Talk:Western world/Archive 1

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Page One

What about countries, which have higher standard of living thatn third world countries, but still much lower than in USA, but they do share more or less the same culture, ideas, kind of government and history? I mean countries like Poland, Czech, Russia... (ok, maybe i exaggerate with Russia a bit) szopen

Depends on the context. In most contexts, I'd say yes. --Robert Merkel

I can't see how Japan, South Korea, Taiwan can be considered part of the West. They are about as East as one can get.

Not sure about that. They are modern capitalist countries.

China is arguably at least part Western too, as Marxism is a western ideology based on a materialist world-view, at odds with traditional Oriental philosophy.

It might be useful to list the attrubutes we consider Western. High standard of living? Consumer society? Pluralist democracry? Generally secular/materialist philosophy? European or european-derived culture?

I would suggest few if any countries would not qualify as at least partially westernised on at least one of these grounds, wherever they are geographically located. Exile 16:38, 28 Jan 2005 (UTC)

"The author Frances Fujikyama? argues" -- not found on Google. Francis Fukuyama springs to mind. Google suggested "Francis Fujiyama" -- Tarquin


I think the statement that Japan is not considered part of Western society needs qualification and/or expansion. 17:20, 31 Oct 2002

The following is the full text from Occident:

Opposite of "Oriental," "Occident" is a rare term for "Western" but let's look at it this way: it's actually a distinctive concept from "Western". The Japanese can be "Occidental" when they take an "Occidental" position to investigate the "Oriental" civilization of Islam. A Muslim Arab can likewise take on an "Occidental" position when s/he chooses to investigate the "Oriental" civilization of the Japanese.
see, this is all relational, unlike "Eastern" and "Western" which have a definite center on earth.

Looks like a load of gibberish to me, but I'll leave it here in case anyone thinks there is anything salvageable in it. I'm redirecting the "Occident" article to this one. -- Oliver P. 06:00 12 Jul 2003 (UTC)

See: where Austria, Sweden and Finland are added to the list of countries. I don't find any explanation to why Sweden should be classified as a Western Country according to a more narrow definition but Finland only according to a broader. Culturally Sweden and Finland show very few differences. The have similar religious traditions (Lutheran state church since the 1520s) and close to similar laws on most matters, much more similar than for instance Germany and France, not to mention Greece. I guess this must be some kind of mistake, why I make the change without waiting for comments here.
-- Ruhrjung 14:53, 3 Aug 2003 (UTC)

I seem to recall adding non-aligned countries to the list, and I suppose I was thinking of political alignment instead of cultural factors. I am sure you are aware that one could justifiably claim that during the cold war Austria, Sweden and Switzerland were politically more aligned with Western countries and Finland was more in line with the Eastern Bloc. Of course these are nuanced issues subject to interpretation. 08:19, 14 Dec 2003 (UTC)

Description is really a bunch of outrageous nonsense; some things are outright bizarre - like Japan being a part of the West. This description it is a highly biased, historically unsubstantial, politicized definition of the West written solely from American standpoint. This piece can be re-written but not corrected for it is a pile of garbage. The term West or Western Civilization, like another fake – Judeo-Christian Civilization - is a very recent phenomenon. 1911 edition of Encyclopedia Britannica does not even contain an entry for West or for Western Civilization.

Japan, East Or West?

I removed one instance saying "Japan can't be west", but well, the article zigzags back and forth on the subject of Japan. What to do. Can't we say that Japan has *BOTH* eastern and western traits? I'd argue that the distinction is artificial anyway.

(Besides that, Japan is not not-western. They do science, produce many western goods, etc...)

Hmph. Kim Bruning 12:10, 7 May 2004 (UTC)

If Japan is not not-western, then I would conclude that "west" simply means "modern". - Nat Krause 16:37, 7 May 2004 (UTC)

Western economy

Perhaps one element of this issue is that Japan's economy is western.. meaning they employ free-market capitalism, a western invention, in the same way and with the same results as the western nations.--Nectarflowed T 8 July 2005 09:34 (UTC)

Some people and NGO's simple refer to "rich countries" when talking about "Western world". Furthermore, governments may call Japanese immigrants "Western immigrants". Other definitions (market economy, democraty may occur). This is really about how "Western world" is defined. Discussions on definitions are usually not productive, in contrary to presenting the different definitions. 13:17, 26 July 2005 (UTC)

A solution to "current" definition

I think it should read:

The founder members of NATO the EU and Switzerland. A broader definition might extend to Australia and New Zealand and sometimes Israel.
The Asian countries Japan, South Korea, the Republic of China (Taiwan), are sometimes considered part of the West and sometimes not...

