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February 02, 2011

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Mezba

Chinese invented paper, as well as many types and mechanisms of farming.

The Arabs were into all type of fields such as astronomy, numbers, medicine and chemistry.

The Europeans took over in the 17th century.

Cincinnatus

Yes, you are right. c. 1500 Europe was a cultural backwater in the world, but as you say "the Europeans took over in the 17th century".

Why?

Looking at what happened: science (the systematic gathering of facts about nature), technology (the systematic incremental advancement of inventions) and capitalism (the systematic exploitation of inventions) developed in Europe.

This resulted in an explosion of creativity unheard of before in human history.

But who, specifically, in the West was responsible for doing all this creating? Looking back on it, a lot of the real groundbreaking stuff was pioneered by the creative outsider - the type of person celebrated in the West but discouraged by Amy Chen parents. The point of my essay.

b ford

Who says creativity can't go along with hard work, even if it is pushed initially by parents? Just because one studies hard or has a high IQ does not mean the person cannot be creative. This is like the kid who studies less and is not so bright saying, oh ya, but I'm creative. Well maybe. Author Malcolm Gladwell wrote of people needing talent and 10,000 hours (no doubt a generalization). Many gifted people who don't put in the time amount to little and he provides examples.

True, N. America and Europe to a lesser extent prize individualism above all but this does not mean all these individuals are more creative. Some are. Some are just selfish and self-centred.

People across the world are more the same than you seem to acknowledge, even if the prevailing ethos in one country may favour certain personalities over others.

If you cannot think of Japanese inventions, I suspect you have not looked very hard. Try google. Many improvements to existing technolgies are real inventions. Japan also has some great cinema. If you believe China is not inventive, go there. It has some tremendous artists; we just don't learn about them. With so many people, they have more dudes and dopes than most countries. China seems to be doing well with its modified form of capitalism too. Cheaper labour helps but that is not the whole story.

Chen herself says hers is not just a Chinese American story (she is not Chinese and does not speak much Mandarin - she hired a nanny to teach it to her kids; her parents were Chinese from Asia). She says hers is a common immigrant story. I think we know that the average immigrant works hard. None of this says I approve of all her parenting methods but most would agree that some discipline, dedication and focus is better than none.

We can't really generalize but very lazy-faire parents should know there is another way.

Cincinnatus

Dear Mr. Ford:

If you read my article more carefully, you will find that I agree with much of what you said. As should have been clear in the first several paragraphs, I sympathize with Amy Chen's methods quite a lot. All I did when I criticized her was to point out one negative consequence of her parenting philosophy, which is not the same thing as disparaging her whole approach.

My chief disagreement with you is that I don't think China is doing nearly as well as she seems to be doing. Authoritarian governments have a way of looking better than they really are because they can hide their weaknesses much more than a democracy can. Take Germany c. 1930's. Its economy was, in reality, almost completely bankrupt but to all the world they looked like a dynamo.

flash games

Chinese invented paper, as well as many types and mechanisms of farming.

The Arabs were into all type of fields such as astronomy, numbers, medicine and chemistry.

The Europeans took over in the 17th century.
+1

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