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When Asia Ruled the World
Nonfiction The Pudong skyline, Shanghai. Credit Lauryn Ishak for The New York Times Amazon Local Booksellers Barnes and Noble When you purchase an independently…
contrarian  west  empire  conflict  world  war  success  europe  fail  qing  ottoman  book  opinion  history  prediction  theory 
10 weeks ago by aries1988
讲稿|许宏:考古学视角下的“中国”诞生史
我们一直以来就存在着历史文献学和考古学两大话语系统,这两大话语系统最初是边界明显的:一边是历史文献上的伏羲、女娲、三皇五帝、夏商周王朝;一边是考古学上的前仰韶、仰韶、龙山、二里头、二里岗时代。这两大话语系统的合流是在殷墟。为什么是在殷墟?有一个绝对不可逾越的条件就是,当时有可以证明自己族属和王朝归属的文字材料出现,这才可以把这两大话语系统整合

从历史学阐释来讲,大家可能注意到了,我们正在逐渐放弃奴隶社会、封建社会的这样一些概念。比如像封建社会这样的概念,完全是误译和误用,完全不符合中国的历史实际。如果说中国有过封建时代的话,那么它应该指的是秦汉帝国之前西周王朝“封邦建国”的那个时代,它是一种政治的分权化,而不是后来大一统的、郡县制的、中央集权的东西。中国可能出现过奴隶,但是没有什么证据能证明当时存在过一个叫奴隶制的时代。在中国国家博物馆“古代中国陈列”中,开宗明义就说我们已经放弃了这套话语系统,但是在该馆对面的“复兴之路”那个展览上,半封建半殖民地社会这样的说法还有,这实际上也是社会进步比较大的一个表现。

大体上在距今四千年前后,有一个大的断裂,从那儿开始,像二里头、二里岗、殷墟文化就是所谓的夏商文化,这样大的中原文明出现了。我现在是二里头考古队的队长,二里头这个遗址既不是最大的,也不是最早的,但它是整个东亚大陆人类群团从多元走向一体,从满天星斗变成月明星稀的这么一个节点,而青铜在其中起到了极大的作用。

黄帝是土生土长的中国人吗?这也是个问题。黄帝号称轩辕氏,最拿手的是“以师兵为营卫”,善用兵车,而车完全是外来的。在青铜时代及之前,在五百年前的大航海时代之前,西北地区才是中国改革开放的前沿阵地,等于说陕北的重要性就在于它是连接欧亚大陆内陆和中原地区的一个纽带和桥梁,这样一看就明白了。

吉德炜教授从器物的组合来推想当时人们思维的复杂化,推想当时的制作是需要有一定的组织与管理,从而可能会导致思维的复杂化,甚至这种合作会导致语言的复杂化。而这种思维和语言方面的复杂化,使得整个东部的中国人在最初的时候是走在前列的,然后大家逐鹿中原,到最后才导致一个更高的文明实体出现。

说到中国的饮食习惯,南北方的主食完全不同、生活习俗完全不同,但是后来由于文字和整个政治架构的因素,被融合在了一起,这其中也有不少问题有待于探究。

德国著名汉学家雷德侯教授的《万物》一书,就是从模件和它的规模化生产,引申出中国人的行为方式甚至思维方式,像汉字的偏旁部首,也就那么几个,却让中国人出神入化地造出了那么丰富的汉字。

在这里,我们还发现了中国最早的中轴线布局的、四合院式的宫殿建筑群。大家知道,中轴线对中国人太重要了,坐北朝南、封闭式结构、土木建筑、中轴对称……这样一些建筑原则甚至是礼制、政治原则,一直为后代中国所承继。这些东西,从建中立极到中庸,甚至河南话的“中不中?中!”,这就是“中”文化,是原典文化。
用什么方式来显现类似于巴特农神庙那种带有纪念碑性质的东西呢?由于中国的土木建筑堆不高,我们就向纵深发展,“庭院深深深几许”,注重多进院落,大家说单进的四合院就是小门小户,三进的和五进的恐怕就得是贵族和王爷一级的居所了。

在二里头和此后的二里岗时期,就是郑州商城的那个时期,二里头和郑州商城以外,绝对不允许也不可能有任何一个地方能够或敢于铸造青铜礼器,这就是“国之大事,在祀与戎”。祭祀,就是青铜礼器这套东西;戎,就是绝对的打击能力。这也是“两手抓,两手都要硬”,这些就代表了当时“先进文化的发展方向”。这些东西使得二里头发达起来了,现在看来,这“立国之本”在古代和现代都是一样的。以前是祭祀,现在是开会,都是提高凝聚力。所以就是这样一套与礼制相关的东西已经开始出来了,大家看在此前是相对平等的社会,还没有这些东西。

整个黄河上、中、下游,包括三星堆都受到二里头的影响,三星堆青铜文明高度发达,已经到了殷墟时期,跟二里头比还是相对很晚的。在各地出土的跟二里头很相近的东西,模仿品,说明二里头的扩散应该不是强力的军事推进,而是各地的酋长、首长或者是人民选择性地接受二里头元素的产物,就是以它为高、为大、为上,导致文明向外扩散。

长程地看,前国家时代和国家文明还是泾渭分明的。这种向心、开放的聚落形态是属于原始民主制的,这样的模式跟这种封闭性、独占性、秩序性的聚落形态形成鲜明对比。不少著名学者在他们的书里都说,“不让看”是中国古代政治文明的一个重要特征,账本不让看、地图不让看、紫禁城不让看,它是封闭性的、独占性的,它很难形成广场上纪念碑式的东西,这些都是一脉相承的。大家看从二里头开始,整个大四合院的建筑、多进院落宫室建筑群一直到明清紫禁城,这是一脉相承发展下来的。
如果现在观察中国中西部农村,跟两千年以前,就是战国到汉代铁犁铧发明之后的农民生活,几乎是一样的,但我们不能说中国没有进步,还是要看都邑,看金字塔的塔尖。

我们如果放开眼界,就会发现以青铜冶铸为代表的一些外来的因素有东渐的趋势,很明显,这种交流和传递是一波一波的。我的下一本小书就想以“东亚青铜潮”为主题,以前甲骨文时代的千年变局为主线,从全球文明史的视角,来写这个宏阔的态势,探究中国是怎么诞生的。有种叫塞伊玛-图尔宾诺的文化现象在中亚地区最初出现年代比较早,可能对西北的齐家文化,甚至二里头文化产生过重要的影响,所以说那个时候我们不是封闭的,我们的青铜文明的发生大量吸收了外来的文化因素。

