Anlysis of ‘What do we mean by the west?’ book

What do we mean by the west?’ was authored by William H. McNeill in the 20th century. The definition of the west from his context is built upon civilisation ideologies, and according to the author, the west is attributed to liberty, civilisation as well as robust functional economic and political systems (McNeill, 1997). (. These attributes are believed to make the west successful. The author, therefore, gives insights into what countries could be termed as ‘west.’ Other than the west being countries from the side where the sun sets such as North America, ‘West’ means European countries and more especially, the United States. For the west to attain total success, they must expand their territories to non-western countries and foster democratic revolution as well as enhance industrialism.

The Melian Dialogue

The Melian Dialogue is a piece that was excerpted from Peloponnesian war history. The dialogue is entirely centred upon power dynamics. The Athenians believe that individual states and individuals’ decisions are based on their inherent need for power. Additionally, they believe that everyone has potential; the only difference is how they use it. As a result of this war, the famous phrase “the strong do what they can, and the weak suffer what they must” was developed. The Melians stand firm with their beliefs on freedom and culture. Unfortunately, the dismissal of their Counterparts’ ultimatum, (the Athenians), they end up being seized, the males are executed whereas the women and children are sold to slavery. An important lesson to learn from the Melian experience, therefore, is that in most cases, liberal and realist ideals are bound to contend, and this explains the existence of the undesired modern interrelations between strong and weak states.

The Tragedy of the Commons

Garret Hardin authored the tragedy of the commons. The tragedy of the commons refers to a system or a situation where individuals work independently but through their collective action, end up destroying the shared resource (Hardin, 1968). Although according to this literary piece solutions to the tragedy might be hard to execute due to the diversity of traits in humans, I firmly believe that regulation of resources by the government and imposition of rights that promote private property will reduce the effects of this tragedy. This tragedy can, however, be painful to wipe out entirely. According to Hardin, people’s goodwill or conscience cannot be trusted because human beings have the tendency of being double-minded, which, to a small extent, is psychologically pathogenic.

Guns, Germs, and Steel

In this book, Mr Diamond has illuminated vital issues on the relationship between historical anthropology and science. He explains the reason why history may have unfolded differently in each country. It is, therefore, quite fascinating to learn that westernization is not entirely a good thing because it hinders people’s creativity and the ability to stand for themselves. The author’s analogy of how people of New Guinea can be able to come up with ideas of their own because they have not been brainwashed by televisual entertainment, which makes them even more mentally sound, is a high point to ponder upon. Another vital lesson that is worth grasping is based on his theory, which explains that some countries became rapidly developed than others, not by aspects such as science and technology, but by sheer geographic luck.

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