Promoting Understanding between China and US - What is …
Hello, that's very good explanation of the differences between could and can because sometimes I get confused to differenciate these words.
From the explanation, Could is often used in advice, suggestion and request.
It is help me to put a correct words on my sentences when I write an essay. Thank you..
Essay on the gender difference in history: women in China and Japan.
A century later, the Japanese "bullet train" would be one of the technological wonders of the world, surpassing anything available in the United States. But, before this happened, a major cultural transformation had to take place among the Japanese people. A painful awareness of their own backwardness spread through Japan. Western nations in general and the United States in particular were held up as models to their children. Japanese textbooks urged imitation of Abraham Lincoln and Benjamin Franklin, even more so than Japanese heroes. Many laments about their own shortcomings by the Japanese of that era would today be called "self-hate." But there were no cultural relativists then to tell them that what they had achieved was just as good, in its own way, as what others had. Instead, the Japanese overcame their backwardness, through generations of dedicated work and study, rather than redefining it out of existence.
Both the British and the Japanese became renowned for their ability to absorb the ideas and the technology of others and to carry them forward to higher levels. So did the Scots. At one time, it was common for Scots to blindly imitate the English, even using an English plow that proved to be unsuitable for the soil of Scotland. Yet, once they had absorbed what the English had to offer, the Scots then surpassed the English in some fields, notably medicine and engineering.
History does not offer blueprints for the present but it does offer examples and insights. If nothing else, it can warn us against becoming mesmerized by the heady visions and soaring rhetoric of the moment.
One of the most seductive visions of our time is the vision of "fairness" in a sense that the word never had before. At one time we all understood what was meant by a "fair fight." It meant that both fighters fought by the same Marquis of Queensbury rules. It did not mean that both fighters had equal strength, skill, experience or other factors that would make them equally likely to win.
In today's conception of fairness, only when all have the same prospects of winning is the fight fair. It was not in The Nation or some other left-wing magazine, but in the neoconservative quarterly The Public Interest that we find opportunity equated with "the same chance to succeed" or "an equal shot at a good outcome"-- regardless of the influence of social, cultural, or family background.
This confusion between the fairness of rules and the equality of prospects is spreading across the political spectrum. Regardless of which of these two things might be considered preferable, we must first be very clear in our own minds that they are completely different, and often mutually incompatible, if we are to have any hope of a rational discussion of policy issues ranging from anti-trust to affirmative action.
To add to the confusion, when prospects are not the same for all, this is then blamed on "the system" or "the rules of the game," as Brookings Senior Fellow Isabel V. Sawhill does in the Spring issue of The Public Interest. Rules and standards are the creation of particular human beings but circumstances need not be. Ms. Sawhill herself includes "good genes" among the circumstances which affect economic inequalities, and we might add all sorts of other geographic, demographic, cultural and historical factors that were not created by today's "rules of the game" or by "the system" or by anyone currently on the scene.
It makes sense to blame human beings for biased rules and standards. But who is to be blamed for circumstances that are the results of a confluence of all sorts of conditions of the past and present, interacting in ways that are hard to specify and virtually impossible to disentangle? Unless we wish to start a class action suit against geography or against the cosmos or the Almighty, we need to stop the pretense that somebody is guilty whenever the world does not present a tableau that suits our desires or fits our theories.
This new kind of "fairness" has never existed anywhere at any time. The real world has always been astronomically remote from any such condition. Nor are the costs and risks of trying to achieve this cosmic fairness small.
Crime rates soared when our courts began to concern themselves with such things as the unhappy childhoods of violent criminals or the "root causes" of crime in general. Those who paid the highest price for these excursions into cosmic justice were not the judges or the theorists whose notions the judges reflected, but the victims of rape, murder and terrorization by hoodlums.
The same preoccupation with "fairness" in some cosmic sense has often turned our anti-trust laws into ways of penalizing those whose lower costs enable them to sell profitably to the public at lower prices than those of their competitors who are struggling to survive. Here again there is often a pretense of villainy enshrined in rhetoric about "predatory" pricing or "domination" or "control" of the market. And here again there are third parties who lose-- the consumers.