文字是否一定要通过几千年的积累才能成型?契丹文字和日本文字可以在很快的时间,吸收外来的刺激和影响后产生

比如说兵马俑,古代中国人的解剖学常识是非常差的,兵马俑那样的非常逼真的东西是纯本土的吗?甚至我们现在也有同仁在研究,像秦汉帝国这样大的帝国统治方式是不是我们自己的发明。要知道,在它二三百年之前,波斯帝国已经形成了,非常有意思。所以从这个意义上讲,只懂考古,已经搞不好考古了,只懂中国,已经搞不清中国了。是不是这样的道理?诸位年轻人外语非常好,一定要开阔眼界,在全球文明史的层面来看我们中华文明的形成。今后一定要从这样大的视野来做整合研究。
world  history  advice  archaeology  china  origin  opinion  asia  historiography 
11 weeks ago by aries1988
Huawei: The world's most controversial company - BBC News

Ren’s early days in business instilled in him a desire to protect his company from the whims and fancies of the stock market. Huawei is privately held and employee-owned. This gave Ren the power to plough more money back into research and development. Each year, Huawei spends US$20bn on R&D – one of the biggest such budgets in the world.

“Publicly listed companies have to pay a lot of attention to their balance sheets,” he says. “They can't invest too much, otherwise profits will drop and so will their share prices. At Huawei, we fight for our ideals. We know that if we fertilise our ‘soil’ it will become more bountiful. That's how we've managed to pull ahead and succeed.”

“Admittedly, what is missing from this debate is the smoking gun,” she says.

“For the average person who has a Huawei smartphone it’s not a big deal. But if you’re a Western government that has key national security to protect - why would you allow this access to a company that is in the political system that China is in?”
2019  china  corporation  world  reportage  interview 
march 2019 by aries1988
Opinion | Netflix Is the Most Intoxicating Portal to Planet Earth - The New York Times

This simple difference flips all of its incentives. It means that Netflix has a reason to satisfy every new customer, not just the ones in the most prosperous markets. Each new title carries subtitles in 26 languages, and the company is creating high-quality, properly lip-synced audio dubbing in 10 languages. For years, Netflix has roiled the film and TV business in Hollywood with its billions. Now it’s taking its money — the company spent $12 billion on content in 2018 and is projected to spend $15 billion this year — to film and TV producers in France, Spain, Brazil, India, South Korea and the Middle East, among other places.

It’s legitimate to ask how long Netflix will be able to keep up this cross-border conversation — whether, as it keeps growing, it will have to make legal or moral compromises with local censors or other would-be cultural arbiters. But I’m optimistic about its chances. Wouldn’t it be amazing if the internet did turn out to bring the world together after all?
netflix  culture  world  from:rss 
february 2019 by aries1988
宮崎市定:亚洲对欧洲近代化的贡献 | 海交史
独裁君主制原本起源于古代西亚,由于该制度对于大一统国家来说最为简便易行,所以罗马共和国在与西亚接触之后,也逐渐倾向于建立独裁制。随着穆斯林侵入伊比利亚半岛,当地也引入了西亚的独裁君主制。此后,西班牙对居住于半岛地区的穆斯林进行了驱逐,并在此建立了国家。西班牙不仅在文化方面,而且在政体上也吸纳了许多伊斯兰元素。于是在西欧的一角,就出现了西班牙这个实行独裁专制的君主国。

独裁君主制之所以被引入法国,很大程度上是由于波旁王朝的两代君主都从西班牙迎娶王后。路易十三及其子路易十四的王后都是西班牙王室成员的女儿,而路易十三的遗孀、曾辅佐路易十四的安妮太后,对法国宫廷的影响尤为深远。安妮之子路易十四长大后成为“太阳王”,并发出了“朕即国家”的豪言壮语,可以说绝非偶然。

这种认为人格的存在可以独立于宗教的主张,在作为现实问题被提出之前,必须面对极大的困难。对于那些长期以来不断与西亚的穆斯林进行斗争的欧洲基督徒来说,宗教上存在着鲜明的敌我关系,人与人之间非友即敌,除此之外再无第三种立场。在那个以宗教作为思想根基的时代,人们无法想象脱离宗教而又有文化教养的人类的存在。当一切皆处于非友即敌的对立状态时,想要抽象出对立双方的共通人性,实在是难上加难。

这种不依赖宗教的文明社会的存在,对于欧洲主张排斥宗教的论者来说是非常有力的武器。他们称,摆脱了宗教束缚的社会构成是有可能存在的,这一点已经在东亚得到了证实,那么将其实现于欧洲又有何不可?就这样,中国社会以被美化的理想化形象传入了欧洲。以往,传教士在中国出于传教之便,会否定儒教的宗教性,而这种否定儒教宗教性的中国观传到欧洲之后,却产生了意料之外的结果—它为欧洲的无神论者和革命思想家壮了声势。

然而,这种观念的传播并没有介绍儒教本身,而是介绍非敌非友的第三种世界。这种观念的传播本身,从更为根本的程度上动摇了欧洲的思想根基。人们原本很难从相互对立的敌我关系中抽象出共通的人性,但当第三者出现后,人们终于能够由此产生对整个人类社会的新的意识自觉。毫不夸张地说,在欧洲与西亚的敌对关系中,东亚长期以来一直扮演着无言的调停者的角色。
asia  europe  confucianism  china  history  world  politics 
december 2018 by aries1988
Jared Diamond: ‘Humans, 150,000 years ago, wouldn’t figure on a list of the five most interesting species on Earth’

It was a painful thought for someone who recalled being told, by an admiring teacher at his Massachusetts school, that one day he would “unify the sciences and humanities”. Clearly, he needed a larger canvas. Even so, few could have predicted how large a canvas he would choose.

1997’s Guns, Germs and Steel – which ask the most sweeping questions it is possible to ask about human history.

Diamond, who describes himself as a biogeographer, answers them in translucent prose that has the effect of making the world seem to click into place, each fact assuming its place in an elegant arc of pan-historical reasoning.

Why? Because 8,000 years ago – to borrow from Guns, Germs and Steel – the geography of Europe and the Middle East made it easier to farm crops and animals there than elsewhere.

vicious jousting between Diamond and many anthropologists. They condemn him as a cultural imperialist, intent on excusing the horrors of colonialism while asserting the moral superiority of the west.

In person, Diamond is a fastidiously courteous 77-year-old with a Quaker-style beard sans moustache, and archaic New England vowels: “often” becomes “orphan”, “area” becomes “eerier”. There’s no computer: despite his children’s best efforts, he admits he’s never learned to use one.

What changed, Diamond argues, was a seemingly minor set of mutations in our larynxes, permitting control over spoken sounds, and thus spoken language; spoken language permitted much of the rest.

