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1- When? The historical background

As usual Foreign Affairs has the pulse of the world and it is not by coincidence that his last issue[i] is titled “the clash of ideas”. Before of that the world in a 48 years long period, (from 1962 to 2010), was described as:

  • The place of the global village[ii]^,1962
  • The place where new influential minorities are the strategic elites in modern society and beyond the ruling class[iii],1963
  • The place that will face the shock of the future[iv],1970
  • The place for the “Post-Cold War World[v]”,1972
  • The place  where an overstretched superpower  collapses[vi],1987
  • The place for the  end of history[vii],1989
  • The place where who masters the soft power holds the strongest form of power[viii].,1990
  • The place for  hidden technocrats that represent a new class and a new capitalism[ix] ,1992
  • The place for the “clash of civilizations”[x]  ,1993
  • The place of the post-capitalist society[xi],1994
  • The place for the  end of the nation state[xii],1995
  • The place for the “clash of globalizations”[xiii] ,2002
  • The place where  the hyper-empire will clash with the hyper-democracy inside the  last evolution of a globalization that started in the Flanders in the XIII [xiv],2006
  • The place for the “clash of emotions”[xv] ,2007
  • The place  where the Jihad has lost and has not chance to run the world and where is growing the  alternative model of authoritarian great powers like China or Russia[xvi],2007
  • The place for a nonpolar order[xvii],2008
  • The place of the “Zweite Moderne “, ( 2nd modernity”)[xviii],2009
  • The place where the West rules….at least for now[xix],2010
  • The place of the post-Washington Consensus[xx] where the solution seems to be  more state ,2011

In the second decade of the XXI the world is described as the place of the “clash of ideas” where we have always to keep in mind that ideas are perceptions that are the result of a mix between culture and emotions. And for Gideon Rose, (editor of FA), on 2012 that means to make modernity work with the reconciliation of capitalism and democracy[xxi].His editorial is a brilliant analysis that talks about a carefully selections of ideas that still shape the world and the modernity. Roses is in deep touch with the world when he points out the need of a reconciliation between capitalism and democracy and because the FA ´s issue starts with Lenin we have to back to the XIX.

The deep meaning of it is that we can describe “our time” as an historical moment where:

-The political economy follows ideas of the XX

-The world order is facing the struggles of the last evolution of the Post Westphalia Order, (PWO), as originated in the XVII[xxii]

- The social science is based on rules of the XX

- The world structure of the financial markets is the last evolution of the Fiera del Danaro in Piacenza, (Italy.1579), where a super-elite of sixty world class bankers met to decide the trends inside the monetary world markets and of the first stock exchange in Amsterdam,(1622)[xxiii]

- The religions on centuries old belief even if we  are assisting of the  creation of a new world wide  religion[xxiv]

-The soft-power is based on rules of the XX[xxv]

- The technology on XXI applications from smart phones, holographic brokers for “real time” consulting about  the financial markets  to Virtual Worlds

But it is also a world where we face political and  territorial tensions that back to the Treaty of  Versailles at the end of the 1st World War that lasted frozen during the  Cold War and are still struggling,(if not exploding), in the  second decade of the XXI.

A synthesis of this situation tells that we are living in a sort of “temporal limbowhere ideas, emotions and institutions born in the XII, XVII… XX, XXI take the forms of the clash of cultures, emotions and ideas that we are struggling.

by Paolo Dealberti ©2012
( The  free reprint is authorized only if you add ad the end  either the name of the author and the following sentence with an active hyperlink :” Westphalia XXI authorize the re-reprint http://www.westphaliaxxi.com )

[i] Foreign Affairs Special Anniversary Issue , “The Clash of Ideas . The ideological Battles That Made the Modern World And Will Shape the Future” , Vol. 91 /N. 1 Jan.-Feb.2012

[ii] Marshall McLuhan.” books The Gutenberg Galaxy: The Making of Typographic Man”, 1962

[iii] Suzanne Keller ,”Beyond the ruling class .Strategic Elites in modern society”, Transaction Publishers 1963

[iv] Alvin Toffler  ,”Future Shock” , Bantam Book 1970

[v] Stanley Hoffmann ,”Weighing the Balance of Power” , Foreign Affairs June 1972

[vi] Paul Kennedy , “The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers” ,1987

[vii] Francis Fukuyama ,”The End of History and the Last Man “, The National interest 1989

[viii] Joseph S. Nye, “Soft Power: The Means to Success in World Politics”, Carnegie Council Books 1990

[ix] H. Kellner-F.W.Hueberger with a foreword by P. L. Berger, “ Hidden Technocrats The New Class and New Capitalism”, Transactions Publishers 1992

[x] Samuel P. Huntington, “The Clash of civilizations?”, Foreign Affairs 1993

[xi] Peter F. Drucker ,”Post Capitalist Society” Harper Business 1994

[xii] Kenichi Ohmae , The End of the Nation-State: the Rise of Regional Economies, Simon and Schuster Inc., 1995

[xiii] Stanley Hoffmann, “ Clash of Globalizations” , Foreign Affairs July/August 2002

[xiv] Jacque Attali ,Une breve histoire de l´avenir” , Librairie Artheme Fayand 2006

[xv] Dominique Moisi , “The clash of emotions“, Foreign Affairs January/February 2007

[xvi] Azar Gst  , The Return of Authoritarian Great Powers ,July/August 2007

[xvii] Richard N,. Haas , „ The age of non polarity“ ,Foreign Affairs May/June 2008

[xviii] Ulrich Beck ,“Macht und GegenMacht im Globalen Zeitalter, Suhrkamp 2009

[xix] Ian Morris, „ The  west rules-for now. The patterns of history, and what they reveal about the future”, Farrar Straus & Giraux 201o

[xx] Nancy Birdsall ,Francis Fukuyama The Post Washington Consensus , Foreign Affairs March/April 2011

[xxi] Gideon Rose,  „Making Modernity Work. The Reconciliation of Capitalism and Democracy“, ibidem 1

[xxii] Henry Kissinger ,“Diplomacy“, Simon & Schuster 1994

[xxiii]  The Cambridge economic history of Europe. Volume III: Economic organization and politics in the Middle Ages, Cambridge University Press 1965

Fernand Braudel,“Civilisation materielle economie et capitalism (XV-XVIII siecle),Les jeux de l´exchange ,Librerie Armand Collin 1979

Kirti N. Chaudhuri ,“Asia before Europe .Economy and civilization“, Cambridge University Press 1990

Nayan Chanda, “ Bound together. How traders, preachers, adventures and warriors shaped globalization”, Yale Press University 2007

Roderich Ptak,”Die Marittime Seidenstrasse”, C.H. Beck 2007

[xxiv] National Intelligence Council, “Global Trends 2025. A transformed world “ , NIC 2008 http://www.dni.gov/nic/PDF_2025/2025_Global_Trends_Final_Report.pdf

[xxv] Ibidem VIII