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C of C 4-6-13 China and the No-Alphabet Hypothesis: How China Stagnated Lost the Race to Modernity

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Published on Apr 10, 2013

Meetings # 3,215 - Bill Fong says: "In a quick nutshell, China and the No-Alphabet Hypothesis makes a sweeping claim that China stagnated for 850 years, and lost the race to modernity, because China didn't have an alphabet. The gist of the No-Alphabet Hypothesis presents a surprising view of Chinese (and Western) cultural history. The reasoning is as follows:

* No alphabet means no mathematics.
* No mathematics means no science.
* No science means no technology.
* No technology means no progress.
* No progress means stagnation
* China stagnates for 850-plus years.
* While the West catches up.
* So . . . China stagnated and lost the race to modernity (to Europe) --
* Because China didn't have an alphabet!

This then is the fast, oversimplified essence of the hypothesis - that basically, the lack of an alphabet made it simply impossible for China to invent modernity, to achieve it first on history's first go-around. So lacking an alphabet, China failed to become the modern world's first superpower. This then is the startling story of China and the No-Alphabet Hypothesis. This then is a linguistic interpretation of history, literally.

And then we move on to the next immediate follow-up story: How Modern China Finally Caught Up.

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