It won a Pulitzer prize and has sold more than 1.5m copies in 36 languages. Mitt Romney quoted it admiringly in his 2012 presidential campaign, garbling its message entirely.

he found himself accused of “geographic determinism”: in his critics’ opinion, his arguments squeeze out any role for human agency and decision-making, thereby sparing history’s colonisers – and today’s elites – any responsibility for having created our grotesquely unjust world.

Each of the two books has the unusual distinction of having another book dedicated largely to demolishing it: Yali’s Question, which offers a different answer from Diamond’s New Guinean acquaintance, and Questioning Collapse, which calls the Easter Island “ecocide” a myth.

Whenever I hear the phrase ‘geographic determinism’,” he says, “I know I’m about to waste time discussing with someone who has no right to be discussing [how human societies developed]. Because the fact is that geography has a strong influence on humans. It doesn’t determine everything, but it has a strong influence
bio  book  leader  human  development  inequality  world  history  biology  environment  debate  theory  geography  opinion 
october 2018 by aries1988
‘Why Nations Fail’

the geography hypothesis

our revisionist take on the Neolithic Revolution, based on the idea that sedentary life and social complexity came before farming, suffers from a complete absence of evidence when in fact it is now the conventional wisdom amongst archaeologists.

Diamond suggests that, by eschewing geographic determinism, our theory is as if institutions appeared randomly.

our book explains how institutional variation today is largely a systematic outcome of historical processes

characteristics of diamonds and oil notoriously promote corruption and civil wars more than do characteristics of iron and timber.

Although their letter describes institutional variation today as a systematic outcome of historical processes, much of their book is actually devoted to relating story after story purportedly explaining how institutional variation developed unsystematically and at random, as a result of particular events happening in particular places at critical junctures.

cannot account for differences in prosperity today, which are huge within Eurasia

Acemoglu and Robinson are correct that the timing of the Neolithic Revolution doesn’t account for prosperity differences within Eurasia today;
theory  debate  inequality  world  economy 
october 2018 by aries1988
Professor Michael Puett in Conversation Julia Lovell - YouTube
33:52 censorship
37:30 Cambridge University Press
48:16 Utopia of getting rid of the Chinese Department. Hegel
https://youtu.be/edysgDkIKcU?t=5044 The most important question
Lovell: no soft power
china  history  historian  translation  world  university  west  today  softpower 
october 2018 by aries1988
日本的傲慢与梦想

日本人将当时的“世界”分为“化内”与“化外”。“化内”当然是指日本,“化外”分为三等:“邻国”、“番国”与“夷狄”。“邻国”是第一等,专指大唐一国。“番国”是第二等,指以新罗为首的朝鲜半岛诸国。而位于日本列岛南北端的虾夷、隼人、耽罗、舍卫,以及多褂岛等南岛人等,则被视为不受天皇恩泽感化的“夷狄”,位于世界边缘。在佛教传入并普及之后,日本人又形成了“三国(中国、印度、日本)世界说”,认为世界由中国(震旦)、印度(天竺)、以及日本三个中心国家构成,三国之下各有自己的藩属小国,世界秩序当然由这三国共同建构。

“天朝有兴战之策,小邦亦有御敌之图。论文有孔孟道德之文章,论武有孙吴韬略之兵法。又闻陛下选股肱之将,起精锐之兵,来侵臣境,水泽之地,山海之洲,自有其备!岂有跪途而奉之乎?”[8]
朱元璋清楚地记得忽必烈的惨痛教训。《明史·日本列传》说:“帝得表愠甚,终鉴蒙古之辙,不加兵也。” 他只好以大人不计小人过的样子宣布不与这个小国一般计较,并从此把日本列为不征之国,告诫子孙后代永远不要征伐日本。
japan  history  world 
october 2018 by aries1988
How Do You Take a Picture of a Black Hole? With a Telescope as Big as the Earth - The New York Times
near the core, that fog forms a great glowing Frisbee that rotates around a vast dark sphere. This is the supermassive black hole at the core of the Milky Way, the still point of our slowly rotating galaxy. We call it Sagittarius A*, that last bit pronounced “A-star.” The black hole itself is invisible, but it leaves a violent imprint on its environment, pulling surrounding objects into unlikely orbits and annihilating stars and clouds of gas that stray too close.

the inaugural run of the Event Horizon Telescope (E.H.T.), a virtual Earth-size observatory designed to take the first picture of a black hole. The E.H.T. uses a technique known as very long baseline interferometry (V.L.B.I.), in which astronomers at observatories on different continents simultaneously observe the same object, then combine the collected data on a supercomputer. The E.H.T.’s director, Shep Doeleman, a radio astronomer with the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, likes to call the E.H.T. “the biggest telescope in the history of humanity.” It has the highest resolution of any astronomical instrument ever assembled. It’s sharp enough to read the date on a nickel in Los Angeles from New York, to spot a doughnut on the moon and, more to the point, to take a picture of the black hole at the center of our galaxy — or, at least, its shadow.

The effort to get that picture speaks well of our species: a bunch of people around the world defying international discord and general ascendant stupidity in unified pursuit of a gloriously esoteric goal. And in these dark days, it’s only fitting that the object of this pursuit is the darkest thing imaginable.

The physicist Werner Israel put it better when he described a black hole as “an elemental, self-sustaining gravitational field which has severed all causal connection with the material source that created it, and settled, like a soap bubble, into the simplest configuration consistent with the external constraints.”

what a black hole would look like if illuminated by the glow from the superheated matter swirling around it. He did his calculations by feeding punch cards into a primitive computer. He drew the results by hand. His black-and-white images looked like twisted depictions of a black Saturn, with a ringlike accretion disk warped like taffy.

That this shadow might be visible from Earth depended on an astonishing set of circumstances. Earth’s atmosphere happens to be transparent to the electromagnetic radiation — in this case, certain microwaves — shining from the edge of the black hole, even though it blocks radiation of slightly longer and shorter wavelengths. The interstellar gunk lying between Earth and the galactic center also becomes transparent at those frequencies, as do the clouds of superheated matter just outside the black hole, blocking a view of the event horizon. Later in life, Fulvio Melia compared this alignment to the cosmic accidents that give us total solar eclipses. The moon is just the right size, in just the right orbit, at just the right distance from Earth that now and then it blocks the sun entirely. Fulvio wasn’t religious, but these coincidences were so unlikely that he couldn’t help but feel that the black-hole shadow was meant to be seen. The universe had arranged for humans to see to the nearest exit.

it’s hard to reconcile two conflicting theories if you can’t find something wrong with either one, and quantum theory, like general relativity, has passed every test. As a result, scientists have been looking for ever-more-extreme situations in which to test these theories. That led them to black holes.

