“Culture Lag” in world order and global governance – Historical review

From the 18th century to the late-19th century

In nearly 200 years from 1700 to late 1800, often the imbalance between world culture, economy, and politics had not become a significant issue, which is mainly because countries that participated in the world system at that time were basically European countries or regions deeply influenced by European civilizations. The world order's core issue lay in the struggle between capitalism and feudalism on the political and economic system. Although the prelude to a proletarian revolution appeared in Europe, the main conflicts were still centered on the contradiction between the oppressing nations and the oppressed nations. These conflicts were settled through different approaches and were finally resolved through the global expansion of industrialization and global colonial domination. In general, the uneven political and economic development of the world during that period was mainly reflected in the economic inequality and political oppression between the industrialized countries and the vast colonial countries. At that time, Western cultures actively supported the global expansion of trade and commerce, thus establishing an interdependent relationship between culture and business. In other words, during the period of free capitalism, the World Cultural Order was primarily a game conducted within the framework of Western civilizations. The vast colonial areas, on the contrary, had not come awake from the "cultural shock” or even "cultural worship" imposed by European culture.

From the late-19th century to the mid-20th century

The end of the 19th century to the first half of the 20th century witnessed the transformation of capitalism into imperialism—the principal contradiction during this period illustrated as several imperialist countries competing for world hegemony and imperialist domination. In order to gain a hegemonic position and to solve the global economic crisis, three confrontations were raised between different military and political groups, which referred to the confrontation between the Allied and the Entente before WWI, the confrontation between the Fascist States and the Anti-Fascist States in WWI, and the confrontation between the capitalist (represented by NATO) and the socialist camps (represented by the Warsaw Pact) after WWII. The three wars—WWI, WWII, and the Cold War—all surpassed traditional Europe's scope to the global level, waving a global trend of the democratic revolution and national liberation, thus resulting in the collapse of the world colonial system. Through this process, different ideologies, such as nationalism and socialism, had emerged in world culture. However, the key issue of the world order during this period turned to a typical political and economic imbalance, which, to be more specific, referred to the adaptation of the political system through the transition from capitalism to imperialism under the background of the European global expansion. Although there were fierce struggles between different cultures and civilizations, all of them tend to be subsidiary. The shift of dominant power to the world order happened between the two successors of Anglo-Saxon culture—Great Britain and the United States. Apparently, whether it is the two world wars or the Cold War, Western civilization's main struggle always occurred. Conversely, China, Japan, and many countries in Asian, African, and Latin American drifted into wars passively. Therefore, culture did not become an independent component of the world order. That is to say, the conflicts and operations between different cultures and civilizations had not been recognized as a principle contradiction in current international politics.

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