The Rise of The East

(This article is part of a series of articles I wrote when I first started this blog four years ago. I have revised, adapted and reposted them as they now seem much more relevant. )

“Modern technology has become a total phenomenon for civilization, the defining force of a new social order in which efficiency is no longer an option but a necessity imposed on all human activity.”

Jacques Ellul

Despite all the horrific accounts from Hubei, Lombardi, and Qom, we did not listen. Despite all the warnings from virologists, epidemiologists and data scientists, we did not listen. Despite the extreme measures we watched enacted in major cities around the world, we did not listen. Now, this is what we face…

With a few exceptions, East Asian societies seem to have responded much better to the biggest crisis of our times than their Western counterparts. In what is proving to be the biggest social and political experiment ever, the structure of Asian societies seems to be the better model for getting through times like these.

Underpinning those structures is a respect for education that has instilled in almost every individual the ability to recognize the gravity of the problem and truly appreciate what their experts were saying. That is why they were more willing to suspend individual liberties in favor of what society as a whole needed. If the trends above hold, and if the containment measures last as long as many predict, among the many ways that life for us will change, will be that East Asia will emerge atop the global order when the world is able to go outside again.

The West, too concerned with ideals of liberalism and individuality, just does not seem willing to do all that is necessary. The VP of The Chinese Red Cros recently returned from Italy shocked to see that “….in Milan, the hardest-hit area by COVID-19, there isn’t a very strict lockdown policy: Public transportation is still working, people are still moving around, having dinners and parties in the hotels….”

Where hope still for the West seems to be in its ability to innovate itself out of its problems, innovation has certainly been its hallmark. I do hope its got another trick up its sleeve, time is running out.

“The worst enemy of life, freedom and the common decencies is total anarchy;
their second worst enemy is total efficiency.”

Aldous Huxley


Leave a Reply