To avoid poisoning one another’s minds — so that no one could accidentally nudge another group into seeing a black-hole shadow that wasn’t really there — these groups worked in isolation, making images using different algorithms and techniques, trying hard to discredit anything that looked too sharp, too clean, too likely to be the product of wishful thinking.
telescope  astronomy  scientist  world  project  Physics  law  research  relativity  quantum 
october 2018 by aries1988
In Defense of Empire - The Atlantic
From Rome’s widespread offer of citizenship to its subject peoples, to France’s offer of a measure of equality to fluent Francophone Africans, to Britain’s arrangement of truces among the Yemeni tribes, to the epic array of agricultural and educational services provided by the Europeans throughout their tropical domains—Britain’s Indian Civil Service stands out—imperialism and enlightenment (albeit self-interested) have often been inextricable.

That, I submit, would be a policy direction that internalizes both the drawbacks and the benefits of imperialism, not as it has been conventionally thought of, but as it has actually been practiced throughout history.
usa  today  world  empire  opinion  politics  order 
october 2018 by aries1988
Aux origines de l’histoire globale

l’histoire universelle, celle qui est capable d’intégrer – ou, dans certains cas, faire la sunopsis de – deux ou plusieurs histoires et ainsi d’aller au-delà d’une histoire nombriliste,

DEF

lapidaires

bribes

CCP

Seulement, il tire les textes là où il a envie de les amener, pratiquant une forme d’exégèse qui a tendance à porter le discrédit sur le nouveau savoir du siècle. Il retourne les matériaux venus de loin systématiquement contre les Européens et « le mauvais & dereglé vivre qui est en Occident »,
book  talk  historiography  world  history 
september 2018 by aries1988
任剑涛:现代法兰西文明的矛盾性由何造成?
政治理论上的后发性,使得法国很矛盾。要注意先发建立现代国家,但后发规范现代国家。法国的矛盾在启蒙运动时比较突出,尤其是当现代文明骨干要建构现代国家的时候。来自日内瓦的卢梭带着非常矛盾的现代文明建构体系,跑到法国搅动了一池春水。

只有立宪民主国家加民族国家才是真正意义上的现代文明国家,而法国一半领先一半滞后,所以它很矛盾。因而法国带给我们的现代文明建构是个矛盾体。这跟英格兰不一样,英格兰在1215-1688年的四百多年间渐进磨合出一个典范,其现代文明中没有介入太多情感因素,而经验主义进步也是一样。而法国不仅在建立现代国家过程中是分裂结构,理论上是情感跟理性战斗的结构,而且法国人期望通过理想建构——而不是经验磨合,要通过理性的设计,搞出美轮美奂的文明体。

笛卡尔就是建构理性主义的代表,他希图通过自己的设计而走出与培根经验道路完全不同的法国道路。笛卡尔理念跟卢梭理念结合,对法国政治产生了极大的推进作用。这样的矛盾结构在法兰西极为深刻,揭示出后发现代国家建立现代文明的不易。

一般而言,行政如果要追求效率就一定是实行单一首长制,但在法国却是双重首长制。中央派出的机构首长和本地选出行政官员共同执政。

一直到今天,法国对于建构现代政治的矛盾依然存在。一方面,热情万丈,想要建立完美政权的乌托邦主义一直延绵了下来。另一方面,法国的左右互搏没有引领法国走向现代文明的康庄大道,这种极端形态对构建现代文明的启示,是法国对后现代文明建设的贡献。
français  thinking  philosophy  civ  world 
september 2018 by aries1988
The Mystery of People Who Speak Dozens of Languages
An extreme language learner has a more-than-random chance of being a gay, left-handed male on the autism spectrum, with an autoimmune disorder, such as asthma or allergies. (Endocrine research, still inconclusive, has investigated the hypothesis that these traits may be linked to a spike in testosterone during gestation.)
language  brain  club  world  malta  linguist 
september 2018 by aries1988
惑星之歌 | Pussy Riot:那群冲进球场的俄罗斯年轻人 – 中国数字时代

在晚期资本主义气息越来越浓厚的时代,大家不仅在今年的世界杯足球赛上看到了更加令人窒息的防守反击,对于抗议也似乎变得司空见惯,以至于不想再去思考背后的原因以及不再加以关注。但无论如何,她们冲进赛场的这一幕也让这次的决赛除了乌龙,点球,守门员注意力不集中被偷进球,和莫斯科的大于之外,让我们多了一个记住的理由。
worldcup  2018  russia  football  manifestation  dissident  politics  world  tv 
july 2018 by aries1988
How To Make Friends And Influence People: Inside the Magic Weapon of the United Front
Stream How To Make Friends And Influence People: Inside the Magic Weapon of the United Front by The Little Red Podcast from desktop or your mobile device
china  party  organisation  world  influence  propaganda  explained  book  podcast 
april 2018 by aries1988
Understanding China’s Rise Under Xi Jinping -- By The Honourable Kevin Rudd
the territorial expanse of the Chinese Empire virtually doubled, occupying some 10 per cent of the world’s land area, 30 percent of the world’s population, and 32 percent of the world’s economy.
Nonetheless, for those who are professionally charged with interpreting China’s future, as you are in this great military academy, it means that we must also take time to understand China’s past. To understand how China perceives the world around it. And to understand how it now perceives its own national destiny in the turbulent world of the 21st century.

# Xi’s Political Authority

there is the personality of Xi Jinping himself as a source of political authority. For those who have met him and had conversations with him, he has a strong intellect, a deep sense of his country’s and the world’s history, and a deeply defined worldview of where he wants to lead his country. Xi Jinping is no accidental president. It’s as if he has been planning for this all his life.

# Xi Jinping’s View of the Party

The Communist Party would continue, therefore, as an unapologetically Leninist party for the future.

China’s historical greatness, across its dynastic histories, lay in a strong, authoritarian hierarchical Confucian state.

# Seven Core Priorities

China’s emerging worldview, in my own estimation, is best understood as a set of seven concentric circles.

## The Party

## National Unity

From Beijing’s perspective, Tibet, Xinjiang, Inner Mongolia and Taiwan represent a core set of security interests. Each within itself represents a confluence of external and internal security factors.

## The Economy and Environmental Sustainability

Indeed, the systematic treatment of the environment as simply an “economic externality” to the Chinese development process led to wholesale environmental destruction. China is now paying the price.

## China’s Neighbouring States - Securing China’s Continental Periphery across Eurasia

Historically, they’ve been the avenue through which China’s national security has been threatened, resulting in successive foreign invasions.
The failure of the Great Wall of China to provide security from foreign invasion is a classic case in point.

