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Kishore Mahbubani4. Kishore Mahbubani
The Rest of the West
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Mahbubani argues that the 21st century will be fundamentally different from the 19th and 20th centuries, that by the end of the century we will return, in terms of balance of civilisations to the world we saw somewhere between 1,000 and 1,500 AD. ie. the past two centuries the west has played an unusually dominant role in World History resulting in other cultures taking up western ideas, goals and values. He predicts that while the west will remain dynamic and active for most of the 21st century and may even remain the primary civilisation, its DOMINANCE of the world will end.

The main engine of change will be globalisation. It's an irreversible force, he says, which has been unleashed by rapid technological change. As a result, the planet has shrunk and mankind has become woven together in a complex web of interdependence -- the emerging global economy is an example. Global demographic disparities, which will result in the developed world's share of the population shrinking to just 10 per cent by 2050, will also have serious social and political consequences. Immigration to Europe, for instance, is likely to increase dramatically, he predicts.

For the last two hundred years, the process of change in the world has been a "one-way street" as western civilisation has made its impact on a passive "rest of the world". Mahbubani believes that as a result of the changes happening now, there will be a two-way street in the flow of ideas, values and people. This may be hard to believe but while western ideas and best practices have found their way into the minds of all men, the hearts and souls of other civilisations remain intact. The deep reservoirs of spiritual and cultural strengths in other cultures have not been affected by the western veneer. It won't be a smooth transition but the west will undergo a transformation which will see it become a microcosm of a new interdependent world containing many thriving cultures and ideas.