For a long time, the West shaped the world. That time is over.
The 21st century is experiencing an Asianization of politics, business, and culture.
PARAG KHANNA: Our views and our theories about the world, even about history or the geopolitics of the present, tend to be shaped by the perspectives of the Western industrial democracies. And that means particularly, not just Western Europe and the United States and North America, but rather just the U.S. and the U.K. because of the English language and the role that the English language plays in shaping the overall global discourse. However, more and more what we're seeing is that particularly the U.S. and the U.K. have fallen a bit afoul of the kind of normative constructs that we tend to think of for a normal country, given the populism that is gripping both countries politically.
In fact, you can't really speak in a united way about Western civilization. Canada acts in many ways that are very similar to Western European. And countries like Germany and France have a very different political economy, if you will, than certainly the United Kingdom or the United States because they are the more traditional, social democratic welfare states. So within the West there is the social democratic welfare of states of Western Europe, and there is the more free market kinds of systems of the U.S. and the U.K.
So not only is the West not unified, and even if it were, it would still not represent the vast majority of the world's population. And so another reason why people are more and more calling into question the wisdom, the sanctity, the universality of the models of Western economies and politics is because they really don't speak to the experience today of 85 percent of the world's population, which are governed in very, very diverse ways. Now, the Europeanization of the world in the 19th century did spread parliamentary democracy and civil service and some kind of enlightenment values around the world. And 20th century Americanization also reinforced, to some degree, the virtues of democracy and entrepreneurialism and so forth. However, still, in this century of Asianization in the 21st century, there is a rising Asian confidence that they can determine their own political systems, their own models, adapt them to their own circumstances.
So, for example, they are very comfortable in Asia having a strong role for the state, for the government in the economy, meaning subsidizing industries, dictating which industries should be short of winners and be given more support from the government, having more non-tariff barriers and these kinds of restrictions on foreign investment and so forth to help to steer the economy in a direction that they consider to be stable and progressive and benefiting the whole country. So that's something that Asians are familiar with and comfortable with. And it obviously runs afoul of some traditional Western norms. That's one example. There are other examples also about Asians challenge the Western conventional wisdom and status quo. Many Asian societies, even democratic ones, have a preference for a technocratic kind of government. So they elect leaders, even in the democracies, like India or Indonesia and the Philippines, but they want to have a strong executive leader who has a long-term vision and a real agenda and program for national modernization that's going to uplift the whole population. And they give a long leash and trust. Today, some of the most popular leaders in the world, those with the highest public opinion rankings, are actually Asian leaders. It might be Prime Minister Modi of India or President Duterte of the Philippines.
When the Western industrial democratic populations look at these leaders, they tend to not think very highly of them. They think of them as people who have a very illiberal characteristic. Sometimes they're even described as thuggish. But in these democratic societies of Asia, they are actually very, very popular because they're also seen as getting things done. So a strong executive authority who is going to get things done is something that Asians have a lot of tolerance, a lot of patience for, if you will. So these are some examples of how the Asian circumstances and Asian practices and politics today are challenging what we tend to think of as normal or desirable in terms of political or economic governance. And again, so long as Asians are succeeding, they will gain ever more confidence that their system is not only right for them, but potentially a better system, that maybe we should learn from from what they're doing.
- Our theories about the world, even about history or the geopolitics of the present, tend to be shaped by Anglo perspectives of the Western industrial democracies, particularly those in the United States and the United Kingdom.
- The West, however, is not united. Canada, for instance, acts in many ways that are not in line with American or British policies, particularly in regard to populism. Even if it were united, though, it would not represent most of the world's population.
- European ideas, such as parliamentary democracy and civil service, spread across the world in the 19th century. In the 20th century, American values such as entrepreneurialism went global. In the 21st century, however, what we're seeing now is an Asianization — an Asian confidence that they can determine their own political systems, their own models, and adapt to their own circumstances.
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Whether or not women think beards are sexy has to do with "moral disgust"
- A new study found that women perceive men with facial hair to be more attractive as well as physically and socially dominant.
- Women tend to associate more masculine faces with physical strength, social assertiveness, and formidability.
