Greek European Culture

Europe - West, Philosophy

Enormous economic growth needs science, technology, will to power, and masses

Henrik Ibsen, A Doll's House

Searching for the reasons of the economic growth achieved by the West and by more or less westernized countries, one can realize, first, there is a need for those wanting such a growth to gather all their powers towards this aim, i.e. to underestimate other ways of life.

We can describe this with a known expression used by Nietzsche as “Will to Power”. This goes beyond “money”.

Without science and its application in technology, our specific and enormous growth would be impossible. Ancient Greeks discovered science but they didn’t want to devote much of their time to science and technology.

They were not interested so much in science itself, their thinking being concentrated to (mainly) theology and issues that are beyond strict scientific proof. 

Even the first philosophers, the Ionians, that are some times described as the first ‘scientists’, in reality asked and answered questions that can not be proven in any way.

Our economic growth needs science, technology, and limitless will to power. These, I believe, are the elements of our ‘success’, in a very rough scheme.

Science has to be produced by universities, institutes, etc, where specialized researchers contribute to a chain of scientific production.

A general will to organization is also necessary for all the aspects of our societies, which explains also why the West has become so often the theater of anarchist revolutions.

Recall that even the Papal church introduced such a way of thinking in Christianity, by  offering salvation through the means of a well organised production of salvation by the church.

Protestants did not resist the essence of this, they just took this power from the church and brought it to each and every individual and associations of individuals.

Even then, without the common sharing in a ‘dream’ of power, i.e., without the transformation of people to masses (cf. Ortega y Gassett), our enormous growth would be equally impossible.

To this also Papacy opened the road. Recall Pope Pius XI’s famous phrase, that “As birds are made to fly, men are made to work“!


  1. Sylvain

    It is intersting to see how a post originally on the divergent paths taken by the Far Eastern empires and the Roman Empire has quickly turned into a discussion on the roots of Modern Europe and the modern world. You make a good point in emphasizing the role played by a society’s desires in orienting its cultural creations toward specific goals. Culture indeed is more than the ultimate cause of the path taken by a civilization; it is what a society decides to do for itself and the means it gives itself to achieve this goal. I would just like to make a few comments regarding the particular issue of the state and its role in creating or not economic growth.

    To answer the question asked before, if economic growth depends on the form of government, the answer would be negative. If economic growth, or any other aspect of society, do not solely depend on a particular form of government, such government can however help or, on the contrary, hinder certain things from happening. The capitalistic economy is in many respects the continuation of the earlier mercantilist policy supported by the Western European monarchies competing with each other for supremacy, yet unable to completely achieve it. The capitalist economy eventually outgrew the state and even outgrew economy itself to become an entity of its own, but the European states originally found in it a way to extend their national power at the exense of their rival neighbors, until the entire world became Europe’s chessboard.

    It is in this respect that political division helped, but did not usher, in the creation of our current world order–acting as a fuel to mercantilist, and capitalistic growth and destruction. But in order for this to be possible, there had to be in the first place certain other conditions present, as you rightly pointed out, papal tyranny and the loss of faith not the least.

  2. And, in the present, global, econony, unions such as the European Union, can still keep this spirit of fighting, because the rival states are also unions of states or huge countries like China. This reminds us that behind the EU was not so much a desire for Europe to become One, but rather, or at least equally, the need of the small European countries to stand the competition of other great powers on the planet – which explains also why we seek the expansion of Europe even to non European countries, such as Turkey, at the cost of the European cultural identity. — “At the cost”, or rather because of our cultural identity being exactly a blind will to power?

  3. Sylvain

    Perhaps the best thing to do now would be to refound the European Union altogether and put it on a very different foundations. But is this even possible, when the dominant discourse on everyone’s lips is one of “multi-culturalism,” “tolerance,” and “individual prosperity”? Western Europe and Europeans have exhausted themselves. Having renounced their souls, conquered the world and all its resources and set the whole ablaze, they now are empty of all energy, seeing the consequences of their sins, and resulting in a “union” aspiring at changing the world (but in what way?) yet incapable of even having a common foreign policy, a union calling itself European yet not even able to recognize its own history, rejecting everything that does not ressemble the humanistic ‘vision’ of ‘love and tolerance’ that it seeks to impose. When will this madness stop? Will the European people (Western Europeans most particularly) eventually understand that such attitude is not only folly but suicide? I am sometimes wondering if countries like Greece, Russia, Serbia, Bulgaria, which seem generally to have a higher consciousness of their history and themselves, could be leading Europe in a better way…

  4. I’m afraid things are going to get worse. We have to stand by those who keep their mind and support them, but the general situation is far from hopeful – according to criteria of our own past of course, because compared with islamic and other countries of different histories and cultures, Europe remains superior, as regards the respect of personal rights and personal independence, even in the greatest forms of our theology and philosophy. We owe to our decadent self even such revolutions as is the very medium that unites us here, i.e., the internet. We are stuck to mediocrity, refusing to let (whatever remains of) our love for virtue, to be elevated beyond this passing here and now.