31 December 2010

Poverty Of Ambition ~ Kotkin on Malaise & Decay

New geographer Joel Kotkin writes in Forbes about The Poverty Of Ambition: Why The West Is Losing To China And India...
"The bigger problem facing Western countries, then, is a metaphysical one -- a malady that the British writer Austin Williams has dubbed “the poverty of ambition.” This lack of ambition plagues virtually every Western country. The ability to act has become shackled by a profound pessimism [...] Attitudes have consequences. The rising stars of the non-Western world -- from the United Arab Emirates to Singapore and China -- are building cities with startling new architecture and bold infrastructure. Their entrepreneurs are expanding their operations across the planet. [...] This divergence is not about resources; it is about the growing conviction in the West that moving forward is an illusion or, as the British academic John Gray’s puts it, “progress is a myth.” Victorian empire-makers and intellectuals, like their republican American successors, believed perhaps naively in the potential of humanity, economic and technological progress. Today our intellectual and political classes have gone to the other extreme. The West’s politics are in the grips of two profoundly retrograde mentalities. One, a small-minded conservatism [... And second, the] Left, which once portrayed itself as the bastion of scientific rationalism, increasingly embraces neo-druidism, a secular form of nature worship..."
Kotkin concludes with a rallying cry. Read it.

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