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Europe in the Twenty-first Century
In the two centuries following the French Revolution, Europe was transformed from a factionalized collection of feudal, hierarchical, Christian monarchies into an affluent community of peaceful, democratic, secular, and capitalist states. Along the way, these changes were shaped by upheavals of revolution and war. The Enlightenment and the French Revolution of 1789 first raised ideas of individualism, human rights, and popular sovereignty. The Napoleonic wars and the Peoples’ Spring of 1848 spread these notions across Europe, planting the seeds of liberalism and nationalism. The Industrial Revolution, based on the emergent principles of capitalism, brought expanded prosperity but also new forms of exploitation and inequality. Marxism was a reaction to the excesses of capitalism and led in two directions: toward socialism and social democracy in much of Western Europe, and toward communist revolution in Russia. The Darwinian revolution transformed both science and religion and changed the way we think about human beings and their place on the planet.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights Post-Stalin
After the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the General Assembly of the United Nations called on its member states to promote dissemination and explanation of the Declaration ‘chiefl y in schools and other educational institutions.’ I do not know how carefully this Declaration is studied in Soviet schools, or if its studied at all - I know that the contents of the Declaration are generally familiar to people acquainted with samizdat publications.
European Union Brief Terminology
Accession: The process of joining the European Union. After accession treaties have been negotiated, all member states must ratify them and the European Parliament must give its assent.
Asia, Latin America, and generalized preferences
Britain, on joining the Community, managed to secure satisfactory terms for Commonwealth countries from Africa, the Caribbean, and the Pacific. But no special arrangement was agreed for the Asian members of the Commonwealth-India, Pakistan (which then included Bangladesh), Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Hong Kong, and Singapore-most of whose exports had entered Britain tariff-free under Commonwealth preference. The damage was limited, however, because in 1971 the Community was among the first to adopt a Generalized System of Preferences (GSP), according preferential entry to imports from almost all Third World countries that did not already benefit from the Lome Convention or the Mediterranean agreements; and this reduced the discrimination against most Asian and Latin American countries. The system was less favourable than it may sound because for ‘sensitive’ (that is, the more competitive) products there were quotas limiting the preferences to quantities fixed in advance for each product and each member state. But the generalized preferences nevertheless helped to strengthen links with less-developed countries.