To think the sun is setting on the West

(49 Posts)
GlobalGill Fri 22-Mar-13 12:52:31

Sorry to be depressing but I am beginning to think the West is in terminal decline. The debt can't be repaid and unless something unforeseen happens the situation is only going to get worse in the UK.

I see the growing influence of China. Asia is buzzing, China is growing rapidly it has the money, it's the creditor and it has the power.

Should be be advising our children to bear this in mind as they choose future careers and what to study at University etc? Everyone seems to have their heads buried in the sand about this or am I way off the mark? Should we be telling our children to pack their bags and look to live and work in Asia as they'll be little future for them in the US or UK?

wordfactory Fri 22-Mar-13 14:12:35

lottie it's true!

Which is bad for breeding insular attitudes, but excellent for growing your home economy. The more dollars that remain in house the better.

I also think you can galvanise the americans to buy local goods; for a start they think anyhting American is naturally superior, and second they have a sense of loyalty to their country which is useful.

Callisto Fri 22-Mar-13 14:15:17

Shame the British are so crap at supporting their own economy really.

SolomanDaisy Fri 22-Mar-13 14:18:37

I definitely think we're at a turning point stage in the pattern of world wealth distribution. It's not easy to see how things will go though - changing patterns of natural resource discovery, new developments in sustainable technologies, changing weather patterns. All those things will have a huge impact on what happens next. I wouldn't want to be betting on Mandarin when Hindi or Ukranian or Somali could turn out to be what our children need. Though actually the trend towards English as the global language seems pretty unstoppable.

I agree with what you say about Americans and their loyalty to their nation and I admire their 'can do' attitude. In the UK it's 'you can't do that because....' or 'that's unrealistic' (true in my upbringing). The French are also loyal to their products and food. In the UK we shuffle and mumble and apologise for things that aren't our fault and put down successful people.

Lueji Fri 22-Mar-13 14:21:03

You never know. In 20 years the tables could easily have turned.

But, yes, I think the West must definitely have to face that it's no longer a leader.

wordfactory Fri 22-Mar-13 14:23:49

solomon I agree that learning Mandarin is neither here nor there. Unless one wants to go and work for the Chinese, there's little point.

Better to make something or provide a service that all developing cuntires need. Somehting they need to buy in Brazil and China and Nigeria. The rich man will spend his money if you have summat he wants!

Callisto Fri 22-Mar-13 14:35:04

Word - That's why the UK should be investing heavily in green tech and nuclear. It is these sort of things that everyone will need.

Hamishbear Fri 22-Mar-13 14:35:47

Completely disagree on the Mandarin, especially if you can get to fluency. It's a real differentiator and not just a gimmick. The Chinese are going to be tremendously powerful and important in our children's lifetimes unless something unforeseen happens. Mainland Chinese are suddenly everywhere, I was in Paris for work recently and the hotel was filled with Chinese tourists and businessmen. Just one example. Simply put many now have so much money it's mind-blowing. Those that can speak Chinese who are not ethnically Chinese look committed, hungry open minded and interesting, put simply they will so stand out from other peers as China plays a larger and larger part on the global stage. Believe me those non Chinese who are smarter (and wealthier) than I have children who are already approaching fluency or fluent, they haven't invested so heavily in this because it's just a parlour game.

aldiwhore Fri 22-Mar-13 14:48:29

I think a chapter is closing. The way that countries are structured, economically you cannot keep growing forever. Does that mean despair for the West? No I don't think so, I think it will mean that we will have to view our civilisation differently. Perhaps we will focus on feeding our populus, being more self sufficient, manufacturing at home keeping people in work and spending at home, rather than chasing global profit and the cheapest option. That is probably idealist and completely over simplified. Perhaps we will not be so bothered about being a mini-superpower but quietly content to be managing.

If I were to move anywhere, it would probably be Australia. Being a young nation (relatively speaking) they have a young, optimistic attitude and seem to have a good balance.

Every country has it's ups and downs. The rich elite, of which there aren't many, don't care so long as they're not losing their own money and so long as the poor masses (and even if you consider yourself well off, you're still one of the poor masses) don't really notice or kick off.

I hope perhaps when the money runs out and credit can't be found, we may actually remember that money is not our God after all, and 'stuff' is just that. Apart from war, real poverty and famine, many of the world's 'poor' are among the happiest and if we consider 1st world obesity, diabetes, addictions, cancer rate, heart disease, etc etc etc., probably not as unhealthy as we are either.

