Arsenal@LHR
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What Does "West" Mean?

Thu Mar 21, 2002 11:59 pm

We hear the words "west" or "western world" in the media and other places. But what does "west" mean? most people refer it to Europe or north america as the "western world". But if you live in north america, then the west would be countries like Japan, China or other countries in Asia. And europe would be to the east of the US. Or the Australians would say the west is a place like South africa or another country to the west of Oz.

I think the term "west" is incorrect and outdated.

Rgds
Arsenal@LHR
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eal401
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RE: What Does "West" Mean?

Fri Mar 22, 2002 12:13 am

So what do you suggest to replace it?

Does it stem from the days of the Iron Curtain, i.e. all the good countries were "west" of the IC, all the bad countries "east?"

Still applies in Lancashire.

West Lancs =  Big thumbs up

East Lancs =  Acting devilish
 
Arsenal@LHR
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RE: What Does "West" Mean?

Fri Mar 22, 2002 12:16 am

No, i'm not saying let's replace with it, i just feel this word is a bit incorrect, and it's more to do with political situations than a geographical term.

Arsenal@LHR
In Arsene we trust!!
 
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RE: What Does "West" Mean?

Fri Mar 22, 2002 12:17 am

These labels have never been clearly defined. 'West' is as vague as the odd 'North' and 'South' labels that started to appear in the '70s: New Zealand suddenly became a 'northern' country, while Mongolia became a 'southern' one.

A better way would be to sort countries according to measurable factors: median personal/household income according to purchasing power, average life expectancy and so on.
 
matt86
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RE: What Does "West" Mean?

Fri Mar 22, 2002 12:19 am

I think the term "west" is correct...
If you take the 0°W/E Longitude as the middle of the map (that's normal, or) , the US and the EU are on the west side of the former CCCP and the former CCCP is in the east of the US and the EU.
 
Arsenal@LHR
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RE: What Does "West" Mean?

Fri Mar 22, 2002 12:26 am

Good point Matt86, but still, wouldn't you say the west is Japan and other countries in asia if u happen to live in north america?

Rgds
Arsenal@LHR
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Turin_airport
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RE: What Does "West" Mean?

Fri Mar 22, 2002 12:44 am

The definition comes from the european division after WW2.
All the western european countries (from UK and Portugal to Italy and West Germany) were under U.S. influence, while the eastern european countries were under U.S.S.R. influence.
So U.S. and their european allies were the western world (aka NATO countries), the others were the eastern world (aka Warsaw Pact countries).
Japan was a western country because it was under the U.S. influence, while China, Yugoslavia and few others were called "non-aligned countries".

Hope it helps.

T_a
 
prosa
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RE: What Does "West" Mean?

Fri Mar 22, 2002 2:10 am

Today the "West" is not really a geographical term. It includes countries with developed economies, reasonably fair distributions of wealth, high levels of education and literacy, and democratic governments. Countries that belong to the "West" are the central and western European nations, especially those in the EU; the United States; Canada; Australia; New Zealand; and Japan. Questionable cases include Poland; the Czech Republic; Solvakia; Hungary; Solvenia; Croatia; Israel; Singapore; and South Korea.
"Let me think about it" = the coward's way of saying "no"
 
Hurricane
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RE: What Does "West" Mean?

Fri Mar 22, 2002 5:49 am

Trust me on this: It comes from the western hemisphere. Western culture meant American culture. Gradually, as European and American culture grew alike, the term 'Western Civilization' grew to mean American/Canadian and European culture and lifestyle.
 
seb146
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RE: What Does "West" Mean?

Fri Mar 22, 2002 6:08 am

I live only about 70 miles from the 'end' of the west and I still think of Japan and China as the East. Marco Polo journeyed to the east hundreds of years ago. I think the term that needs to be corrected, especially in the States is 'Orient.' Many people here use Oreint to describe China or Japan while I think of the Orient as Romania and Bulgaria. I mean, where does the Oreint Express go? China?
Patriotic and Proud Liberal
 
Hepkat
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RE: What Does "West" Mean?

Fri Mar 22, 2002 7:08 am

Guys, I believe when we say West, we mean principally North America and Western Europe. "West" defines a certain lifestyle, culture and ideology, i.e., democracy, capitalism (for the most part) and freedom of thought and religion. It's a combination of geography and lifestyle. This means Mexico is a western country. So are Caribbean countries, obviously the U.S., Canada and all of Western Europe. South America's questionable, meaning I've not really seen those countries referred to as "western" in the press, but they very well could be.

Africa and Asia are definitely not western countries, because the culture and lifestyle are completely different, without judging. However, countries can be "westernized", or strongly influenced by the west, like Japan and much of Asia, while still retaining some aspects of their culture.

As for Australia and New Zealand, I don't believe they are classified as western countries per se, but they definitely have a western culture and way of life. I'm really not sure what the correct category for this region is.
 
