Asian inferiority-complex, “The Killer disease” (Part 16-II of III)
Posted on January 27th, 2011

Geethanjana Kudaligamage

 Rajapakse, regional politics, “Eurocentric Developmentalism” and the western hegemony(The article became a little longer than I thought. Please be advised that this article now carries three parts instead of two.)

 Rhsuperfly asks the Asians to “get over” the Asian inferiority complex in order to see the “world” or “life” in more objective and historical terms, instead of “us vs. them”.

When we follow Rhsuperfly’s advice and try to see the world or life in more objectively and in historical terms, the end result that hits our nose is completely different from that of Rhsuperfly envisions. When we see the world in objective and historical terms we see a divided world where there are rich north and poor south; and unavoidably history throws the truth on our face telling us with no uncertain terms that west is responsible for the misery in the south. As citizens of third world our masses have been fixed to a miserable destiny largely due to a design which is out of their control, in which a majority cannot have meaningful objective of life. The reason has been largely due to the persistent failure in development of these countries, that is also mainly due to above said design crafted by the west. The reasons for the north to be rich and the south to be poor do not need another articulation, because we have briefly discussed historical reasons already. But the “us vs. them” is a big time western philosophical construction partly accountable for the current poor condition of the third world.

  The ontological representation of the “ƒ”¹…”other’ is vital for global exploitation that needs a philosophy buttressing this task that justifies difference. Western philosophy provides required philosophical tools for such representation for the separation of European “ƒ”¹…”self’ from the non-European “ƒ”¹…”other’ to buttress exploitation in various forms. Not only European philosophy, its theology””‚Protestant ethics gives moral justification for this exploitation, Pope of the Catholic church provided the divine approval for the European conquistadors to bring distant masses under European servitude. Its anthropology gave much required scientific rationalization of the difference between peoples, and then historicity narrated the story to tell the generations to come. It is a serious affair, a complex institution, vital for colonial sexploitation, but disgustingly ugly. This affair can never be executed without big time involvement of related knowledge to buttress the said project. No doubt it is a sham. But millions of western people believe in it and ready to sacrifice their lives for it. As Joseph Conrad once put it”¦ “The conquest of the earth which mostly means the taking it away from those who have different complexion or slightly flatter noses than ourselves, is not a pretty thing when you look into it too much. What redeems it is the idea only. An idea at the back of it, not a sentimental pretence but an idea; and an unselfish belief in the idea””‚something you can set up, and bow down before, and offer a sacrifice to”¦” (Heart of Darkness)

 The European success story is full of genocidal violence. Their philosophy rationalizes this violence. As Dussel tells us again”¦ “Modernity (as a philosophy) includes a rational “concept” of emancipation that we affirmed and subsume. But, at the same time, it develops an irrational myth, a justification of genocidal violence. The post modernists criticize modern reason as a reason of terror; we criticize modern reason because of the irrational myth that it conceals” (Dussel)

 To maintain this genocidal violence, one needs to have an appropriate mentality to carryout the task. When we see our victims different to us, the task becomes is easier.  This differentiating “ƒ”¹…”us from them’ is a big time political affair in the west even to this date. The ideological fallacy of Eurocentric Developmentalism, like most of other fallacies in regard to the west, resides mainly in the prevalent notion of European superiority over the rest of global humanity. European subjectivity and its concomitant superiority-complex is not just a spontaneous phenomenon sprung out of nowhere; instead it is a deliberate construction of European philosophy, overall knowledge production and its history writing.

 Theorizing the inferiority of the “ƒ”¹…”Other’, Hegel said”¦“The world is divided into the old world and the new world. America”¦ was not known to Europeans until recently. But this division is not purely external since this world is new not only relatively, but also absolutely. It is new with respect to all its physical and political characteristics”¦the chain of islands extended between South America and Asia appears immature and recently formed”¦similarly new Holland gives the appearance of geographical youthfulness since if one departs the English possessions toward the wilderness, one finds enormous rivers which still have not carved out their river beds”¦Here Hegel becomes emotional and irrational. His words literally demonstrate his prejudice thought process. “”¦Regarding America, especially Mexico or Peru, and its degree of civilization, our information indicates that its culture expires the moment the spirit (the European spirit, no wonder [writer]) draws near. “¦ The inferiority of these individuals in every aspect is entirely evident.” (Hegel)

 Sighting Antonello Gerbi’s observations, Dussel says that Europeans and Hegel thought that even the geology and the flora and fauna were more brutal, primitive and savage among the Indians in Americas.”¦The immaturity marking in America is total and physical, even the vegetables, and animals are more primitive, brutal monstrous, or simply more weak and degenerate.”          