This would clean up the sentence, cover Western Europe and automatically extend the coverage as countries joined the EU. At the moment the page misses out all the newer EU members and netural Ireland! With this construction, the fareast Asian countries get the same definition as South America as does Israel.

Does anyone have any objections to me making that change?

Change made Philip Baird Shearer 06:00, 20 May 2004 (UTC)

According to the EU-treaties, the EU is not a union of Western countries, it is a union of European countries. This is part of the membership-criteria. This results in quite another debate: What is Europe? I would not mix this debate with the debate "What is the Western world" as both debates may have other outcomes 14:40, 26 July 2005 (UTC)

A point to ponder. the definition does not mention Africa in particular South Africa. As "South America is sometimes mentioned as a Western society, but much of it is poor." could just as eaily read "South Africa..." Philip Baird Shearer 00:09, 18 May 2004 (UTC)

"Western" is used in different ways, but in it's most common usage it is not only a cultural or histio-cultural term. PMLF wrote above: "[If] Latin America is not Western, then [...] Spain and Portugal aren't Western either." The economic dimensions of a society also seem important to usage describing nations as "western."

The mean gross domestic product (PPP) per capita of the countries included in a strict, or perhaps "core," delineation of "western," excluding the slavic eastern European countries, appears at a glance to be around 33,000 USD.1 In this strict delineation, Portugal, at 20,000, is the low outlier to the group, but Brazil, at 9,000, is quite far away.--Nectarflowed (talk) 08:16, 5 May 2005 (UTC)


After the war Austria was partitioned into four zones by the Allies it so the whole country was not under any one other country's sphere of influence. I think that after 1955 and the Austrian State Treaty it was under the American sphere of influence. In that its boarders were open, it had free democratic elections, its economy was similar to the rest of Western Europe and closely tied into it, its citizens were free to travel without restrictions etc. I can also see that it can be argued that it had a status similar to Switzerland. It was not in the Soviet sphere of influence. Philip Baird Shearer 16:46, 16 Apr 2005 (UTC)

West vs developed / Westernization vs modernization

The concepts of "the Western world" and "the developed world" should be kept distinct. There are Western and developing countries (e.g. much of South America), and developed and non-Western countries (South Korea, Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong and ROC/Taiwan). Countries like India and China are trying to modernize and develop, but to say that they're also trying to Westernize is simply untrue (if not somewhat offensive).

People in Hong Kong and Singapore are proud of saying that they're where "East meets West", combining an Eastern heritage with a history of Western colonization and Western values. They are also among the most developed countries / territories in the world. If we equate "West" with "modern" or "developed", then this expression of "East meets West" wouldn't make too much sense.

A search for Japan and Western on Google brings up plenty of links that contrast Japan with the West. We could also conduct a poll among Japanese Wikipedians whether they consider themselves Westerners. -- ran (talk) 18:17, May 27, 2005 (UTC)

South America

Not considering latin america as western is someting strange. It look like a definition of a very "United-statian" view of what is west. In this view to be western is being free-trading "modern", rich, with "american pop culture" (music, cinema, fast food,...), with anglo-saxons values about religion or society. In some words this definition consider that west is all "americanized" societies. That the reason why they exclude latin-america and eastern Europe. (for huntington being part of the same group than mexicans, brazilians or argentineans is unbearable..) While, in fact the latin-american societies have as much of european culture as USA. (native indian and African influences in both north and south america). But are more poor, less "americanized" than europe itself.I'm french, if this definition of west become the only one universally used I don't want to be considered as a westerner anymore ! The people of south Europe (France, Spain, Italy) we are latin-based societies, we had always big cultural ties with latin-america (we all speak latin languages, have catholic faith, and share a lot of common values), we feel closer to those countries, especially Argentina, Uruguay, Chile or Brazil than to USA or Australia !! witch are basically Northener-european based societies. Our view of western is a cultural view, wich ecompass the three main European "civilisations" (the anglo-germanic, tha slavic and the latin one" . It is not a political-economical view. So Latinamerica is of course part of western world , as much as USA. The same for eatern Europe, wich share the same western culture (european) than us. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 18 September 2004, 19:18 (UCT)