Equating an absence of cosmic justice with villainy has become common in employment law as well. Companies whose employees do not statistically mirror the ethnic composition of the local labor force can be found guilty of "discrimination," even if no one can find a single employee or job applicant who has been treated unfairly by having different rules or standards applied to his or her work or qualifications.
Do we as individuals and as a nation wish that others less fortunate had our blessings? We should and we do. But our blessings as a nation did not consist of having other nations give us foreign aid. The blessings of individuals who have achieved in life have seldom taken the form of having others accept mediocre performances from them or make excuses for their counterproductive behavior.
Almost as mushy as the quest for cosmic justice is the notion that the alternative is to "do nothing" about the gross disparities in prospects that are common around the world. There has never been a moment in the entire history of the United States when we have done nothing. There are innumerable things that still need to be done, but spreading confusion is not one of them.
made Spain a center for the diffusion into Western Europe of the more advanced knowledge of the Mediterranean world and of the Orient in astronomy, medicine, optics, and geometry. The later rise of Western Europe to world preeminence in science and technology built upon these foundations, and then the science and technology of European civilization began to spread around the world, not only to European offshoot societies such as the United States or Australia but also to non-European cultures, of which Japan is perhaps the most striking example.
The historic sharing of cultural advances, until they became the common inheritance of the human race, implied much more than cultural diversity. It implied that some cultural features were not only different from others but better than others. The very fact that people-- all people, whether Europeans, Africans, Asians, or others-- have repeatedly chosen to abandon some feature of their own culture in order to replace it with something from another culture implies that the replacement served their purposes more effectively: Arabic numerals are not simply different from Roman numerals, they are better than Roman numerals. This is shown by their replacing Roman numerals in many countries whose own cultures derived from Rome, as well as in other countries whose respective numbering systems were likewise superseded by so-called Arabic numerals.
It is virtually inconceivable today that the distances in astronomy or the complexities of higher mathematics should be expressed in Roman numerals. Merely to express the year of American independence-- MDCCLXXVI-- requires more than twice as many Roman numerals as Arabic numerals. Moreover, Roman numerals offer more opportunities for errors, as the same digit may be either added or subtracted, depending on its place in the sequence. Roman numerals are good for numbering Kings or Super Bowls, but they cannot match the efficiency of Arabic numerals in most mathematical operations-- and that is, after all, why we have numbers at all. Cultural features do not exist merely as badges of "identity" to which we have some emotional attachment. They exist to meet the necessities and forward the purposes of human life. When they are surpassed by features of other cultures, they tend to fall by the wayside or to survive only as marginal curiosities, like Roman numerals today.
Not only concepts, information, products, and technologies transfer from one culture to another. The natural produce of the Earth does the same. Malaysia is the world's leading grower of rubber trees-- but those trees are indigenous to Brazil. Most of the rice grown in Africa today originated in Asia, and its tobacco originated in the Western Hemisphere. Even a great wheat-exporting nation like Argentina once imported wheat, which was not an indigenous crop to that country. Cultural diversity, viewed internationally and historically, is not a static picture of differentness but a dynamic picture of competition in which what serves human purposes more effectively survives while what does not tends to decline or disappear.
Manuscript scrolls once preserved the precious records, knowledge, and thought of European or Middle Eastern cultures. But once paper and printing from China became known in these cultures, books were clearly far faster and cheaper to produce and drove scrolls virtually into extinction. Books were not simply different from scrolls; they were better than scrolls. The point that some cultural features are better than others must be insisted on today because so many among the intelligentsia either evade or deny this plain reality. The intelligentsia often use words like "perceptions" and "values" as they argue in effect that it is all a matter of how you choose to look at it.