 Here Hegel trying to trace devils out of potatoes.

 European pseudo-scientific explanation of man’s history through evolution has been however stemmed out of the Christian jargon of Hegel. His contribution to create this “ƒ”¹…”us vs. them’ formula is standing above all other philosophers in the west.

 Hegel going even further to tell us how Europe possesses its moral right to demean, subjugate and then exploit other races. Most brutal western interventions in the rest of the world have been justified by Hegelian philosophy.

 Mitigating our attention to Reformation which had its major share of shaping up western consciousness that justified colonial criminality of Europe, Hegel has presented his explanation with his philosophical lingo in the following lines.

“The ideal superior signification is that of spirit, which returns into itself from out of the dullness of consciousness. The consciousness of its own self-justification arises and mediates the reestablishment of Christian liberty. The Christian principle has passed through the formidable discipline of culture; and the Reformation also gives it its exterior boundary, along with the discovery of America……the principle of the free spirit has made itself here the flag of the world, and from it universal principles of reason have developed….custom and tradition are no longer of value; distinct rights need to be founded on rational principles. (under this philosophical clout, we can locate where the R2P theory has been justified from [writer]) Thus the liberty of the spirit is being realized.”

Furthermore, Hegel says that no one could imagine having any rights before this Hegelian (constructed) “ƒ”¹…”Europe.’ Then he justifies it as”¦.

“Because history is the configuration of the spirit in the form of event”¦”¦the people which receives the spirit as its natural principle…..is the one that dominate in the epoch of world history…..Against the absolute right of that people who actually are the carriers of the world spirit, the spirit of other peoples has no other rights“   

      For Hegel, Christian Europe has nothing to learn from other cultures. It possesses everything. If we do not understand his intentions clearly, it would become unclear why Hegel became so emotional and illogical here. He is no different to Lord Robert Clive or Hitler. Again he says”¦ “The English were determined to convert themselves into the missionaries of civilization for the entire world” He portrays British colonial criminality as a missionary of civilization. We cannot forget that, as a private owned company with military power, British East India Company came to Sri Lanka with these presumptions, and established their domination dehumanizing natives at a time when these fallacies were dominant in European thought about non-European races in the south.   

 Justifying colonization Hegel further says”¦“By the dialectic which is appropriate for surpassing itself, in the first place, such a society is driven to look beyond itself to new consumers. Therefore it seeks its means of subsistence among other peoples which are inferior to it with respect to the resources which it has in excess, such as those of industry” (Hegel)

 

(Here Hegel speaks like Gareth Evans [Writer]) “”¦This explanation of relations also makes possible that colonization to which, under systematic or sporadic form, a fully established civil society is impelled. Colonization permits it that one part of population located in the new territory, returns to the principle of family property and, at the same time, procures for itself a new possibility and field of labor.” (Hegel) This utterance of Hegel even revel the assigned role of civil society by none other than western philosophy itself. According to which, contemporary civil society that has been formed out of colonized classes have been exchanged their roles with that of the erstwhile colonizing class who served their mother country from the distant colony. 

 So the periphery of Europe (her colonies including Asia) will serve as the backyard of mother countries to send their poor masses to become proprietary capitalists in the colonies. The key events that shape up European subjectivity to implement this colonial criminality were the Reformation, Enlightenment and the French Revolution.

 Hegel provides a religiously philosophical purification of colonial criminality of Europe. From now on Europe will advance its brutality with the newly acquired philosophical vigor boosted by the license that was given by Reformation of protestant ethics to do whatever they want to do without any moral or ethical obligation to the entire life world including the rest of humanity. If any one says that Hitler is a criminal, I would suggest that Hegel made him a criminal, so Hegel also must be considered as equally dangerous ideological criminal. If anyone says that Robert Clive was a thief and an immoral beast, I would say that European Church made him to be a thief.