Yeah, of course Latin Anerica is Western. Latin America is just a an extension of the Iberian culture. Of someone says Latin America is not Western, then this person has to believe that Spain and Portugal aren't Western either. PMLF 14:47, 2 Dec 2004 (UTC)

I agree with this. It is rather xenophobic and discriminatory to say such a thing. Latin America is as close to Europe as any North-American country. I mean , does one really consider the US to be identical to Europe? Brazil , for instance, has got as many European aspects in its History as the United States. And then I ask, if Portugal is part of the "western" world, why isn't Brazil? Is Portugal culturally speaking closer to Finland , or Brazil?? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 15 December 2004, 14:55 (UCT)

hello everyone, i was reading the article and it would be nice to have a list of western countries, eastern countries, etc... A map would also be helpful for each era, such as the 16th c. map of the west, the cold war map of the west etc... To some exttent latin america is western, i don't think they are completly western because they are not that stable relatively to western europe and the usa. Examples Chile, pinochet... currently in the "west" there are no dictators as of ww2. if i knwo my history the last dictarot in the UK was cromwell, the last one in france was robespierre and the last one in germany was hitler. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 4 January 2005 11:09 (UCT)

I do not think that Latin America is "western". They are stable countries compared to African ones but they are still subject to foreign intervention and domestic human rights abuses. They are therefore relatively not stable compared to the west. America is western as the few existing tribes were wiped and completely replaced by Europeans. As opposed to Latin America where there were well-organized empires and societies prior to European colonization; they adopted western culture and traditions and blended it with their society but this does mean that they are now the west. They are westernized, unlike America which is considered part of the west as it was completely dominated by Europeans. Australia and New Zealand are considered part of the west in my opinion for the same reason as America, Canada also. South Korea, Singapore, Honk Kong, Taiwan and Japan are very westernized and could in a broader sense be considered part of the west as they are wealthy compared to other Asian nations. The west is still everything west of the old iron curtain plus North America plus some countries in Asia, and Australia and New Zealand. The definition didn’t change I believe. All else is westernized. For example I am currently residing in an Arab country and the city I live in, if you simply look at it from the outside is very western but it is not the west. I think the same goes for Brazil, from the outside it is western, the language, the religion…but from the inside is it really? I am no expert on Brazil but I don’t really think so. The west is not simply having a specific language or religion; it is also having a stable free-market economy, freedom of speech… —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 5 January 2005, 12:56 (UCT)

Following that definition, Nazi Germany was or was not wester? Most Latin American countries have free market and freedom of speech. This article seems to have been writed by an USA citizen. If Latin American countries are not western, Spain, Portugal, Italy and France neither are. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 28 January 2005 11:51 (UCT)

I still cannot see how Latin America is now the West. How is Peru the same as France or Bolivia and Guatemala similar to Switzerland. I cannot see that. In the classical meaning of the West, it has included Western Europe and North America. On the other hand Portugal shares many similarities with the rest of the EU for example (democarcy, common history...) while South America does not (they were simply exploited by Europeans but to say they played a major inflentual role in 17th or 18th century European politics is exagerated). Look, in the media, when they refer to westerners they don't mean Hondurians or Uruaguans, they probably mean Europeans or Americans. Ok Japan is where East meets West, that's an applicable description but South America has its own distinct culture. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 5 July 2005, 01:22 (UCT)

In response to the last additions by IP on 5 July 2005. This is an English language encyclopaedia not an international one. It may be that in Spanish the term "The West" includes South America, but does it encompass that region when used in English? I doubt if one native English speaking person in one hundred could point to Uruguay on a map of the world let alone include it in a definition of Western world. I do not think that any country in South America is included in the term Western world when it is used in British newspapers.
Does any one have a credible English language source which uses the term "The West" and includes any country in South America? If not then all references to South America should be removed. --Philip Baird Shearer 8 July 2005 08:07 (UTC)

This is a very good point, if there is any evidence in an English language paper or television network that the term "Western" came to refer to South Americans then we shall include it here in this definition but if there are no such references (and there probably arent) then we should remove such a defintion from this english language encyclopedia. South America is simply not the West in my opinion, it has a different culture and values and has adpoted western traits over the centuries and has sadly been the center for western interventions over the years from spanish massacres in the 16th century to american interventions in the 20th but this, again, does not mean they are western now. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 9 July 2005, 02:31

Just want to add my commentary. I'm Italian, and like the French contributor, I feel Latin European countries like Italy and France have more in common with South and Central America than with the United States or Australia. Anyway, I'll just print out an essay I wrote on the subject.


