Has the West really lost it?

A new book by former diplomat Kishore Mahbubani, Has The West Lost It? A Provocation, argues that the West has failed to keep pace with changing times. But is 'the Rest' of the world any more ready?

This year marks the centenary of the first volume of Oswald Spengler's The Decline Of The West. It argued that history should not be divided, as it was in the Eurocentric view, into progression from ancient to mediaeval to modern. Instead, history is the staging ground for the rise and fall of high cultures.

Spengler's key cultures were Babylonian, Egyptian, Chinese, Indian, Mayan/Aztec, Greek/Roman, Arabian and European/American. Cultures flourish for about 1,000 years before they decline for an equal period, he argued. His message was ominous for the European/American ascendancy in global history.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 02, 2018, with the headline 'Has the West really lost it?'. Print Edition | Subscribe