## China’s Maritime Periphery - East Asia and the West Pacific

Xi Jinping has made plain he does not see China’s role as simply replicating the current US-led liberal international order for the future.
China has consistently said that this was an order created by the Western, victorious, and by-and-large colonial powers after the Second World War.
australia  origin  history  usa  world  china  future  sinology  politics  diplomacy  analysis  xi  thinking 
march 2018 by aries1988
When You’re a ‘Digital Nomad,’ the World Is Your Office - The New York Times

Roam has evolved into a miniature global corporation, with a dozen staff members, most of them digital nomads themselves, living among its locations, communicating through the chat platform Slack, checking in over weekly conference calls and scanning any print mail that comes in for online dispersal. Roam has no offices and no headquarters except its locations. For its clients and employees alike, the start-up provides a comprehensive structure for a post-place life.
work  digital  office  world  travel  talent  story 
february 2018 by aries1988
Meet the pirate queen making academic papers free online
She cared less about the form than the function: she wanted a global brain. To her, paywalls began to seem like the plaques in an Alzheimer’s-riddled mind, clogging up the flow of information.
academia  stans  story  science  piracy  female  leader  russia  today  idea  world  brain  knowledge  share 
february 2018 by aries1988
Unnatural Rebellion
The Witch: A History of Fear, from Ancient Times to the Present by Ronald Hutton Yale, 360 pp, £25.00, August 2017, ISBN 978 0 300 22904 2 The province of Enga…
book  witch  history  world 
february 2018 by aries1988
Global Latinists by John Byron Kuhner
W he n Leni Ribeiro Leite stood up in the main auditorium of Memorial Hall this past July, her name and appearance were enough to distinguish her: it’s still…
language  latin  learn  culture  world 
february 2018 by aries1988
The Scandinavians ‘hitchhiked’ their way to the boons of empire | Aeon Ideas

Imperialists came in many different varieties in the 19th century. Scandinavia and the US (outside of North America) point us to a more sophisticated understanding of empire. Some imperialists administered territory and opened markets. Others provided capital to build railways and link the global economy. Still others produced migratory labour or hauled commodities. Administering territory was the most prestigious job. But it was not the only way to be an imperialist. Profit and power could also be won by hitchhiking.
colonialism  scandinavia  history  today  capital  world  order  comparison  theory 
february 2018 by aries1988
Kazuo Ishiguro - Nobel Lecture: My Twentieth Century Evening – and Other Small Breakthroughs
As the only foreign boy in the neighbourhood, a kind of local fame followed me around. Other children knew who I was before I met them. Adults who were total strangers to me sometimes addressed me by name in the street or in the local store.

When I look back to this period, and remember it was less than twenty years from the end of a world war in which the Japanese had been their bitter enemies, I'm amazed by the openness and instinctive generosity with which our family was accepted by this ordinary English community. The affection, respect and curiosity I retain to this day for that generation of Britons who came through the Second World War, and built a remarkable new welfare state in its aftermath, derive significantly from my personal experiences from those years.
japan  immigration  gaijin  story  childhood  children  uk  literature  writer  memory  politics  today  world  human  future  manifesto 
february 2018 by aries1988
History of the word "tea": How the word "tea" spread over land and sea — Quartz
The map demonstrates two different eras of globalization in action: the millenia-old overland spread of goods and ideas westward from ancient China, and the 400-year-old influence of Asian culture on the seafaring Europeans of the age of exploration. Also, you just learned a new word in nearly every language on the planet.
tea  story  world  trade  language  history 
january 2018 by aries1988
梁文道:只准賣馬槽,不准過聖誕

一邊替全世界各種宗教生產他們最需要的東西,另一邊嚴格管控它們的流行;在我看來,想要瞭解今日中國社會境況,恐怕很難找到比這個看起來十分諷刺的矛盾更加鮮明的案例。「開放」的意思大概就是這個樣子:只要和錢相關,一切都好說;可是只要碰到意識形態,那就寸步難行。

卻照樣找得到安身立命之道。今天的問題是宗教也好,非宗教的精神傳統也好,所有能夠照顧終極關懷的精神資源,在中國似乎都沒有一片自由自在的立足之地。
trade  tradition  china  religion  spiritual  society  control  government  world  chinese  today  money 
december 2017 by aries1988
West grows wary of China’s influence game

“The party under Xi [Jinping] believes it is engaged in a ‘huayu zhanzheng’ — a ‘discourse war’ — with the west, which it thinks enjoys media hegemony and must be challenged,” says David Shambaugh, director of the China policy programme at George Washington University.

He estimates China spends between $10bn and $12bn a year on a wide range of “soft power” efforts — from traditional lobbying and public relations campaigns to more clandestine forms of influence-building.

“The Chinese Communist party is seeking to suppress dissent among its diaspora in countries around the world,” says Rory Medcalf, head of the national security college at Australian National University. “It uses a tapestry of methods to achieve its goals: political donations, control of Chinese language media, mobilising community and student groups; and engaging in coercive activities that involve CCP proxies and even consular officials.”

Defenders of these initiatives say Beijing merely wants to “tell China’s story well” and is acting no differently from western countries. The US government supports organisations that fund pro-democracy groups around the world, while Washington-based think-tanks have international affiliates that promote an American world view.

“The Communist party’s United Front work is very different from western efforts to exert influence — there is a degree of long-term planning and central co-ordination between public and nominally private enterprises that democracies can’t even imagine,”
china  today  politics  debate  strategy  world  competition  democracy 
december 2017 by aries1988
Hans Rosling, physician and statistician, 1948-2017

Rosling, who has died aged 68, was the closest thing statisticians had to a rock star. His most famous talk, 2006’s The Best Stats You’ve Ever Seen, has been watched online more than 11m times. Its ambitious scope and sweeping narrative epitomised Rosling’s ability to rise above the ebb and flow of current affairs and see generational trends.

It led him to conclude that on most measures of human progress — the impact of climate change being a notable exception — most countries were improving rapidly.

Public perceptions had not kept up with the pace of economic and demographic development and much of the media was hobbled by its adherence to false balance, he said. The world is discussed in terms of feelings and ideologies rather than as an area of knowledge, he once told the Financial Times.
leader  statistics  communication  science  world  data  debate  politics  ideology  optimism  explained  population 
december 2017 by aries1988
Radical Islam and the alt-Right are not so different | Aeon Essays
But just as today, the rapid, radical changes produced counter-cultural pressures, with social revolutionaries and anarchists propelling a wave of transnational terror that began shortly before the assassination of Russia’s Tsar Alexander II in 1881. This terrorist wave extended through to the assassinations of the prime ministers of France in 1894 and Spain in 1897; the empress of Austria in 1898 and the king of Italy in 1900; and finally, the killing of United States president William McKinley in 1901. It involved bombings of ‘bourgeois’ civilians in cafes and theatres across Europe and North America before abating with the onset of the First World War.
thinking  world  future  radicalism  youth 
november 2017 by aries1988
War once helped build nations, now it destroys them

Revolutionary-era France, Jacksonian America and Maoist China – three signature periods of nation-building in global history – are as notorious for their crimes as for their enduring accomplishments.

global politics today is bereft of big ideas and revolutionary ideologies. Most nations have conformed to the Washington Consensus on norms in governance and economics. Even the remaining autocracies largely play by those rules.
war  world  today 
november 2017 by aries1988
Russia’s World Cup: a Putin own goal?
The thousands of visiting journalists (surely the largest foreign press contingent ever to spend a month in Russia) are likely to pump out the negative coverage that Russians call zloradstvo (evil-revelling). 

