Winning makes you Western because “Western” is the winners

Filed under: news — jlm @ 13:48

CNN spends some digital ink talking about a world-wide survey of countries’ reputations in this article here. It’s an interesting read, even though (or partly because?) it’s a short article.

But look at the final three sentences:

Canada and Japan tied for fourth place. The rest of the Top 10 is Italy at No. 7, Switzerland at No. 8, Australia at No. 9 and Sweden at No. 10. No non-Western countries managed to crack the Top 10.

“No non-Western countries”, eh? Australia is #9 on the list, and they’re in the eastern hemisphere. But Australia, while geographically closer to Asia than Europe, is culturally closer to Europe than Asia, so maybe that’s what they mean. But look at who’s #4 on the list: Japan. The Land of the Rising Sun is as east as Eastern gets. What they mean is that no developing nations are on the list, only those with advanced economies. But nobody wants to be part of an undeveloped economy, so of course the list is going to be exclusively advanced economies.

The “non-Western country” observation is either simply wrong (geographically or culturally “Western”) or meaningless (“Western” as a synonym for advanced economy). It’s not that Asia is undeveloped, it’s that undeveloped economies are undeveloped. The non-Western country quip is meaningless except to the extent that Western ≡ advanced is a racist presentation of the banal equivalence advanced ≡ advanced.

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