Noise
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RE: What Does "West" Mean?

Fri Mar 22, 2002 7:14 am

Matt86, you are correct. Also, in ancient times, the Easterners refered the white man as the man from the west, that's why Europe is also considered "west" today.
 
jessman
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RE: What Does "West" Mean?

Fri Mar 22, 2002 4:49 pm

East and West are much older than WWII, It is basically differentiation between the European(Western) cultures and the cultures of Asia(Far East) and the "Middle East".
They are generally recognized by their pasts.
The Greek and Roman empires are thought to be the basis of Western civilization. Greece and Rome generally don't mean much to the "Eastern" cultures because they were not fundamental in the least.
I don't know enough about middle eastern and far eastern cultures to give their basis, but "Middle East" is now generally identified by arabs, who are predominantly Muslim. "Far east" Tends to deal with asian peoples.
Also, this mind set leaves out large parts of the world. Africa is "African" Americans are only counted as western culture because the Europeans destroyed what would have been called "Native American" culture.
 
Metwrench
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RE: What Does "West" Mean?

Fri Mar 22, 2002 5:24 pm

I agree with Seb146,

When Europeans started exploring, they went either east or west. The "America's" were colonized by these cultures and therefore gained some of their identity.

It may not be appropriate, but that's how we identify regions and cultures. It really isn't meant to be derogatory any form or manor.
 
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sebolino
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Definition

Fri Mar 22, 2002 5:44 pm

West means at the left of France.
East means at the right of France.

 Smile/happy/getting dizzy  Smile/happy/getting dizzy  Smile/happy/getting dizzy (Don't hurt me)
 
Metwrench
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RE: What Does "West" Mean?

Fri Mar 22, 2002 6:03 pm

If you're from the UK, looking at Fraaaannccceeee, you got it ass backwards.

Not that we would expect otherwise.
 
Rickster
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RE: What Does "West" Mean?

Fri Mar 22, 2002 6:58 pm

Being in the East or West can sometimes differ from the geographical reality.

Just for example Praha and Brno (Czech Republic) wich are geographically in the northwest, or Ljubljana (Slowenia) wich is in the southwest of the "western" city of Vienna, are still very often described as "eastern European" cities.

Regards Rickster
 
roguetrader
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RE: What Does "West" Mean?

Sat Mar 23, 2002 11:15 am

The definition comes from the european division after WW2.

The term as we know it today was used well before WW2.

Trust me on this: It comes from the western hemisphere.

Again, the term was used before the western hemisphere was discovered (or re-discovered) by Europeans.

"West" defines a certain lifestyle, culture and ideology, i.e., democracy, capitalism (for the most part) and freedom of thought and religion

This is pretty accurate as to its current use.

Traditionally, when people speak of the "West" or "Western Civilization" they mean all the civilizations in Europe (and later the Americas) that descended from Ancient Rome and Ancient Greece. This is where the term started: in ancient Greece, who viewed their own and the cultures east of them as the two significant cultures of the world. Thus: East and West.

Now, Hepkat's thoughts are more accurate: its pretty much the 'First World' states, mainly European in location or origin, and market oriented democracies.

kind regards,
RogueTrader
 
LH423
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RE: What Does "West" Mean?

Sat Mar 23, 2002 1:59 pm

Arsenal@LHR: Technically Japan and Asia are east of North America, because much like the Atlantic has the Prime Meridian separating the Western Hemisphere from the Eastern Hemisphere, the Pacific has the International Dateline running practically dead centre down the middle of it, thereby splitting the Eastern Hemisphere (Asia/Australia) from the Western Hemisphere (the Americas). So while one must travel west from North America to get to Asia, the second they cross the International Dateline they go from being at the furthest point to the west on Earth, to the easternmost point on Earth. It's quite tricky really.

LH423
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NZ767
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RE: What Does "West" Mean?

Sat Mar 23, 2002 3:50 pm

Hey Hepkat,
You say Australia and New Zealand are not Western countries?
What are we then??
We're sure as hell not Communist!  Smile
 
Hepkat
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RE: What Does "West" Mean?

Sat Mar 23, 2002 9:27 pm

NZ767, I believe I ended by saying I wasn't sure which category you all fall in. Geographically you're certainly not Western, but I guess culturally you are defined as such. And, this world ISN'T just divided into West and Communists.
 
NZ767
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RE: What Does "West" Mean?

Sat Mar 23, 2002 10:14 pm

Hepcat,
See the smile in my post?
Lighten up!!  Smile
 
toady
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RE: What Does "West" Mean?

Sat Mar 23, 2002 10:20 pm

Hurricane: I don't know if you meant it to sound this way, but your posting implies that European culture/lifestyle followed American.
Not really true; American culture (legal, social, political, religious) was forged by Europeans who brought it over with them in the early days of your country.

No big deal. The end result is the same - a common culture.

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