 Thus all in the name of “ƒ”¹…”inferiority’ and the “ƒ”¹…”immaturity’ of the “ƒ”¹…”Other,’ Europe will advance arrogantly to the dominance of the world over millions of dead bodies of presumed “ƒ”¹…”half human’, “ƒ”¹…”uncivilized’ of the global south, while such actions had been justified by prominent philosophers of modern age. Can we see any change of attitude even now?

                  To current conditions of TNC globalizing hegemony or the latest version of the development of colonial criminality, the suffering of the former colonies must remain until the end of the world. Suffering will never end even there, because as Zizek, says, our suffering must be continued to next life in another planet, since capitalism will last even after the end of the world, then of course modernity cannot last without the “ƒ”¹…”Other’, to whom Hegel was so allergic of.

 In this regard Robert Young observes”¦ 

As we have seen, the fundamental problem concerns the way in which knowledge””‚and therefore theory, or history””‚is constituted through the comprehension and incorporation of the “ƒ”¹…”Other’. This has led to a series of attempts to reinscribe a place for, and a relation with, the other as other outside the sphere of mastery and therefore, logically speaking, both infinite and beyond the scope of knowledge. (Young, Robert. White mythologies Writing History and the West.)

 Immanuel Levinas’s elaboration in this regard is even more revealing. He says, “Western philosophy coincides with the disclosure of the other where the other, in manifesting itself as a being, loses its alterity. From its infancy, philosophy has been struck with a horror of the other that remains other””‚with an insurmountable allergy”¦Hegel’s philosophy represents the logical outcome of this underlying allergy of philosophy. (Levinas, Immanuel. “The trace of the Other” in Deconstruction and context) But Hegel was the father of modern philosophy whose philosophy shaped the subjectivity of the modern man, that tells everything about our suffering in this modern age. For the modern man, if he believes in modernism, there is no exit from his belief in the inferiority of the “ƒ”¹…”Other’, and the superiority of the European; like for the Hindu; there is no exit for his belief in cast system. For that reason, if we buy this Eurocentric knowledge, it insists us to buy it in whole or leave it whole.

 Arrogant European philosophers never acknowledge colonialism as the main reason of many transformations in Europe. Discussing about Renaissance, Robert Yong says, “European thought since the Renaissance would be as unthinkable without the impact of colonialism as the history of the world since the Renaissance would be inconceivable without the effect Europeanization” (Yong) which accolades the Fanon’s remark that said, “Europe is literally the creation of the third world.” (Fanon, Frantz. The Wretched of the Earth)

 When you locate the European concept of that “ƒ”¹…”men as self conscious agents create the totality of history’ within the context of strict colonial condition, this simple change in the thesis of European development under colonial exploitation exposes the naked fallacy of the entire European notion of universal history. According to the false historical notion of Europe, “ƒ”¹…”only the settler makes history in the colony’, (Fanon) but the natives are only spectators in this drama. Fanon shows how the men and women, who are the objects of the history, are condemned to immobility and silence”¦.he says the effect of colonialism is to dehumanize the native, a process which paradoxically finds its justification in the value of western humanism“.

“Leave this Europe where they are never done talking of men, yet murder men everywhere they find them, at the corner of every one of their own streets, in  all the corners of the globe. For centuries they have stifled almost whole of humanity in the name of so called spiritual experience”¦.That same Europe where they have never done talking of man, and where they never stopped proclaiming that they were only anxious for the welfare of man; today we know with what sufferings humanity has paid for every one of their triumphs of the mind.” (Fanon) 

 By now, there cannot be any doubt about the meaning of “ƒ”¹…”us vs. them’ formula, a crafty invention of the west. Do third world policy planers need to prove the western philosophical notion, that colored people are “ƒ”¹…”congenitally stupid’? Is that the objective of them? Getting out of Eurocentrism could be painful, but it is an eternal relief like shedding out a diseased skin of a rash. Freeing oneself from Eurocentrism is the first giant leap forward to emancipation and liberation.  

