1.3. The phenomenon of developing countries and the traditional East
A lot of special works are devoted to the study of the developing world and a lot of summary-generalizing works, whose authors sought to understand and explain this phenomenon. One can notice a certain tendency in interpreting the problems connected with it. This trend for many years was almost the same for both Marxist and part of non-Marxist historiography. The essence of it is that if at the early stage of studying problems, in the middle of the twentieth century, much seemed quite simple and easily predictable, then later it was time to revise the initial positions. It became clear that the problems are much more complicated than previously thought, and that not all the countries of the developing world go in the same direction as was initially considered almost self-evident.
Even later, and especially vividly after the anti-Shah's statements in Iran in 1978-1979. it became obvious to specialists that the revision of previous positions already done is insufficient. It is not enough to say that many countries of the developing world today are clearly not catching up with advanced states, even if they do not lag behind them even more. It is not enough to record that the development of a number of countries of the modern East is very peculiar, in any case not in the classical way, towards capitalism. We must now say that at least part of the developing world simply does not want, or even can not, go in the direction that was previously considered almost mandatory for all. But why? And how to understand all this?!
There are many reasons for this, and even more difficult problems. Suffice it to recall at least the demographic balance that has broken in many developing countries, which has resulted not so much even in an excessively fast growing population, as an ever growing rate of poverty, insecurity, child mortality, coupled with a sharp increase in the population and, as a result, backwardness. And although backwardness is sometimes shaded by some outwardly conspicuous economic successes, personified by the floors of high-rise buildings in the capitals and by the abundance of cars and radio electronics in the everyday life of the well-to-do strata of the population, it must not be forgotten that at times all this is practically not earned but borrowed; built on loans, or even by someone else's hands. And if some of the countries rich in resources and oil found themselves in a favorable position and managed to become not debtors but creditors, does it mean that development problems for them are solved even if it is built (again by someone else's hands, albeit for their money ) modern industrial base?
The list of such issues is easy to continue, and all of them testify to the existence of acute, painful and as yet unresolved problems. But what, in the final analysis, is the root of all these problems? Why do not all the Bedouins hurry to migrate to skyscrapers in rich Arab countries, preferring their camels to the endless sands of the Arabian desert? Why in Iran is the color of literate youth, students so willingly helped their mullahs establish a medieval theocracy regime in the country? Why in many African and Asian countries the proportion of the economy that is disproportionately large for capitalist development takes control of the state with its centralized bureaucracy and with all the consequences that are negative for the development of the country (corruption, disinterest in profitability and enterprise modernization, economic inefficiency, and so on .p.)?
Why, why, why? .. There is no doubt that the answer is primarily to be found in the most traditional structure of non-European societies. Speech about the very structure, which since the antiquity has become dramatic, is fundamentally different from the European one, where, unlike it, everything was put at the service of private property and owners and where for almost centuries of development almost ideal conditions for dynamic evolution with its all at an accelerated pace. Of course, the non-European world, being hacked by European colonial capital as early as in the XVI century, had to adapt to changed conditions for several last centuries, as a result of which there was some transformation of its traditional structure. In other words, in the non-European societies, the conditions that were so conducive to progress in capitalist Europe were gradually emerging and gradually asserted. Thus, the colonial countries seemed to approach European standards, and because of the need to do so very quickly - a circumstance that contributed to the already mentioned illusion, which is still very little, and the non-European world will overtake the capitalist West. However, in the second half of XX century. events, as it was said, began to develop differently. What happened?
What happened was that European experts underestimated the potential of tradition in a non-European structure. The illusion of an accelerated rapprochement, the rate of which reached a culmination at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, especially during the years of the so-called awakening of Asia, concealed the real power of this potential, which at that time was undermined by the common for non-European of the world by a crisis situation and therefore could not recover from the energetic pressure of Westernization in the economy, culture and other spheres of life. This weakening-more apparent than real, rather external than inside-gave rise to the illusion of the rapid and even inevitable collapse of traditional structures. However, the traditions turned out to be quite strong, and a closer acquaintance with European culture and material values so intrinsic to it and a stake in material success as its general attitude also played a negative role in easing the rate of Westernization and helped to increase attention to its own fundamental religious and cultural values and the traditions that underlay the great civilizations of the East.
