treasure ships, led by Zheng He. Even with so many possibilities at their fingertips, centuries before Europe could stand on its own two legs, China never capitalised on their head-start. The ideology at the root of their dynasty, was Confucianism, a principle did not promote change, and instead promoted an inward focus. Much in an ironic turn of events, the Europeans capitalised on Chinese inventions, improving upon them, and even selling them back to the very people who originated them, just as with the clock. Their greed and taste for economic and political expansion, such as with Vasco de Gama, led to Europe gaining the lead. Vasco de Gama, through cannon-fire and cutlass, generated a wave of exploration throughout Europe, while Ming China prohibited any and all sea exploration after Yongle’s death.

The turn of the tides that led to the domination of the west can be attributed to competition and the resulting innovation in fields of science, trade, and politics. The “patchwork quilt” of autonomous states that vied for power and wealth, encouraged innovation. Through cannon fire and cutlass, they sought expansion both politically and economically. The turn in-wards from the Ming Dynasty proved fatal, despite their hundred year headstart in technology and philosophy, as conformity and uniformity replaced innovation, which set them behind other rising global powers. This, among other reasons, is why Europe, a broken amalgamation of corrupt states, managed to become the most powerful empire of all time, and why China fell behind.


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