Eastern Origins of Western Civilisation by Professor John M. Hobson

By Professor John M. Hobson

John Hobson demanding situations the ethnocentric bias of mainstream bills of the "Rise of the West" that imagine that Europeans have pioneered their very own improvement, and that the East has been a passive by-stander. Describing the increase of what he calls the "Oriental West", Hobson argues that Europe first assimilated many japanese innovations, after which appropriated jap assets via imperialism. Hobson's publication therefore propels the hitherto marginalized japanese peoples to the leading edge of the tale of revolutionary international historical past.

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By contrast, in the East the predominance of ‘single-state systems’ led to empires of domination, in large part because a lack of military competition released the state from the pressure of having to nurture the development of society. Thus in contrast to the fief (hereditary land tenure) that Western rulers had granted the nobility before about 1500, Eastern nobles were stifled by the despotic or patrimonial state which imposed prebendal rights (rights which prevented the consolidation of this class’s power).

6 explains, the possible invention, though certain development, of the lateen sail enabled long-distance sailing, especially in the Indian Ocean. So too did the development of the astrolabe in conjunction with the many breakthroughs in Islamic astronomy and mathematics (see also chs. 7, 8). Paper manufacturing began after 751. Textile manufacturing was especially important: Syria and Iraq were famous for their silk manufactures, while Egypt led the way in linen and woollen fabrics. Muslims also used impressive dyes.

C o u n t e r i n g t h e e u ro c e n t r i c m y t h 19 But it might be replied that it is reasonable to begin by noting the present situation of an advanced West and a backward East and then exploring the past to ‘reveal’ the factors that made this so. The problem is that in extrapolating retrospectively the notion of a backward East a subtle but erroneous slippage is made: in ‘revealing’ the various blockages that held the East back, Eurocentrism ends up by imputing to the East a permanent ‘iron law of non-development’.

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