The West is in decline, but its values still prevail …The first ever non-European pope takes over at the Vatican, while Italy's economic ills and ungovernability foretell, it's argued, the wider decline of the West … This week, the British government will reportedly announce in its budget that Qatar is coming to the rescue of poverty-stricken, austerity-ridden Britain with a £10 billion fund for infrastructure. And everyone knows about the rise of China. The world is turning on its axis. It is now a commonplace that the West is in irredeemable decline. – TheJapanTimes
Dominant Social Theme: The decline and fall of the West is inevitable.
Free-Market Analysis: Is Qatar really going to bail out Britain? Is the West really setting? Are the West's values now prevailing around the world even as its prosperity diminishes? These are the issues that this Japan Times article grapples with.
Some of these topics are original while others are predictable. The "decline of the West" is becoming a kind of mainstream meme now … we are always distrustful of that. Whenever the mainstream press acts with one voice we feel a dominant social theme coming on.
In this case, we are being treated once again to the inevitability of these big socio-economic changes. The West has had its day in the sun and a diminution of clout and wealth is inevitable.
And just as the West sinks, so the East shall rise. Also inevitable. Here is more from the article:
Economically, the trends are well established. If they continue, by 2015 Europe's share of world GDP will have fallen to 17 percent (and to 10 percent by 2040) from the 26 percent it commanded in 1980. U.S. dominance in defense is also being steadily eroded; its budget is stagnating while China's is growing by double digits every year. Raw materials and oil flow to Asia rather than Europe.
Europe's population ages and its work ethic, it is claimed, is undermined by its addiction to welfare. As Western economies under perform, the most exclusive parts of London, Paris, Rome and Berlin are being bought up by the newly rich from Russia, Latin America and Asia. The richest man in the world is Carlos Slim from Mexico, while the Group of Seven leading industrialized countries is no longer the locus of world economic power. That has moved to the Group of 20.
Even Western democracy, one reliable export to the rest of the world, no longer seems so admirable. The U.S. government is deadlocked over its budget so that after the arbitrary spending sequester on March 1, parts of government will start to close down at the end of the month. Perhaps the benign dictatorship of the Chinese Communist Party offers a better model for governance.
Yet, look more closely and a more subtle, more encouraging story is at work — less the decline of the West than the steady spread of its values and practices …
This is an interesting spin and one that makes sense within the larger context of the analysis we have offered for years. There are surely those who seek a more globalized – internationalized – world but that does not mean they seek a world without Western influences.
Fact: Western Money Power is ubiquitous around the world. Western elites and their multinationals run the show and have tremendous clout even in China. It is not a surprise, then, that Western "values" and culture will continue to provide the framework for the world's development.
In this article, for instance, we are informed that Qatar is going to provide much needed funds to Britain. But Qatar is an entirely artificial entity, created by the West and enriched by Western dollars aimed in its direction.
Scratch the surface of almost any other largescale Western financial facility and you will find similar involvement. Central banking itself provides the world with fiat money that has little or no relationship to marketplace money (such as gold or silver) that would ordinarily be circulating.
In fact, Western economic and business systems are controlled from the top down and often ownership is similarly controlled. Money power is exercised by a few, not the many.
People need to begin to distinguish between citizens and those leaders who are increasingly influential throughout the globe. The "West" is a descriptor. But just because the West has won the culture – mostly via the exercise of Money Power itself – doesn't mean that its citizens are going to partake of the spoils.
The article concludes as follows:
The West should remember what drove its success. Rather than mourn its relative decline, it should celebrate others getting as good, if not better, at what it used to practice and have allowed to atrophy. Then the West must find ways to rediscover the alchemy itself.
Really, there is no "West" – though it is tempting to use that shorthand regularly. Second, if one does use the descriptor "West" one ought to differentiate between those in leadership positions and the larger mass of people.
If the West's leaders and its citizens are headed in opposite directions – as it seems they are – then one will have to make a series of decisions over time about whether the "decline" of the West is inevitable or whether its demise will be confronted by those who want to retain their current and future living standards.
This confrontation will likely be an integral part of the West's fate from both an investing and quality of life perspective.