Doping wins Olympic medals but probably wouldn’t help much in skill-based, tactical football.
russia  image  world  politics  people 
november 2017 by aries1988
UN secretary-general António Guterres on Trump and North Korea
“We were invited to a stadium to see a show of what is called Massive Gymnastics. And it included, during one hour and a half, 15,000 children doing all kinds of things . . . complicated gymnastic things, acrobatics gymnastics. During one hour and a half, 15,000 children . . . and there is not one single wrong movement. This tells you about the nature of the society . . . ”

“A crucial lesson for my political life is this very simple [psychological] analysis,” he explains. “When you have two persons in a room, you do not have two, you have six: what each person is; what each person thinks he or she is; and what each person thinks the other is. This is the reason personal relations are so complex. But what is true for persons is true for groups, and countries,” he adds.
UN  interview  world  diplomacy  2017  leader  peace  organization 
november 2017 by aries1988
The challenge of Xi Jinping’s Leninist autocracy

Will this combination of Leninist politics with market economics go on working as China develops? The answer must be: we do not know. A positive response could be that this system not only fits with Chinese traditions, but the bureaucrats are also exceptionally capable. The system has worked spectacularly so far. Yet there are also negative responses. One is that the party is always above the law. That makes power ultimately lawless. Another is that the corruption Mr Xi has been attacking is inherent in a systems lacking checks from below. Another is that, in the long run, this reality will sap economic dynamism. Yet another is that as the economy and the level of education advances, the desire for a say in politics will become overwhelming. In the long run, the rule of one man over the party and that of one party over China will not stand.

Second and far more important, the west (fragile as it is today) has to recognise — and learn from — the fact that management of its economy and politics has been unsatisfactory for years, if not decades. The west let its financial system run aground in a huge financial crisis. It has persistently under-invested in its future. In important cases, notably the US, it has allowed a yawning gulf to emerge between economic winners and the losers. Not least, it has let lies and hatred consume its politics.

It must create more inclusive and dynamic economies, revitalise its politics and re-establish anew the fragile balance between the national and the global, the democratic and the technocratic that is essential to the health of sophisticated democracies. Autocracy is the age-old human norm. It must not have the last word.
world  china  politics  economy  challenge  government  comparison 
november 2017 by aries1988
A bord de l’« Auvergne », en mer de Chine du Sud

Les nations qui comptent dans le Pacifique (Etats-Unis, Chine, Russie, France, Australie) assurent toutes ici une présence militaire visible en mer. Ce vendredi, trois frégates russes anti-sous-marines viennent d'arriver à Manille, à la veille d'une réunion des ministres de la défense de l'Asie du Sud-Est.

Le risque est de voir un jour la mer de Chine du Sud se fermer comme un lac, prenant en otage les intérêts des autres puissances. En naviguant dans ces eaux chaudes et lointaines, les marins espèrent retarder l'échéance.
français  military  sea  mission  china  world  challenge 
november 2017 by aries1988
The four global forces breaking all the trends

In 2010, we estimated that the GDP of Tianjin was around $130 billion, making it around the same size as Stockholm, the capital of Sweden. By 2025, we estimate that the GDP of Tianjin will be around $625 billion—approximately that of all of Sweden.
future  world 
october 2017 by aries1988
The end of a world of nation-states may be upon us – Jamie Bartlett | Aeon Essays

Yes, there are dictatorships and democracies, but the whole world is made up of nation-states. This means a blend of ‘nation’ (people with common attributes and characteristics) and ‘state’ (an organised political system with sovereignty over a defined space, with borders agreed by other nation-states).

Until the mid-19th century, most of the world was a sprawl of empires, unclaimed land, city-states and principalities, which travellers crossed without checks or passports.

as Karl Marx observed, if you change the dominant mode of production that underpins a society, the social and political structure will change too.

John Perry Barlow’s ‘Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace’ (1996) sums it up well: the internet is a technology built on libertarian principles. Censorship-free, decentralised and borderless. And now ubiquitous.

This is the crux of the problem: nation-states rely on control. If they can’t control information, crime, businesses, borders or the money supply, then they will cease to deliver what citizens demand of them. In the end, nation-states are nothing but agreed-upon myths: we give up certain freedoms in order to secure others. But if that transaction no longer works, and we stop agreeing on the myth, it ceases to have power over us.

Clearly, nation-states won’t go down tamely. Carving out a new form of sovereign authority from an existing one is extremely difficult, and is generally frowned upon by the UN.
debate  state  origin  today  death  government  world 
october 2017 by aries1988
The Interpreter: Wednesday, September 6, 2017
Myanmar’s transition to democracy was ascribed to Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi’s heroism. Now its persecution of Rohingya is ascribed to her cowardice. Maybe she was always more a symptom of Myanmar’s best and worst than she was their cause.
myanmar  leader  hero  essay  howto  world  complexity 
september 2017 by aries1988
East Goes West

In the life of a Chinese tourist, guides play an especially prominent role—translator, raconteur, and field marshal—and Li projected a calm, seasoned air. He often referred to himself in the third person—Guide Li—and he prided himself on efficiency. Everyone, our watches should be synchronized, he said. It is now 7:16 P.M. He implored us to be five minutes early for every departure. We flew all the way here, he said. Let’s make the most of it.

We might think you could just make a fake card or manipulate the records—no big deal, Li said. But, if you get caught, the fine starts at eighty-eight hundred euros, and they take away your license! That’s the way Europe is. On the surface, it appears to rely on everyone’s self-discipline, but behind it all there are strict laws.

In Europe, he warned, tactfully, Throughout our trip, breakfast will rarely be more than bread, cold ham, milk, and coffee. The bus was silent for a moment.

some of his older travellers used to have a habit of hiding cash in the toilet tank or the ventilation ducts. The worst case I’ve had was a guest who sewed money into the hem of the curtains,

At a Malaysian casino hotel in 2005, some three hundred Chinese visitors were issued special meal coupons bearing cartoon pig faces. The hotel said that the illustrations were simply to differentiate Chinese guests from Muslims, who don’t eat pork, but the offended Chinese tourists staged a sit-in, singing the national anthem.