They may have a point in such things as music, art, and literature from different cultures, but there are many human purposes common to peoples of all cultures. They want to live rather than die, for example. When Europeans first ventured into the arid interior of Australia, they often died of thirst or hunger in a land where the Australian aborigines had no trouble finding food or water. Within that particular setting, at least, the aboriginal culture enabled people to do what both aborigines and Europeans wanted to do-- survive. A given culture may not be superior for all things in all settings, much less remain superior over time, but particular cultural features may nevertheless be clearly better for some purposes-- not just different.
Why is there any such argument in the first place? Perhaps it is because we are still living in the long, grim shadow of the Nazi Holocaust and are understandably reluctant to label anything or anyone "superior" or "inferior." But we don't need to. We need only recognize that particular products, skills, technologies, agricultural crops, or intellectual concepts accomplish particular purposes better than their alternatives. It is not necessary to rank one whole culture over another in all things, much less to claim that they remain in that same ranking throughout history. They do not.
Clearly, cultural leadership in various fields has changed hands many times. China was far in advance of any country in Europe in a large number of fields for at least a thousand years and, as late as the sixteenth century, had the highest standard of living in the world. Equally clearly, China today is one of the poorer nations of the world and is having great difficulty trying to catch up to the technological level of Japan and the West, with no real hope of regaining its former world preeminence in the foreseeable future.
Similar rises and falls of nations and empires have been common over long stretches of human history-- for example, the rise and fall of the Roman Empire, the "golden age" of medieval Spain and its decline to the level of one of the poorest nations in Europe today, the centuries-long triumphs of the Ottoman Empire-- intellectually as well as on the battlefields of Europe and the Middle East-- and then its long decline to become known as "the sick man of Europe." Yet, while cultural leadership has changed hands many times, that leadership has been real at given times, and much of what was achieved in the process has contributed enormously to our well-being and opportunities today. Cultural competition is not a zero-sum game. It is what advances the human race.
If nations and civilizations differ in their effectiveness in different fields of endeavor, so do social groups. Here there is especially strong resistance to accepting the reality of different levels and kinds of skills, interests, habits, and orientations among different groups of people. One academic writer, for example, said that nineteenth-century Jewish immigrants to the United States were fortunate to arrive just as the garment industry in New York began to develop. I could not help thinking that Hank Aaron was similarly fortunate-- that he often came to bat just as a home run was due to be hit. It might be possible to believe that these Jewish immigrants just happened to be in the right place at the right time if you restricted yourself to their history in the United States. But, again taking a world view, we find Jews prominent, often predominant, and usually prospering, in the apparel industry in medieval Spain, in the Ottoman Empire, in the Russian Empire, in Argentina, in Australia, and in Brazil. How surprised should we be to find them predominant in the same industry in America?
Other groups have also excelled in their own special occupations and industries. Indeed, virtually every group excels at something. Germans, for example, have been prominent as pioneers in the piano industry. American piano brands like Steinway and Schnabel, not to mention the Wurlitzer organ, are signs of the long prominence of Germans in this industry, where they produced the first pianos in colonial America. Germans also pioneered in piano-building in Czarist Russia, Australia, France, and England. Chinese immigrants have, at one period of history or another, run more than half the grocery stores in Kingston, Jamaica, and Panama City and conducted more than half of all retail trade in Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam, and Cambodia. Other groups have dominated retail trade in other parts of the world-- the Gujaratis from India in East Africa and in Fiji or the Lebanese in parts of West Africa, for example.
Nothing has been more common than for particular groups-- often a minority-- to dominate particular occupations or industries. Seldom do they have any ability to keep out others-- and certainly not to keep out the majority population. They are simply better at the particular skills required in that occupation or industry. Sometimes we can see why. When Italians have made wine in Italy for centuries, it is hardly surprising that they should become prominent among wine-makers in Argentina or in California's Napa Valley. Similarly, when Germans in Germany have been for centuries renowned for their beer-making, how surprised should we be that in Argentina they became as prominent among beer-makers as the Italians were among wine-makers? How surprised should we be that beer-making in the United States arose where there were concentrations of German immigrants-- in Milwaukee and St.