Is Latin America Western?

While surfing the Net recently I came across a website entitled “Latin America: Western or Non-Western?” Though the site did not give a definitive answer to the question, it discussed some of the reasons why people might or might not consider Latin America part of the Western world.

The term “West” itself is somewhat problematic. It seems to have joined the ranks of words such as “Creole,” “humanist,” and “liberal” whose meaning varies according to where, when and by whom they are spoken. Most people would agree that Western Europe, Canada, the United States and Australia are part of the West. However, they might disagree on how to classify East Germany, which until the fall of the Berlin Wall belonged to the Communist Eastern bloc but which has strong historical and cultural ties to Western Europe (and which has since reunited with West Germany). Latin America’s status as part of the so-called Occident is also ambiguous. On one hand, a writer for Canada’s National Post daily described Colombia as the “most dangerous country in the West.” An Ecuadorian friend similarly tells me that of course his homeland is Western; after all, it was colonized by Europeans long before many areas of the United States were. Others, though, would hesitate to include Latin America in the Western fold. Some leftists, in the hope of creating a sense of Third World solidarity, lump the region together with Africa, Asia and the Middle East rather than with Europe and North America. Ironically, many right-wingers too would place Latin America outside the Western pale. Not only is the region not industrialized, they say, but the majority of its inhabitants are not white (that is, of unmixed European descent).

My answer to the website’s question is that yes, Latin America is part of the West. Saying that Latin America is not Western is to my mind a bit like saying that cats are not mammals. In other words, what else could they be? Just as cats possess all the physical features of mammals (hair, the ability to produce milk for their young, and so on), Latin America’s culture is largely based on that of Western Europe, more specifically Spain’s and in the case of Brazil, Portugal’s.

The first objection to classifying Latin American countries as Western is that they are not industrialized, at least not to the same degree as Europe or North America. But industrialization is not the exclusive domain of the West. Japan is one of the most industrialized nations on the planet, yet it is certainly not Western. The much less technologically developed Philippines is far more Westernized than Japan, due to its three hundred years as a Spanish colony. While the wish to promote solidarity between Latin America and the rest of the Third World is commendable, those who do so sometimes forget (or prefer to ignore) that culturally, even if not politically or technologically, the former resembles Europe more than it does Asia or Africa, for example.

Another reason often cited for not including Latin America in the West stems from the fact that most of its people are not white. However, a white population does not a Western country make. For example, according to Jared Diamond in his book The Third Chimpanzee, Turks are mainly European in their genes, but Turkey is not part of the Occident. Others might argue that large portions of Latin America, like Bolivia and Guatemala, are inhabited by individuals with no European ancestry whatsoever. But the same thing could be said of Canada, where the most northerly parts of the country are populated mainly by Aboriginals and Inuit.

Moreover, most Latin Americans have at least some European ancestry. As well, the average mestizo1 or mulatto2, has more in common with his or her European than Indian and/or African forbears. He or she in all likelihood a.) speaks a European language - Spanish in most places and Portuguese in Brazil - as his or her mother tongue; b.) practises a religion that while not originally from Europe took root on that continent more widely than on any other in the Old World; and c.) leads a lifestyle similar to that of people in Spain, Portugal and to a lesser extent other European nations. From this standpoint it’s hard to claim that Latin Americans are any less Western than Americans or Australians. The difference of course is that the latter two groups derive their culture from Britain whereas the former trace theirs to Spain or Portugal.

That’s not to deny that Native American and African customs have influenced Latin American life. It’s also understandable that countries like Mexico, which broke away forcefully from the “motherland,” Spain, are now stressing their Indian over their European roots. Other nations are emphasizing their “mestizaje” - the Spanish term for “race mixing” - in an attempt to recognize their dual (or in the case of places like Brazil with a strong African component, triple) heritages. But the reality is that for most mixed-race Latin Americans, who form the majority of the area’s population, their European background has played the greatest role in shaping their world views, social attitudes, and daily lives.

