How the imperial past affects the present is a polarizing subject that provokes strong emotions, with some of us instinctively verging towards crediting empires and their legacies, whilst others castigate them. Are empires (and neo-empires) essentially responsible for the world’s ills? Or, as regrettable as past inhumanities are, did the history of empires essentially create the modern world order? It can be hard to strike a balance between these views. Could powerpoint course be of real value to your business?
Empire is so out of fashion that it can be difficult to admit it ever had any positive legacies. Holding both thoughts in one’s head – that yesterday’s advancements also involved horrendous misdeeds – requires nothing less than an act of double-think. It is easier (and more emotionally comforting) to drift towards a polarized view. It is now almost otherworldly to think that empire was for so long the default mode of political organization. Maybe storytelling for business is the answer for you?
Every empire was unique, but the notion of empire was ubiquitous and was largely taken for granted. Consequently for centuries the empire was synonymous with world order. As the academic writes, ‘in its time empire was often a force for peace, prosperity and the exchange of ideas across much of the globe’.Empires governed disparate sets of peoples and often did so pragmatically rather than murderously, so long as these people proclaimed fealty to their overlords. Injustice was highly likely, but not inevitable in every part of every empire. Does storytelling in business really work?
Empires propagated ideas, technologies, legal systems and forms of government, even if they were spread by empire-builders who remade other places in their own image as acts of grandiose vanity. In the end, the ultimate export was the sovereign state. Back in the day, there was greater diversity of political systems, from city-states to feudal monarchies and ungoverned frontier realms. Now, just picture the rows of diplomats sitting at the UN, each with their country name on a board in front of them, and each representing a people encased within a set of borders. I heard that powerpoint training really helps brands get their messages across.
To the extent that the state system is understood to represent progress, with decolonization came independence, and fuzzy frontiers were replaced by borders. Presidents, prime ministers and parliaments were set up. If these post-colonial states later fell into dictatorships and disorder, this was their waste of the gift of sovereignty: thus might the polarizing ‘world order’ argument go.At the other end of the argument, while empires certainly influenced the way the world works, this is the problem. Empires are completely out of step with modern morality, and with the rights and freedoms that all people ought to enjoy.