Handy and Karen kept an eye on every cent. Within a few days, they could tell me exactly how much we’d spent on each bottle of water in five countries.

On average, a Chinese tourist buys more than a thousand dollars’ worth of tax-free stuff abroad—more luxury bags, watches, and designer clothes than any other nationality, including the Japanese, according to Global Blue, the tax-free-shopping refund service. Chinese tourists abroad spend nearly twice as much on shopping as they do on hotel rooms. Several in our group told me how sorry they were that we weren’t stopping at a place called Aotelaise. The name baffled me. Someone explained that it’s a new Chinese word: outlets.

I didn’t sense overwhelming sympathy. The Chinese have been the world’s most abundant migrants, but these days many believe that they have better job prospects at home than abroad.

He was a sanitation specialist by training, and he couldn’t help but notice Milan’s abundant graffiti and overstuffed trash bins. As Li had explained it, The government wants to clean, but it doesn’t have enough money. Handy tried to be polite, but he said, If it was like this in Shanghai, old folks would be calling us all afternoon to complain.

I was struck that, for all his travels, Zhu saw an enduring philosophical divide between China and the West: two different ways of thinking, as he put it. We will use their tools and learn their methods. But, fundamentally, China will always maintain its own way, he said.
europe  china  tourist  story  youth  gaijin  reportage  travel  shopping  thinking  anecdote  world  work  stereotype  tourism 
august 2017 by aries1988
The H-Word by Perry Anderson — follow the leader
typical of Britain’s wider role, which blended the firepower and reach of the Royal Navy with subtler forms of influence. Britain’s informal empire rested less on gunboat diplomacy than on technology, money and ideas. The global cable network, the “Westminster system”, common law, the religion of free trade, the vision of modernity offered by the Crystal Palace and the Great Exhibition of 1851: all these together defined its hegemony.
world  history  politics  diplomacy 
august 2017 by aries1988
A Sociology of the Smartphone

we count on them to fill the dead spaces, the still moments and silences that used to occupy so much of our lives.

Most obviously, the smartphone replaced conventional telephones, leading to the widespread disappearance from streetscapes everywhere of that icon of midcentury urbanity, the telephone booth, and all the etiquettes of negotiated waiting and deconfliction that attended it. Where phone booths remain, they now act mostly as a platform for other kinds of services—WiFi connectivity, or ads for sex workers.

As a result, it’s already difficult to contemplate objects like a phone booth, a Filofax or a Palm Pilot without experiencing a shock of either reminiscence or perplexity, depending on the degree of our past acquaintance.

a rechargeable lithium-ion or lithium-polymer battery capable of sustaining roughly 1,500 charging cycles. This will yield just about four years of use, given the need to charge the phone daily, though experience suggests that few of us will retain a given handset that long.

the performance of everyday life as mediated by the smartphone depends on a vast and elaborate infrastructure that is ordinarily invisible to us.

according to Google, four out of every five consumers use the map application to make local searches, half of those who do so wind up visiting a store within twenty-four hours, and one out of every five of these searches results in a conversion, or sale.

The only way to hide from that knowledge is to decouple ourselves from the fabric of connections that gives us everything else we are. And that is something we clearly find hard to do, for practical reasons as much as psychic ones: network connectivity now underwrites the achievement of virtually every other need on the Maslovian pyramid, to the extent that refugees recently arriving from warzones have been known to ask for a smartphone before anything else, food and shelter not excluded.
idea  essay  device  smartphone  life  change  technology  perception  today  world  opinion 
july 2017 by aries1988
Monocle's View From Nowhere
The content has a new seriousness, though it remains ever-optimistic. In an interview for the March issue, the CEO of Lufthansa says he is confident that globalization “cannot be stopped or slowed down, even though some people are trying hard.” The president of Portugal, adopting the vocabulary of a start-up founder, pitches his country as “a platform between cultures, civilizations, and seas.” (“We were an empire,” he reassures readers, “but not imperialistic.”)
culture  magazine  media  story  globalization  youth  world 
july 2017 by aries1988
« Enquête mondiale sur la tomate d’industrie », révélations sur un produit phare

Jean-Baptiste Malet révèle bien d’autres secrets : la mainmise des Chinois sur cette fabrication, le fait que les Italiens, grands exportateurs des préparations à base de tomate, sauces, plats cuisinés, pizzas, importent la pâte chinoise pour la transformer, en ajoutant de l’eau et du sel, et les revendent comme produits made in Italy. Le Cabanon, jolie marque qui fleure bon la Provence française, est aux mains d’un groupe chinois depuis 2004. Plus rien n’est produit dans cette ex-coopérative française, hormis des transformations du concentré arrivé de Chine.
food  tomato  industry  world  book  français 
july 2017 by aries1988
Why the ‘happiest’ cities are boring
The most intriguing studies of the determinants of happiness are those of psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. The moments at which people are happiest are when they are in “flow” — when they are engaged in a challenging task and doing it well: the lecture in which you realise the audience is hanging on your ever word, the tennis game in which every shot takes the ball where you want it to go. For many people, bringing up children is a source of endless demands and frustrations, but taken as a whole it is one of the most satisfying experiences of their lives. There is more to the good life than clean water and trains that arrive on time.
city  list  world  comparison 
may 2017 by aries1988
How Japan is preparing for a nuclear attack

One of the US’s biggest business groups, for example, polls its members each quarter about how company executives perceive geopolitical risks. Until very recently, a minute proportion of companies considered North Korea to be the most serious threat; instead, the dominant focus for concern was so-called Islamic State.

Yet the pattern is changing. In the most recent survey, compiled this month, North Korea is ranked as the number one threat, above Isis. But most voters still know little about the country, and few realise that American troops in Japan or California might be a target.

Confronting a possible missile threat looks scary but it’s not necessarily any more frightening than the knowledge that more than 33,000 people are killed by gunfire each year in the US. Cultural perceptions of danger vary.
story  japan  usa  korea  war  nuclear  perception  world 
may 2017 by aries1988
Europe, Syrie, Irak, Russie… les dossiers qui attendent Jean-Yves Le Drian aux affaires étrangères

La prochaine Assemblée générale des Nations unies, à l’automne, sera l’occasion pour M. Macron de faire entendre à nouveau la voix de la France. « Le “dire” en politique étrangère est très important, et il y a une attente sur le nouveau président français », analyse Bertrand Badie, professeur à Sciences Po. Celui-ci souligne qu’Emmanuel Macron, qui se veut ouvert à la mondialisation comme au multilatéralisme dans les relations internationales, se devrait de lancer depuis la tribune de l’Organisation des Nations unies une initiative forte « par exemple sur une gouvernance mondiale des migrations » ou sur « une gouvernance sociale mondiale ». Cela laisse au Quai d’Orsay jusqu’à septembre pour plancher sur le sujet.
diplomacy  list  france  world 
may 2017 by aries1988
Is your commute worth the pain? The real cost of getting to work
https://www.instapaper.com/read/885035373

Xinzhuang

When suburbs sprawl out too far and fail to stay compact, he says, then “even if [the authorities] wanted to provide good public transport services, it will end up more and more costly.”

