chapter  4
56 Pages

European Orders from the Roman Empire to the Eurozone

It is only logical that bureaucratic states comparable in power to Imperial China or the Timurid Empire emerged in Europe in the 1700s and

1800s enabled by newfound wealth generated by trade and manufacturing centered on the Atlantic economy that emerged after 1492. Except for brief and highly traumatic periods under Napoleon I and Adolf Hitler, Europe, even the western or central parts of it, were never united as large empires. If anything, attempts to overcome Europe’s underlying diversity, through conquest, ideology, or, in more recent times, economic integration, repeatedly ran aground. The underlying fractures of geography, demography, national cultures, aristocratic privilege, clerical autonomy, civil society, and work ethics proved too great to overcome. Indeed, these attempts, often brutal and fanatically motivated, reinforce Ibn Khaldun’s realization that civilization is about power, not morality, and in this respect the European record is as traumatic as that of other regions in the pre-modern period. In the modern period, especially when one factors in the cost of fascism, communism and colonialism, the European record of arbitrary power assumes unprecedented proportions.