So, yes, I think it's the beginning of a metaphorical ice age, a metaphorical sunset (though I don't consider the boom years as sunny) but I also believe that the west will live to see another dawn.

BegoniaBampot Fri 22-Mar-13 14:53:04

I do have a bad feeling about this. Know nowt about economics but feel for the first time that this might not be fixable and it is only the start. Quite worrying.

wordfactory Fri 22-Mar-13 15:04:49

Interesting hamish

My view has been that it would take up too much time to get to a decent level of Mandarin. Time that we could spend on other skills and attributes.

A judgement call, if you will.

wordfactory Fri 22-Mar-13 15:07:24

Begonia it is worrying, but I do think it is probably unstoppable.

So I kind of started putting my energies into ensuring that my own DC can make the best of it IYSWIM.

I have to ask: is it deliberate, or a happy accident, that the thread title sounds as if the OP's been taking lessons in rhetoric from the Little Red Book?

Hamishbear Fri 22-Mar-13 15:15:05

Begonia I fear you are right and I think the best advice is to suggest children look East, at least for a time to gain experience and be where the action is.

williaminajetfighter Fri 22-Mar-13 15:17:58

I too think its an end of an era. But certainly don't fancy working in or emulation China where staff are paid poorly, where workers have limited rights, where class and hierarchy is worse than here and where commerce is highly unregulated.

Unfortunately we are in a global economy which is evening out. I foresee the next generation in Britain having quite a drop in the standard of living. Sadly I think our slightly false economies and industries of finance, education, tourism and services and our naive belief that a public sector economy is all we need is a real downfall for us. I also think the British have lost their drive and chutzpah. 10x more people seem to want a job working in public sector administration (good pension, adequate sick day allowance) than starting their own business/enterprise.

Charmingbaker Fri 22-Mar-13 15:18:08

What the west does have in it's favour is democracy. Many of the developing nations have far greater inequalities than we have, but with growing middle classes and greater access to education the people will demand a greater say in how they are governed.

znaika Fri 22-Mar-13 15:21:56

Hve any of you actually been to China. I mean it's an amazing place, Chinese cultural heritage is rich and fascinating, but China itself is miles away from the level of civilisation and privilege you have in the UK, some of it is shockingly awful. Same with other BRIC countries. They have low wages, corruption and appalling human rights, and environmental disasters. Despite the West "going down the pan" all the ideas still come from the west. China rips them, off copies them and flogs em cheaper, but China isn't coming up with the ideas themselves. Despite all the handwringing that goes on on here about education. I am grateful everyday for my western education. the ability to think critically is not something promoted in China. Until it is they need you in the west

wordfactory Fri 22-Mar-13 15:27:32

znaika I agree that they need us. I actually think they'll continue to need us for some time.

But, and its a big but, they won't need that many of us!!!!!

So the trick is ensuring that you are one of the few able to offer somehting they need or want.

Mimishimi Fri 22-Mar-13 15:35:26

Too many wars, too many lies, too much hubris, demographic collapse. Wax and wane really....it's not like we haven't been through it before.

Hamishbear Fri 22-Mar-13 15:43:00

Znaika there's lots we can learn from the Chinese education system though developing one’s concentration, powers of analysis and deduction, memory, ability to persevere etc. It's not just about rote learning in many major centres anymore they are evolving and developing the system. Elsewhere in Asia, in Singapore for example, education is becoming more creative whilst still keeping an eye on the rigour. You say China has 'low wages, corruption and appalling human rights, and environmental disasters.' so do many developing nations. Look at America in the 19th Century - as I think I or someone else said up thread- it wasn't pretty, it really wasn't and look at it now. No one would have thought such evolution possible yet we are only talking about a period of 100 years or so and you've got a hugely civilised country. I believe China will sort it out they are awash with cash, that helps. It's not going to be easy but they are well on their way.

Hamishbear Fri 22-Mar-13 15:44:26

Well put Mimishimi.

babybarrister Fri 22-Mar-13 15:46:28

Yea YANBU - this is why I have been trying to encourage MPS etc to consider other second languages aside from French which is clearly going to be a waste of time for tomorrow's children

GrowSomeCress Fri 22-Mar-13 17:07:08

ImTooHecsy resources can also be a curse - countries become trapped in a cycle of just primary sector production

SolomanDaisy Fri 22-Mar-13 17:47:25

I think the actual second language learnt at school doesn't matter much - once you can reach fluency in another language you realise it is possible and can learn more as you get older. Unfortunately in the UK we only tend to teach languages to a basic level.

We do still have more advanced research and development capabilities, which should work to our advantage if we handle it right.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now