- Women who display higher levels of "moral disgust," or feelings of repugnance toward taboo behaviors, are more likely to prefer hairy faces.
Beards and perceptions of masculinity<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMjU5OTg0MC9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY0NzkxMjM3N30.cH-GqNwP5GVqvstgJWAhBPn1B_lYpVEAI0I7iax7EQw/img.jpg?width=1245&coordinates=0%2C1900%2C0%2C849&height=700" id="caae6" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="cb0a355a4e8e1899789bc45f3f7aef56" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
Photo Credit: Wikimedia<p>The study used 919 American (mostly white) women ages 18-70 who rated 30 pictures of men they were shown with various stages of facial hair growth. The photographs depicted men with faces that had been digitally altered to look more feminine or more masculine, with a beard and without a beard. The women rated the men according to perceived attractiveness for long-term and short-term relationships. The study found that the more facial hair the men had, the higher the men were rated on their attractiveness, particularly for their suitability for a long-term relationship.</p><p>Part of this might be attributed to facial masculinity — i.e. protruding brow ridge, wide cheekbones, thick jawline, and deeply set narrow eyes — which conveys information to a woman about a man's underlying health and formidability. Women tend to associate more masculine faces with physical strength and social assertiveness. It can also indicate a man with a superior immune response. The researchers suggested that their findings favoring bearded men could be due to the fact that facial hair enhances the masculine facial features on a man's face, like creating the illusion of a thicker jaw line. This could communicate direct benefits to women like resources and protection that would enhance survival among mothers and their infants. In other words, while a beard doesn't mean superior genetics in and of itself, it might be a primitive, ornamental way of saying, "Hey girl, I'm a testosterone-fueled lean, mean, pathogen fighting machine." <br></p><p>It could also be that a beard becomes its own destiny. The researchers in this study cite prior research that found that by growing a beard, men felt more masculine and had higher levels of serum testosterone, which was linked to a higher level of social dominance. They also tended to subscribe to more old-school beliefs about gender roles in their relationships with women as compared to men with clean-shaven faces.<span></span><br></p>
What does disgust have to do with beard preference?<p>Obviously, not all women dig beards. The researchers were particularly interested in what traits make a women prefer bearded men over clean-shaven faces. They looked into several factors including a woman's disgust levels on various concepts, her desire to become pregnant, and her exposure to facial hair in her personal life. </p><p>According to the study, women who were not into facial hair were turned-off by potential parasites or other critters they imagined could be in the hair or skin. Women ranking high on this "ectoparasite disgust" scale might have viewed beards as a sign of poor grooming habits. However, women who ranked higher in levels of "pathogen" did find the bearded men to be desirable, possibly because they perceived beards as a signal of good health and immune function. An intriguing discovery in the study was links to morality. Women who displayed higher levels of "moral disgust," or feelings of repugnance toward taboo behaviors, were more likely to prefer hairy faces. The authors opined that this could reflect a link between beardedness, politically conservative outlooks, and traditional views regarding performances of masculinity in heterosexual relationships.</p>
Additional findings<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMjU5OTg1My9vcmlnaW4uZ2lmIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYyNDI1NjUyOX0.P9B8WbmJR0q4nfzYZKbuNSA-2SAigVWJgrQE-_Gxlds/img.gif?width=980" id="49143" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="2ed3b1d6f20fc170bf2974646e565e8d" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />Giphy<p>The correlations that existed between married and single women's rating on the attractiveness of beards were not particularly clear, although the researchers noted that single and married women who wanted children tended to find beards more attractive than the women who didn't want children. They also found that women with bearded husbands found beards to be more attractive, which might indicate that social exposure to beards influences how desirable they are perceived of as being. Or it could be that men with wives who like beards grow beards.</p><p>It's important to note that culture plays a huge role in how attractive women perceive certain male characteristics as being. This study looked at a small, culturally specific group of American women, so no big, universal claims should be made about masculinity, facial hair, and male desirability to women. However, research like this is important in highlighting how human grooming decisions are driven by much more than fashion trends. Sociobiological, economic, and ecological factors all play a part in the way we choose to present ourselves.</p>
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