Indeed, the fact that race mixing played such an important role in Latin American history is probably the main reason for that region’s Western character. It should be pointed out that not all Spanish and Portuguese colonies joined the ranks of the West. Three centuries of Spanish rule in the Philippines, for example, did not transform that group of islands into a Latin nation. Though Spain had considerable influence on the Philippines - converting the bulk of the population to Catholicism, providing loan words to the local languages, and giving the people Spanish first and/or last names - for the most part the Filipinos’ pre-colonial Asian culture remained intact. Incidentally, miscegenation between Spaniards and Filipinas3 occurred on a fairly limited scale, since very few of the former settled in the islands. As historian John Phelan explains, the Philippines failed to become a Latin nation in the same way, say, Mexico did in part because the former lacked a significant mixed-race population to help Hispanicize the country.

A friend from Colombia, a man of mixed Spanish and Native American descent who could never have passed for white in the United States, admitted to me that he felt “at home” on a visit to Italy because Italy is a Latin country - like Spain and Portugal. Obviously Latin America is not a carbon copy of Iberia.4 But nor is the United States a replica of England. And just as no one would ever classify my four cats as fish, amphibians, reptiles or birds, Latin America cannot be described as anything but Western.

1 The term “mestizo,” though it literally means “mixed” in Spanish, in Latin America generally refers to people of mixed European and Native American ancestry.

2 A “mulatto” refers to a person of mixed European and African descent.

3 I say “Filipinas” rather than “Filipinos” because practically all such unions involved Spanish men and indigenous women rather than Filipino men and Spanish women.

4 “Iberia” refers to the peninsula on which Spain and Portugal are located. --—The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) 18:47, 21 July 2005 (UTC)

According to the classical definition of Western World, Latin America belongs to the Western world. The Western culture is the predominant culture in most parts of Latin America. But as other definitions are used, part of the discussion should be avoided by adding "According to the definition used."Eros(Dutch) 16:11, 25 July 2005 (UTC)

In who's "definition of Western World, Latin America belongs to the Western world."?
No one is disputing that it can be argued that western culture is the predominant culture in most parts of Latin America, but that does not mean that it is incuded in "The West" when that term is used in English Language news papers or other sources. As I said above provide an English language source which includes Latin America when using the term then we can add it. Philip Baird Shearer 08:19, 26 July 2005 (UTC)
If we talk about the "jewish world", we generally do not talk about a geographically delineated area but rather about a culturally delineated community. It would be an artificial construction to exclude culturally-Western communities in the definition of Western World. And yes, there are definitions who do that. But there are also definitions who don't. By the way, if you agree that Portugal is a Western nation, that Rio de Janeiro was during a while the capital of a Western nation (Portugal). 11:43, 27 July 2005 (UTC)

Cleaned up, new structure

Hi, I have cleaned up and created a new stucture. As many discussions depend on the definitions used, enumerating the definitions should resolve many problems. 18:32, 25 July 2005 (UTC)

In your restructuring you included this in the introduction:

The Western world or the West is a group of countries and cultures of which the composition depends on the definition used. Originally defined as Western Europe, most modern uses of the term refer to the societies of Western Europe and its cultural, philosophical and genealogical descendants in predominantly North America, Oceania and South America, typically including those countries whose ethnic identity and dominant culture derive from European culture.

Where is your source that in English the term "Western world" includes Oceania and South America?

Throughout your restructuring you have embedded all sorts of claims without one sourced reference to back them up. I suggest that if the article is to be re-written it is done gradually with sources added for each new fact added. Philip Baird Shearer 08:24, 26 July 2005 (UTC)

A good article (NPOV) gives an overview of current definitions and current points of view. I'm not going to debate the quality of the definitions, that is POV. It is no doubt that most people consider Australia a Western country. If you don't agree with that, it is fine but it remains a point of view. 08:55, 26 July 2005 (UTC)

Your alledged NPOV did not quote any sources for the "current defintions" and Oceania is much more than just Australia and New Zealand. Philip Baird Shearer 09:32, 26 July 2005 (UTC)

I do not know where you come from but perhpase this link will help you understand that when the term westen world in used in Brtain it tends not to include South America, Tonga, (or in this case even France!)

Or this typical example from the BBC: The Western world is wasting time and resources trying to stop immigration - legal and illegal - argues the eminent trade expert Jagdish Bhagwati. I would not read "Western world" in this context to mean Latin American countries.

