On Shifting Ground

As the first decade of the 21st century comes to an end, political and economic analysts attempt to dissect the last ten years in hopes of predicting the next twenty. But what does the recent rise of China and the East really mean for the aging democracies of the West? Taking a much longer view of history Ian Morris, Professor of Classics and History at Stanford University, looks back more than 12,000 years to the beginning of agriculture and the birth of large-scale organized societies in order to predict what the future holds. Drawing on the millennial ebb and flow of the East and West, Morris suggests that the West’s dominance is both recent and temporary. According to the social development patterns of the last few millennia, the West’s “rule” is scheduled to end early in the next century, but Morris proposes that in an increasingly global world, propelled by quantum leaps in computing power and bioscience, the old distinctions between East and West may seem outdated and unfit to answer our new questions. In a world where the dichotomy between “us and them” is becoming increasingly insufficient, what does the future hold for the West, and the rest?

Direct download: 11_22_10_Ian_Morris.mp3
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