The End of Western Civilization



Just the opposite IMO. They won’t be held back by the precautionary principle or conservative estimates. They will follow the science and engineer it to their benefit. Plus with a huge population they are guaranteed to find innovators.

We’ll see what happens in Africa in the next decade or two to see if China has really stepped up or not.

Right but it doesn’t represent all of America. There are terrible parts of America, but good parts as well. The government in China is evil, they are the worst, but there is more to china than that and on a performance level, some things we can be aware that they do better and emulate them in a way that fits in with the ethics and morality of our own societies

Ok, well I think where we disagree is that I believe most of what you point to in China only works when it takes place on the Chinese foundation of military-civil fusion, industrialized IP theft, state-owned enterprises, cronyism, human rights abuses and protectionism.

Precautionary principle is way bigger in China.
Conservative estimates, not what innovative companies are known for.

Already answered to that, scroll back.

Exactly, we’ll see…

In what fields?

Their genetic, bio-medical, AI and nuclear plans definitely aren’t being held back by it.


Yeah China doesn’t give a fuck about AI ethics

Facial recognition that can detect if someone is a Uighur and set an alarm

The state is more controlling and people are afraid to step out. It is actually dangerous to step out. Right, there is huge investment on subjects that interest the state. But innovation is not really predictable so easier in a more free society.

Happy for others to disagree :slight_smile: it’s a healthy conversation.

I do agree that free democracy with proper transparency is an infinitely better environment for creativity and innovation.

We just need to get our democracies working properly. Because they aren’t

That’s everything for me, an imperfect system, the adjustments, the errors, the benefits of mistakes.

Fair enough. I’m not suggesting it’s quite as dramatic. However I do think the West has dug itself into a hole that it can’t climb out of - and to be clear, I’m speaking mostly of the UK and Europe here. I simply don’t know enough about the US scenario to comment either way.

OK, I’ll give it another go. My position is not that Western Civilisation has collapsed in a material sense. I’m suggesting that it has lost its mojo, its fundamental raison d’etre, and is therefore in imminent danger of collapse. You are right that the process started (particularly for the UK) some time ago. I’m suggesting that the process is now complete: nothing now remains of what made Great Britain great. It’ll stumble along for a while, and then it’ll realise it has no legs and fall flat on its face.

I’m referring particularly to two things that have become abundantly clear during the COVID-19 shitshow:

  • A widespread willingness to believe in totalitarian forms of government (as other people have pointed out above). This manifests not only in the “oh, won’t you please barricade us in our homes and treat us like the filth that we are?” calls for lockdowns and other draconian interventions, but also the endless fawning over China.
  • A madness-of-crowds scenario in which reason and logic has been tossed out of the window, and I suspect this is because reason and logic are no longer taught, or valued, in academia. These things have been largely supplanted by postmodernist forms of reasoning which resemble pre-Enlightenment quasi-religious beliefs.

These things are going to be very hard to recover from, because once the totalitarian ball is rolling, there aren’t many things that will stop it. Totalitarianism is predicated on a very simple psychological premise:

  • There is no such thing as an evil person (more commonly known as ‘no guilty people in jail’). In other words, virtually nobody would look inside themselves and say “I am evil”. Everyone thinks of themselves as acting from the highest motives. This is a recurring trope in fiction, eg., this little soliloquy:

All that needs to happen to establish a totalitarian dictatorship is this:

  • Set up some enormous, largely-fictional problem (the “big lie” that Hitler famously wrote about) that must be solved via outrageous acts.
  • Saturate society with the existential threat posed by this problem, such that the proposed acts are acceded to, or at least ignored.

Even if the lie is discovered, people will continue to lie to themselves and support the acts of the State, because to face the truth every ordinary person would have to admit: “I condoned evil. I am a bad person”. And that simply isn’t going to happen.

COVID-19, then, opened the way to widespread, probably-fatal corruption of the Western commitment to Truth.

I think you’ve misunderstood my point here. To describe China as a shithole is an understatement. It’s a failure. But it is a very big failure, and within that big failure is a core of successful, competent and dedicated people (as is true of many failed states) who are able to leverage mediocrity to realise some Goals. One of their goals is the destruction of what the West stands for. Not their capacity to buy stuff - as you correctly said, China relies heavily on the West for trade - but to eviscerate their beliefs and make them subservient to Communism with Chinese Characteristics.