There are two articles which show that the definition of the wested world as meaning predominatly Europe and North America is not confined to people who live in the west:

This BBC arcicle Islamic world's view of millennium the BBC quotes the Tehran-based Iran Daily as writing (amoung other things) "The West, the paper said, had created a deep divide between the haves and the have-nots through its scientific and military superiority." This would seem to me to imply that althought the west is to a degree based on culture (in this case the Roman Christian tradition), it also has to include threads of scientific and military superiority, as far as The Iran Daily is concerned.
In a lecture given as part of the RSA/BBC's "The World Lectures" on 1 June 2000 in London. Kishore Mahbubani,a Singapore diplomat, includes Russia and excludes China in his definition of the West " Four out of the five (i.e. including Russia) official nuclear powers are western" and he excludes Asia, Africa and Latin America. " To cite a simple example, if an Asian or African or Latin American princess were to pass away tomorrow, it will hardly be mentioned in the news. But when Princess Diana died - and it was truly a tragic and terrible loss - it became a global event because those who determined the control of global information flows decided that this was a global event."

--Philip Baird Shearer 09:32, 26 July 2005 (UTC)

That is a point of view. I hope you can understand that there are other points of view too. Heh, I'm not saying that Oceania is entirely Western, but Europe's cultural, philosophical and genealogical descendants in Oceania definitely are and that is what I am saying. Obscuring other definitions is pov. 09:41, 26 July 2005 (UTC)
Correction: I'm saying they are being considered to be western, leaving room for other opinions what the previous text did not do. 09:43, 26 July 2005 (UTC)

There was nothing to stop the "other text" being modified to include definitins like the one from Samuel P. Huntington.

One issue at a time. There is an article on Samuel P. Huntington, there is another article on his worldview expressed in his paper. And Samuel P. Huntington is cited in this article. That is enough. 13:02, 26 July 2005 (UTC)

The sources and quotes above, which I added to this section, were a quick selection pulled from the first few pages return from a couple of google searches, so finding sources is not a problem. The points of view expressed above are from sources with some credibility (A University, an "eminent trade expert (as defined by the BBC) Jagdish Bhagwati", a news paper editorial and a diplomat givin a lecture). Where is your English language source that any of the countries in South America or any of the countries in Oceania other than NZ and AUS are usually included in the term "western world"?

It is not an acceptable NPOV to includes thinks which one happens to belive, without quoting sources to show that they are put forward by credible authorities on the subject. see WP:NPOV#The vital component: good research and WP:NPOV#A simple formulation --Philip Baird Shearer 10:09, 26 July 2005 (UTC)

That is nonsense. The article should simple reflects on different points of view which are current. Apparently, you simply don't like them. More people have expressed the idea that South America is part of the Western World. You don't agree with that, ok. Some people have refered to literature. Your reaction: that literature is not valid. (eg with the ridiculous statement that non-English sources are not valid: writing in English does not mean that you can forget part of the reality because it is not in English). Furthermore, you respond with defending your point of view. But that is irrelevant as wikipedia has a neutral point of view policy. 13:02, 26 July 2005 (UTC)

Here is a BBC monitor report on an article inb"the leading Russian daily" newspaper Izvestiya writes "has brought the West and Russia up against a barrier which could become a dividing line worse than the Berlin Wall or the Iron Curtain". So clearly that news paper in 1999 did not consider Russia to be part of the West. If you wish to include other POVs then please supply credible sources which back up your assertions. It is find to add to the article that when reporting in Spain newspapers in Spain hibitually include South American when mentioning the Western World, but please include a source which can be used to verify this. But you have not provided one source in which English language usage includes South America when talking about the western world.

This issue has been troubling, me over the since I joined the discussion on South America, and I have raised it on Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Countering systemic bias perhapse you might like to contribute to that debate under English language encyclopaedia or an international encyclopaedia --Philip Baird Shearer 13:22, 26 July 2005 (UTC)

As you keep insisting, I'm only giving examples in order to demonstrate that including South America among the Western world is not my invention. I'm just showing that it is used elsewere, I'm not interested in a debat on the correctness as it is simply a matter of definition and personal points of view:

[1] "The 1980s and 1990s in Brazil, as in every other country of western culture, have revealed an ocean of trends and styles, plans and projects, which have brought every expressive resource of humanity to the service of art.", Embassy of Brazil in Otawa. Clearly, it includes Brazil among the Western countries. ( By the way, Brazil covers about 50% of South-America. [2] "The Cheapest Country in the Western World", titel of an article on [3] In many South-American countries, the "Western" is used to differentiate between the natives and the rest (Europeans, mestizo's etc.) Example This is also used in South Africa (but then Afrikaner and English versus the rest), example: read The Mind of South Africa of Allister Sparks. [4] This one includes Australia in the Western world: "In testimony to the superior culture of the West, many persons from the less developed world are trying to migrate to the United States, Australia, and the European Union, to partake of the "better life.", source: That is all I need to prove that is not my invention to include these countries among the Western world and that it is used elsewere in the English language 14:28, 26 July 2005 (UTC)

