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2.1 Was the rise of the West the result of its own strengths?

1. Did the 'rise of the West' stem from its own distinct institutions and ideas?

  • Those who argue that Western rise is due to its international policies, have often emphasized the internally developed institutions, premised on representative politics, as crucial to the process. This, many claim, led to heightened links among elites and publics and thus promoted a politics of negotiation.
  • This, it is argued, further promoted the notion of enlightenment and independent thought.
  • Finally, economic policies such as double bookkeeping and comparable economic innovation allowed for a clear evaluation of profit, therefore enabling companies to provide credit in a depersonalized form – the hallmark of modern capitalism.

2. To what extent was Western power forged through its encounters with non-Western states?

  • Many have argued that some of the most crucial resources to aid the rise of the West emerged from Asia, Africa and the Americas (e.g. cotton for British rise). In this sense, the argument is that the rise of the West is predominantly due to European imperialism in other areas of the world.
  • This, these voices argue, led to several forms of inequality, which, in turn, formed the basis of Western rise. Most notably policies along such lines include the West's establishment of a global market economy, which eroded local economic practices abroad, and imposed Western-regulated prices and production systems.

3. What was the basis for the 'rise of the West'?

  • Other than the points discussed under q. 1 and 2, the unusually beneficial geographic circumstances of the West are sometimes highlighted. For example, the particularly rapid process of industrialization is attributed to the unusual co-location of coal and iron in Britain and other European nations.