 The trap is ideological

We, nations in the global south have been caught up in a trap in our entire effort to development. And this trap is ideological. Like many ideological fallacies that have taken us for a long ride in modern history, this one is also western. When we think of our development, we firmly believe that the west has a bigger role to play in it. We think that poor countries cannot be developed without money and advice from the west. This entire belief system originates from various fallacies that have been perpetuated not only by western governments, their diplomatic missions and major global financial institutions, but also third world intelligentsia and so-called experts or the economic hit-men in the field of economics.

In addition to current orthodox western development theories, our belief in western philosophy and western historiography (knowledge) keeps us entrapped in Eurocentric developmentalist fallacy throughout the course of development. Above said two aspects overshadow and totalize entire western knowledge. This is the knowledge that shapes up western global politics, economics, its violent political culture and diplomatic affairs world over. When western modern philosophy philosophize superiority and racial prejudice, then their historiography narrates the story justifying racial superiority of western man enthroning him with a birth right to rule the entire world. Under the wisdom of such knowledge, one cannot expect western global politics to be any different than what we are witnessing today.

 Although it could be comfortable to think that west has a role to play in the development of under developed countries, investing all our hopes in such belief could lead us to dangerous strategic failures down the road in our efforts to development. Most common result will be ending up in insurmountable debt trap and failure.

 Our dependency neurosis toward west has been originated from colonially inherited specific category of double addiction. First addiction is of the notion of “ƒ”¹…”expertise’; it is associated with our deep rooted reliance in European experience and knowledge about development. Under this belief we think that Europe developed their part of world from ground zero to current heights through extraordinarily meticulous planning and strategies. That is the fallacy number one. In which we believe European development as a liner process triggered by its natural traits of superiority that other cultures never possessed. This belief of superiority along drags us to be pupils of Europe on development matters. This is the fallacy that European knowledge and its ideology have been perpetuating for last three hundred years. Under this notion when third world travelers experience western countries, they write articles to local papers under specific captions reading “ƒ”¹…”so and so writing from London, New York and Paris’ glorifying western man’s vigor and perseverance, implying that western part of the world is developed due to this specific characteristic of western man. But now we know that it is only a half truth. Western man has developed a different specific talent to get things done from others, which we never had cultivated. He is clever enough to hide his limitations and get the maximum use of the brains of the “ƒ”¹…”Other’ and sell it and profit out of it; and still pretend that the out come is the result of his own intellect. A complete brainwashed will believe his story.  

 The second addiction is the notion of “ƒ”¹…”faithfulness’; our belief in European sincerity over the development of the third world. In which, we believe that Europe is genuinely preoccupied in the task of rescuing under developed nations out of poverty. This is the fallacy number “ƒ”¹…”two’ making us to be pupils of Europe that demanding our “ethical obligation“ to be under their direct command in our development. This makes us to believe that Europe has been concerned over the poverty of Africa and Asia due to their inability of getting out of their misery largely due to the “ƒ”¹…”congenital idiocy’ of these “ƒ”¹…”lesser races’. Complete brainwashed believe this story too. Because he doesn’t have critical faculties like the bat I mentioned earlier to think that this misery is the making of Europe. So we believe Europe in the task of rescuing us driven by their moral qualities of humanism. What a wonderful bunch of lemmings we are, aren’t we”¦. now getting ready to jump over the cliff?  

 The production, accumulation and circulation of knowledge and the functioning of such knowledge has to do a lot to maintain this obedience to the western model of development as the only model in this category. Western financial institution’s production of knowledge has become integral to justifying large unsustainable projects in poor countries, primarily aimed at trapping them in large debts. These institutions rely on their growing network of Trans-local scientists, technocrats, NGOs and selected crowd of empowered citizens of different countries to help generating data and build discursive strategies to counter the growing criticism against institutions like WB and IMF and their strategies. This authoritative knowledge then will destroy all ideological oppositions coming along the way of the action plans of these institutions. They will silence all anti WB, IMF movements and alternative development movements. This knowledge system perpetuates only one model for development, and that is the western model. And again this knowledge marginalizes all other systems and then disqualifies non-western knowledge systems. Since the alternative knowledge systems produced by researchers and activists of anti-western model might find alternative rationales to guide interventionist actions away from Western ways (usually Bank-produced and implemented) of thinking, western sponsored knowledge production has become an asset to these Banks, and it has been generated and used in highly strategic ways to provide justifications for western economic strategies in the south. (Wikipedia)

 However above said two ideological fallacies make us to submit ourselves to the dictates of the western administrations and their financial organizations over our development policies and programs. In result, we have been circling in the same cycle of poverty through generations, and our development efforts have been jeopardized, derailed, and delayed.

