In the book ‘Civilization: The West and the Rest’ historian Naill Ferguson explains why western civilization has exceeded other civilizations in the world.
Focusing on chapter 4, Medicine. From the middle of the nineteenth century and now centuries later, the west ruled much of the rest. ‘Europeans came to Africa with a mixed bag of motives, some were in it for the money, others for the glory. Some came to invest, others to mob. Some came to uplift souls, others to put down roots’ (Naill Ferguson 2011, p. 315).
Western Medicine, what is now modern medicine made an impact In the life expectancy, statistically around 1800, it was just 28.5 years and two centuries later in 2001 it doubled to 28.5 years. And in some way the European colonization of some countries in Africa brought about one of the deadliest wars; the World War Two and the American slavery led to the American Civil War. ‘America’s history of African slavery, followed by a war to end slavery’ strengthens Fergusons assertion that racial inequality leads to eventual conflict.
In Chapter 6, Work, Ferguson begins by assessing ‘the rise of the West’ and the institutions associated with it and how the world copies them.
Ferguson argued that Christianity, specifically ‘Protestant Reformation’ created a work ethic in western culture that gave the man edge to succeed over the Rest. Ferguson proves that Christianity had an impact on the society by comparing the percentage of labor force in Europe due to having a low percentage of those that believe in God and attends church service to America with a much higher percentage of those that believe in God and regularly attend church services. Ferguson also argued that Christianity brought about rapid Chinese economic growth by stating “Christianity offers China a new ‘common moral foundation’ capable of reducing corruption, narrowing the gap between the rich and the poor, promoting philanthropy and even preventing pollution.”
The question now is whether the west will remain a great civilization or is gradually declining. ‘The idea that we are doomed – that decline and fall are inevitable, that the things can only get worse – is deeply connected with our own sense of morality. Because as individuals we are bound to degenerate, so we instinctively feel, must the civilization in which we live.’ (Naill Ferguson 2011, pg. 590).
· Naill Ferguson (2011) Civilization: The West and the Rest. Penguin Group.
· “Niall Ferguson: Civilization: The West and the Rest; Chapter 6 Work.” Brandon Fast, 3 Nov. 2014, mrbfast.wordpress.com/2014/11/03/niall-ferguson-civilization-the-west-and-the-rest-chapter-6-work/. Accessed 19 Jan. 2018.
· “Niall Ferguson: Civilization: The West and the Rest; Chapter 4 Medicine.” Brandon Fast. N.p., 20 Oct. 2014. Web.
· “Civilization: The West and the Rest Summary & Study Guide.” BookRags, BookRags, www.bookrags.com/studyguide-civilization/#gsc.tab=0. Accessed 19 Jan. 2018.