Have you read what I wrote or looked at the sources I gave?
  1. is a credible source and is coverd in the original article by the sentence:
    "One should distinguish "Western society" from the socio-economic term "first world" in that, for example, South America is occasionally mentioned as a Western society, but much of it is poor."
  2. One blog page does not an argument make. You need a credible source.
  3. That some of the inhabitants originate from the Europe does not make a country Western. There are lots of people in lots of countries who originate from somewhere else that does not make the country belong to a group. EG there are millions of muslims in Britian but Britian is not usually considered to be a muslim country.
  4. As the original articel said "A broader definition might extend to include Australia and New Zealand." But do you have a source that says ALL of Oceaniais considered part of the west when used an common English language source?
If Latin America is included in the introduction as a member of west how does one square this article with this report "Business: The Economy IMF warns of world growth threat" "The [IMF} report said that if capital flows from the West to emerging markets, especially Latin America, are cut further, the world economy will have to absorb yet another hit. If there is a real threat that existing investment capital in Latin America might be withdrawn by Western investors "it can and must be contained", the IMF warned."
--Philip Baird Shearer 19:33, 26 July 2005 (UTC)
I am not participating in a discussion on quality of sources when the use of definitions is disputed. Sources can only prove that definitions are used in a certain way. Again: I am not going to discuss which definition is right because it is only a matter of convention. There are those who define the West as "the rich countries" (IMF for example), there are those who define the West in a way that includes many cultures in South America.
The current text is not saying ALL of Oceania is Western, that is rediculous. 11:29, 27 July 2005 (UTC)

User describes various definitions and they really should be included in this article. Further, it has no doubt that Western culture has spread over the globe and that some continents have more been "affected" than others. More affected are North America, South America and Oceania (Australa and New Zealand). This does not mean that these countries are entirely Western but -as I understand it- nobody is saying that. Blessing in disguise 16:43, 30 July 2005 (UTC)

You are pushing against an open door. I agree that other defintions can be included. But I did not think that the very big alterations which made to the structure of the article did that in the best way, because it re-inserted information which was not sourced and leads to confusion. For example the section "Colonial Era" was re-inserted. But because of the very deep hatreds between Protestant and Catholic Europe at the time of "Christopher Columbus" AFAIK the term "Western World" would not have been used for the "New World" colonies in English. It certainly would not have been used in English to include Spanish colonies. Philip Baird Shearer 09:49, 31 July 2005 (UTC)
When the term "Western World" is used in the majority of English language publications in the US and the UK, it has a meaning which does not usually include Africa, (possibly excluding SA), Asia or Oceania (which include Aus and NZ but is more than than those two countries). Only the US and Canada are unusually included from North America.
At the moment there is a description of the definition by Samuel P. Huntington. There is no reason why other definitions by other people should not be added to that. Further there is a sentence: One should distinguish "Western society" from the socio-economic term "first world" in that, for example, South America is occasionally mentioned as a Western society, but much of it is poor. and the section Western life both of which can be expanded to include the influences and contributions to and from western culture. It would also be possible to add another section on "modern western culture" which describes the interrelations between countries and western culture.
This does not remove the fact that in the majority of English language news papers when one reads "the West" it does not include countries like India or those in South America. Those who use it pejoratively in such terms as "Western imperialism" do not usually include those countries such as Brazil who are a leader in that big western cultural export of football. --Philip Baird Shearer 09:49, 31 July 2005 (UTC)
Now you are debating unfair. There is nowhere in my contribution where India or Africa of "the whole of South America" or "the whole of Oceania" is included.
The question is not which definition is used most in English language as this frequency of use is really dependend on time, context and place. The question is "what definitions are used" and how can they be sumarised in a logically consistent way. 07:01, 1 August 2005 (UTC)

Samuel P. Huntington

Three paragraphs on the (controversial) theory of Samuel P. Huntington is really to much for an article on Western world. There is already an article on Samuel P. Huntington and on Clash of civilizations. 07:17, 1 August 2005 (UTC)

Regarding whether Latin America is included as Western in English-language media, look at this link about Chile: - 57k.