 Getting out of these fallacies will make us to rethink anew about our development policy-planning. The reason behind our failure is mainly due to our predisposition to think about a single model of development; that is the European model. In reality Europe had never had any particular model to mention. If there was any in later stages, even that model was not the one they are currently prescribing for us.

 But can there be another model outside European model? How if the system never submits completely into bizarre culture of western model and its globalization drive? And how if this new version never completely discards capitalism, but instead, it makes capitalism to become a part of this new model among many other parts?

 For geopolitical reasons, Sri Lanka cannot stand along. Therefore Sri Lanka cannot be as powerful and independent as China or India due to her limitations in global influence. As a result she has been forced to follow western dictates entrapping us into their globalizing market economy irrespective of their devastating consequences falling upon our masses. That is the reason why Sri Lanka desperately needs a South-South partnership to form a collective frontier.

 In order to be sustained in this proposed system, especially to get away and undo the western trap coming through WB, IMF duo, Sri Lanka must look toward global south in order to build their own global system out side the controlling devises of the western economic dominance. The west on the one hand has intensified their neo-liberal globalizing drive flocking whole third world into Euro-centered global system exploiting the desperate third world attempt in the development. The paradox arises when we realize those western intentions and our intentions are going to clash each other.

 Planetary humanity has been enslaved

The entire planetary humanity with their natural and human resources have been destined to maintain the western populations. Current development strategy of Asia, Africa and Latin America has been systematized to maintain and sustain this bottomless western desire. However existing environmental depletion all over the world has been largely occurred merely due to the feeding and satisfying the western populations while keeping the rest in starvation and misery. Entire planetary humanity has scarified their present and future for the bottomless desires of the west, which is the wealthiest 20% of global humanity, mainly Western Europe, the United States, and Japan, and which consumes 82% of the world resources; meanwhile, the poorest 60 percent, the historical periphery of the modern world system including Sri Lanka, consumes only 5.8% percent of these resources. The rest of the 20% of the population in the second world, mostly in the Eastern Europe consumes the rest of 12.2% of resources. Furthermore, in 1930, the ratio between the richest 20% percent of humanity and the poorest 20 percent was one in thirty (1-30), while by 1990, in the meantime the world was marching toward utopian condition of globalization, the ratio had risen to one in sixty (1-60). Frighteningly figure had doubled in just thirty years.

 Then current environmental issue is, although they take place in India or China or elsewhere, still caused by the global system that satisfy above said endless desire of the west. If that so, what would be the situation we are going to face when the rest of the 80% of under developed poor countries also get developed? This simple fact revels that our economic development can never be achieved in collaboration with the west, because it creates a clash of interests between the west and the rest. The only thing can be expected west to do for third world is reducing this 80% of global humanity as slave labor force working for the sustainability of the west, while exhausting their resources in their countries to satisfy this cliental. The minority of the local business community working faithfully for the global TNC agenda will be richer while the rest of the masses remaining in poverty. Then the economic development will be justified by GDP gimmick, telling us that we are now developed by numbers. Our development strategies must remain entirely outside of western domain their financial institutional remedies of WB and IMF, because our development eventually clashes western interests.

In Masters of Illusion: the World Bank and the Poverty of Nations (1996), Catherine Caufield argued that the assumptions and structure of the World Bank harms southern nations’ not only development but also their existing structures. Caufield criticized its formulaic recipes of “development” authoritatively perpetuate a knowledge that promote western model as the only model for development. To the World Bank, different nations and regions are indistinguishable and ready to receive the “uniform remedy of development”, the very theory of imperialism. She argued that to attain even modest success, Western practices are adopted and traditional economic structures and values have been discarded”¦ A second assumption is that poor countries cannot modernize without money and advice from abroad. (Wikipedia)This is the condition I mentioned earlier that instigates our addiction to be relied on western Expertise and to be Faithful to their intentions.