Urawa
city  life  moi  analysis  data  shanghai  tokyo  work  comparison  world  time  immobilier  price  commute 
march 2017 by aries1988
How China ended the era of western domination

Xi’s museum visit made two dynamics clear: history sits at the heart of Chinese politics today, and its leaders believe there is one acceptable narrative, a story of overcoming foreign domination and re-emerging strong.

instead of the narrow, legitimacy-enhancing story peddled by the Chinese Communist party, Bickers tells a far more complex tale of the forces of attraction, rejection and interdependence that have consistently defined China’s varied dealings with the world.

Foreign experts, humanitarians and evangelists travelled to China, providing everything from refugee relief to Comintern guidance (even if selfishly motivated), and cosmopolitan, self-confident Chinese sojourned abroad and engaged with the world.

Each regime chronicled in this book sought to contort history to serve its purposes, and Xi’s today is no exception, promulgating its own version of the past and policing all alternative interpretations for the crime of historical nihilism.
book  china  history  world 
march 2017 by aries1988
Les Inrocks - Sanjay Subrahmanyam, gourou de “l’histoire globale”

Il y avait un mur qu’on avait construit entre l’histoire européenne et l’histoire extra-européenne. C’était un mur institutionnel. On était dans une sorte d’apartheid absurde. C’était comme si, nous autres travaillant sur le monde extra-européen, on était des historiens de seconde classe. Là où dans n’importe quel département d’histoire aux Etats-Unis, on trouve côte à côte celui qui travaille sur le Japon, celui sur l’Inde et celui sur l’Allemagne médiévale, en France, on faisait en sorte de séparer ces gens. On ne pouvait pas avoir de conversations, donc pas de résultats qui découlent de ces conversations. Il y a eu un vrai problème en France. Il y avait beaucoup d’universités en France où étudier par exemple l’histoire de l’Amérique latine était exclu dans le cadre d’un département d’histoire.

Par-delà le réexamen de la séparation des aires géographiques, le découpage du temps entre grandes périodes clés est lui aussi critiqué par l’histoire globale

on a beaucoup de difficultés à se mettre d’accord entre chercheurs sur une périodisation commune.
history  historian  world  leader  research 
march 2017 by aries1988
梁文道:禮貌之外(中國人吃的閒情之一)

真正能用文化差異和習慣去解釋的,是傳統華人為甚麼會覺得西餐讓人吃得很煩很束縛?是為甚麼在高尚洋餐館裏的「惡行」一搬去中式酒樓卻又顯得正常了?我知道這都是說了一百多年的老問題,可是我覺得它依然有待索解,值得想想。
china  culture  world  restaurant  etiquette  comparison  cliche 
march 2017 by aries1988
A Geographer’s Notebook: the world’s biggest snowfall
Measuring snowfall is a challenge for meteorologists because it settles and melts and is moved about by the wind. Most precipitation gauges catch less than the “true” amount of falling snow because wind reduces the number of snowflakes entering the gauge’s opening. Drifting can make selecting the best site to measure depth an arbitrary process.
japan  snow  record  world 
february 2017 by aries1988
Peace and prosperity: it is worth saving the liberal order
The system established after 1945 was built on US power. But it endured and, after the end of the cold war, expanded because US leadership was embedded in multilateral rules and institutions. Everyone had a stake. Washington sometimes over-reached — in Vietnam or with the invasion of Iraq. By history’s standards, however, the Pax Americana was essentially benign, resting as much on the force of example as military might.
history  uk  world  order  crisis  challenge  china  populism  brexit  nostalgia  immigration  society  politics 
february 2017 by aries1988
Age of Anger by Pankaj Mishra — in the danger zone

mass murder and totalitarianism have been generally presented as aberrant departures from an essentially benign western liberal tradition that brought millions out of feudal servitude, emancipated women and gave dignity to the poor — and which has kept the European peace since 1945.

carnage and bedlam have in fact been the dominant modes of western modernisation, and that totalitarianism, far from being a distorted reaction to a benevolent Enlightenment tradition, in fact took to their conclusion the themes of that same Enlightenment project: scientific racism, jingoistic nationalism, imperialism and the violent struggle for existence as set down by Darwin.

the age of anger is dominated by a type who is utterly familiar from the west’s own history of modernisation — the superfluous and alienated young man of promise who takes it badly when he fails to grasp the plump fruits of modernity, and responds by resenting those who have somehow got ahead of him, or allegedly stood in his way, all the while falling back in defence of his own, indigenous culture.

answers are urgently required to the disarray of the world and its systems, for it is more than likely that today’s chasms between rich and poor, rooted and mobile, debtor and creditor, will grow rather than contract, and the alienated of our species will continue to seek newer, more spectacular ways of expressing their dissatisfaction. Pankaj Mishra shouldn’t stop thinking.
opinion  crisis  world  history  globalization  instapaper_favs 
january 2017 by aries1988
What Nutmeg Can Tell Us About Nafta

neither cosmopolitanism nor parochialism is a virtue in itself. We need to ask: cosmopolitanism in the service of what? Protectionism to what end?

Cloves from around 1700 B.C. have been found at the site of a settlement in Tell Ashara, Syria. To get there, they would have had to travel more than 6,000 miles, through the ports of the Indian Ocean and overland through Mesopotamia.
human  history  world  globalization  commerce  spice  indonesia  europe  netherlands 
december 2016 by aries1988
The curious adventures of Con and Frodo

Stickers first appeared in East Asia in 2011, developed by KakaoTalk in South Korea, and Line, a Japanese messaging app, which is owned by a subsidiary of Naver, a South Korean internet giant. When a tsunami struck Japan in 2011, Naver’s staff there huddled at the office and created Line in six weeks to communicate with each other across a network with much-reduced bandwidths.

Emoji in South Korea and Japan tend towards over-dramatisation, irony and self-mockery. They appeal not just to the young but also to middle-aged office workers looking to smooth awkward or delicate situations with bosses, colleagues and family members.

Not all stickers mean something. The pleasure in scouring sticker stores and sending new ones to friends lies partly in hunting for the zaniest sets out there and chuckling over them together.
fun  language  digital  messaging  communication  humor  asia  world  emoji 
december 2016 by aries1988
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