This phenomenon manifested itself with particular force when non-European countries gained independence and faced the difficult problem of choosing the path. The question of choosing a path is always uneasy. Of course, I would like to live as I live in the West, and have everything that developed countries have. But is it possible for developing countries? And how, with what forces and means, at what cost to achieve this? In short, the developing world faced a difficult dilemma: to go further in the same way and with almost the same results as before, or to drastically change many installations? Different countries of the East solved this dilemma in different ways. Everyone made her choice and at the same time she chose her own way, sometimes even greatly mistaken (this refers to the propensity to Marxist social experiments). But something in this case, of course, depended on objective circumstances. And here it is important to introduce into the analysis one more important factor - the moment of the cultural tradition, that great civilization, within the framework of which the society existed historically.
There are not many such civilizations. Among the developed, the more actively functioning in our days and in many ways determining cultural traditions for many centuries, and even millennia, it is necessary to name:
Within each of them there are many internal differences, especially in the dominant religious doctrine, the way of life, but for all that each of these civilizations for many centuries and even millennia of its existence has created a lot in common and integral. This is common only to those peoples, cultures and traditions that were formed and existed under the influence of any of the great civilizations, each of which determined the parameters of their religious doctrines.
Modern practice shows that the most successfully adapted in the modern world of the country of the Far Eastern Confucian civilization led by Japan, which demonstrated unusual for the rest of the non-European world potency - not so much internal, as from the sphere of ability to borrow, select borrowed and optimally use it. Under the influence of Japan, a number of other countries in the region, including even recently Maoist China, have made considerable progress, demonstrating enviable progress in development, especially after radical reforms in its structure. Quite differently, we can say badly, things are going on in the countries of Africa. A lot of problems arose before the countries of the Indo-Buddhist civilization, as well as before the peoples of Latin America. But the greatest concern is the world of Islam, with claims of an increasing part of it to save humanity in the form of transforming it into a Muslim caliphate.
There are all these problems taken together, again, there is much in common, typical for the whole modern world outside the West, but there are also many differences that go back exactly to the civilizational foundations of each of the regions. All this does not escape the attention of specialists, especially after the events of the 1970s and 1980s. in Iran, the military demarches of Iraq from the times of Saddam Hussein or the Soviet adventure in Afghanistan. Specialists began to write a lot and often about the aspiration of different developing countries to orient themselves on their own civilizational and religious-cultural origins as opposed to a single, westernized, impersonal development standard. New concepts appeared, whose authors sought to explain the current processes and immediate prospects of the developing world from new theoretical positions, for example from the positions of the theory of synthesis, the essence of which is reduced to a kind of convergence; a combination of certain features and elements of European and non-European structures.
Actually, the fact of the existence of societies of a mixed type does not cause doubts. But it is not very clear how this type of society should be considered something stable and alternative to both the Western and the Eastern type. Perhaps, these societies here and there will remain for a long time, what is most visible in the case of Islamic and especially African countries. But it may turn out differently, since the advantages of Western-type societies are obvious, and such large countries as China and India are aware of this and, apparently, are ready to become Western-type societies, retaining only civilizational specificity, as Japan did, that is, e. taking into account religious and cultural principles and norms, the corresponding social and family relations and the whole way of life. As a result, all that has been said means that for a more adequate understanding of vital processes occurring in the modern developing world, a good knowledge of the traditional structures in which these processes take place is necessary. In other words, one must know the history of the non-European world.
The non-European world and the traditional East are not exactly identical concepts. Under the word East First of all, the countries of Asia and Africa are meant (within the framework of this publication). But, while the whole of Latin America and some other regions of the world remain on the sidelines, the history of the East in this book is still the main, typical, reference sample. This is the relevance of his study, and one that does not come down to inscribing the history of the East in the Marxist Eurocentric schemes that existed in our country in a relatively recent past and that was justified by the need to observe the unity of the world historical process. The history of the East must be understood and described as it was; it must lead to what the East really represents in our day.
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