But it has been very clear that the World Bank and International Monetary Fund are deeply occupied in contemporary modes of donor and NGO imperialism, and that its intellectual contributions function to blame the poor for their condition proving that Kant was right, when he said”¦. “”¦”….Laziness and cowardliness is the causes which bind the great part of humanity in this frivolous state of immaturity.” (Immanuel Kant)  Under Kant’s notion, immaturity means under development. So the reason for under development in the global south was due to their “ƒ”¹…”congenital idiocy’.

For many reasons west cannot let 80% of global south to be developed up to the standard of Europe. But west pretends that they are up in the task. Under this game plan of pretention and lending loans, time will pass by. Old regimes will collapse without reaching their development dreams and new ones will be formed up. Rajapaksas will disappear and Premadasas may come into the scene. Then the blame game will begin. Europe will blame the third world corrupt regimes for the failure of their attempt of development. And the new regimes will buy it. Then another circle will begin. We will remain in poverty forever. This is a well tested game plan of the west and has proved to be very successful. On the side line, our foreign debts will be accumulated despite the fact of our failure. We will end up in completely indebted and default. Are we going to live in this trap for ever or are we going to get out of it? Or are we going to buy this as our fate.

 In the first article of this series I said that“¦“¦ “In politics, the creative spirit demands a tremendous courage to take risks; all remarkable politicians in the world history were as audacious as they were fearless risk takers.” This is such time. Our political leadership may have to take decisive steps to resist some western dictates detrimental to our economic development policies. And they also may have to consider taking initiative to form solidarity in the global south to formulate a universal policy in development for countries in the third world.

 Third world was under western control for last five centuries without having any substantial development under their direct rule. So how we can expect them to deliver something significant in this era of their indirect rule? I am stressing again, in order to be away from western control through monetary devises, south Asia must initiate to form a development bank through south-south cooperation. In order to do it, she may have to initiate negotiations with the Banco del Sur (Bank of the South) in Latin America as they had already envisioned the idea of establishing a development bank in the global south. 

 However, the question is how can we resist western force? One way of countering western controlled international institutional hegemony again is located in the south-south corporation. We must begin to substitute bodies for all western institutions that have a history of meddling into third world affairs. By having their counterpart institutions in the global south, we will be able to eschew off, if not minimize the claim of legitimacy of their institutional directives. For instance, human rights can be watched and even violations can be prevented through a cooperation among the states in the south by their own institutions whose intentions will never be tainted by those of the western ones that driven by hidden political agendas. That is something that global south must resolve through collective mechanisms.

 When global south is attempting to be independent, no doubt west will declare war against them. Today in Sri Lanka, this declaration of war comes in the form of UN war crime investigations, cancellation of GSP plus, whooping the leadership of our nation using their local lackeys living within the country and outside and so on. We must never be mistaken to think that appeasing decisions like allowing hyenas like Solheim into our political sphere again will ease western pressure or their will to punish our leadership for not respecting their global authority at the war. And even submitting our economy to IMF and WB juggernaut also would never change their stance either. Instead, they will get all their targets anyway and appeasement will make their task easier. So defeating western post war politics is located building a solid south front. That is the only plan for redemption for our country and the leadership. In terms of the security of the global south, global south may have to be organized under a common security mechanism to deal with outside threats.

(Will be continued)

4 Responses to “Asian inferiority-complex, “The Killer disease” (Part 16-II of III)”

  1. Ram2009 Says:

    “Us and Them” is not new, conceptually. It is now ingrained in us. It occurs within and between nations. Some ancient religions (eg. Hinduism, Judaism) perpetuate it as part of the theology. When and where it suits them, the politicians revel in it. Humanity has never been perfect, but some of us do try to climb out of this gutter of imperfection.

  2. Fran Diaz Says:

    What are our end Goals in Life in Lanka ?
    Define the Goals and perhaps ideas like Self Sufficiency (as much as is possible) will be thrown up by Society here.

  3. nandimitra Says:

    Transfer of resources by ponzi money created by the federal reserve is the mechanics of exploitation. Deglobalisation , self sufficiency and South south corporation is the answer. As long as we remain a part of the present economic system exploitation will never end.

  4. Fran Diaz Says:

    Nandimitra : For South-South co-operation, what are the countries involved ? Sri Lanka will have to be careful, being a Non-aligned country.

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