When I speak of Chinese “success”, I am speaking only in that exceedingly narrow sense. Their goal is, and always has been, to wreak revenge for past wrongs. And by a combination of luck, circumstance, and judgement, they’re finally in a position to strike the fatal blow.

Well, exactly. This is what I was suggesting.

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Bringing up human rights and forced labour are legitimate issues. However let’s take a look at history and get the perspective.

The entire western society progressed because of cheap, exploitable labor and material from the rest of the world. The west had great thinkers and planners. But they could never have achieved the level of wealth they had, had it not been for centuries of plunder of lands like Africa, India, Indo China, etc.

China today is way 200-300 years behind in personal wealth. They’re doing the same thing what the west did to hoard immense wealth.

China had the largest gdp in the world for 19 of 20 centuries. It did it’s fair share of plundering in the past.

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I see what you mean, but that isn’t really what the precautionary principle is.

But if innovators are being cautious because of the state, that isn’t good. I agree.

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I’ve never seen any fundamental, cutting edge innovation here in Asia after working as an engineer here, in Japan, South Korea, China, India, Thailand and Malaysia for years. Japan comes closest but its innovations are still incremental rather than epoch making — of the sort that spawn brand new technologies/industries from nothing.

Vaccines for COVID-19 are a good example. You’d be waiting a while if you were relying on Asia to come up with something as new and innovative as an mRNA vaccine for COVID. Asia will - as usual - end up being the manufacturing hub for mRNA vaccines eventually but not for now.

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Not so sure about this. The West is punching itself in the face. China’s shadow boxing. Correlation is not causation.

If we’re all f*cked and it makes some Chinese guys who have inferiority complexes feel better about themselves to believe they delivered the fatal blow, :man_shrugging:

Humanity has screwed itself. We thought we were the tree and as it turned out, we are just a dead branch on it.

The tragic legacy of slavery is something that haunts the US to this day, but the US is not the only Western society that benefited from slave labor. I’ve found it interesting as an American to travel to countries like the Netherlands, France, UK, etc., where tons of people don’t really appreciate how much slavery benefited their countries because by in large the slaves weren’t brought to their shores.

In the US, we have to face up to the history of slavery (and struggle with it) because a large enough portion of our population descends from slaves who were brought to our shores.

Also, it’s important to note that the Arabs were big time slave traders as well. They dominated the East African and Indian Ocean slave trade.

Basically, you could sum up human history as “for all the wonderful things we’ve accomplished, humans treat other humans like shit.”


Japan does have fundamental innovation.
In the area of oligo drugs and stem cell medicine Japan is the world leader.
They also are innovators in fermentation (no surprise I guess).
Then we know they were/are the leaders in fuel cell development and were the leaders in the past for some chip and display tech. I think they were the first that really used mobile apps and QR code all that stuff.
High speed trains . Maglevs. Robotics.
These are just some examples I’m familiar with.
It’s very hard to say one innovation spawned a whole new area. That’s not usually how things work.
It’s a combination of different things coming together e.g. the internet , the cloud .

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Going back to China, what I’m seeing in the last three years in Retail is that the West is losing it’s mojo. Chinese brands are kicking the ass of Western counterparts (in China) and there have been quite a few notable exits from the market. Chinese brands act like startups, they are younger and more agile and always ready to try wild new shit and innovation in marketing and experience. They are data and digitally focused and are amazing at personalization.

Western brands in comparison are conservative, led by stuffy expats and HQ and just don’t seem to have the mojo anymore.

A lot of this innovation and business models are culturally specific and only some can be exported, but the spirit of innovation is clearly there right now. You are even seeing Facebook trying to replicate the Tencent ecosystem social commerce model with its coming integration of FB/Instagram/WhatsApp together with shopify.

A lot of fields China is lagging, but we weren’t talking about them leading anything a decade ago.

※※※ Note※※※※
Not an endorsement of the Chinese state or human rights abuses