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Waarom was Europa so tegnologies en kultureel gevorderd?

Waarom was Europa so tegnologies en kultureel gevorderd?


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Waarom was die Europese bevolking in die geskiedenis so gevorderd in vergelyking met ander bevolkings, soos inheemse Amerikaners?

Wat is die rede waarom die Europeërs so goed was in tegnologie en wetenskap? Waarom het Europeërs eerder ruilhandel gebruik?

Was Griekeland ook die geboorteplek van hierdie 'tegnologie en kultuur'?


In die eerste plek was dit nie altyd die geval in die geskiedenis nie. In die tydperk ongeveer 400-1500 was die Europese bevolkings nie meer tegnologies gevorderd as sommige bevolkings in Asië nie. En nog daarvoor was die grootste deel van Europa, behalwe 'n smal strook naby die Middellandse See, redelik primitief ten opsigte van wetenskap en tegnologie. En die belangrikste plek waar die wetenskap in die oudheid ontwikkel het, was Alexandrië (in die moderne Egipte).

Wetenskap en tegnologie begin in die XVI eeu intensief ontwikkel in Wes -Europa, en dit is moeilik om een ​​rede hiervoor te noem, maar miskien is een van die belangrikste redes kapitalisme, en in die algemeen die sosiale omgewing wat hierdie ontwikkeling moontlik gemaak het.

Byvoorbeeld, papier, roerende druk en moontlik vuurwapens is in China uitgevind, vroeër as in Europa, maar die uitvinding van papier en druk het nie 'n rewolusie in China veroorsaak soos in Europa nie. Massaproduksie van gedrukte boeke het nie daar begin nie. En vuurwapens, sodra dit binnedring, of in Europa uitgevind is, bereik baie vinnig 'n groter mate van perfeksie. 'N Ander voorbeeld is die uitvinding van stoomturbine in die Hellenistiese Alexandrië. Hulle het dit uitgevind, maar watter nut het hulle daarvan gemaak? Dit is slegs drie voorbeelde dat goeie sosiale toestande van kardinale belang is vir die ontwikkeling van wetenskap en tegnologie.

U kan natuurlik vra waarom hierdie sosiale en ekonomiese situasie in Europa ontwikkel het en nie elders nie, maar hierop is daar waarskynlik geen kort antwoord nie. U moet die hele geskiedenis van Europa en ander dele van die wêreld ontleed om te sien waarom dit in Europa gebeur het.

Dit is nie waar dat "Europeërs geld gebruik het terwyl ander mense ruilhandel gebruik het nie". Geld was op baie plekke redelik algemeen.

Op die laaste vraag. Dit is waar dat Griekeland die geboorteplek van die wetenskap was. Maar nie die enigste geboorteplek nie. Sterrekunde het byvoorbeeld in Babilonië begin. Dit is nie waar oor tegnologie nie. Alle soorte tegnologie is op baie plekke uitgevind, beslis Griekeland nie 'die geboorteplek van tegnologie' nie.

In die Hellenistiese state (NIE in Griekeland nie, maar op die gebiede van die moderne Egipte, Turkye en ander dele van die Middellandse See) bereik die wetenskap 'n baie hoë ontwikkelingsgraad en begin dit tegnologie beïnvloed. Maar dit was 'n relatief kort tydperk, ongeveer 200 jaar, ongeveer vanaf die tyd van Masedoniese verowering tot die verowering van hierdie state deur die Romeinse ryk. Die Romeine was nie geïnteresseerd in wetenskap nie, en het meestal die Griekse ingenieurs vir tegnologie aangewend. Selfs die ernstige tekort aan die ingenieurs in die ryk het geen vorm van ingenieursopleiding veroorsaak nie. Die belangrikste ding is dat wetenskaplikes en ingenieurs 'n baie lae sosiale status in die Romeinse ryk het. 'N Paar eeue daarna het die ontwikkeling van wetenskap in Europa heeltemal gestop, en daar was 'n sterk agteruitgang in tegnologie.

Die Hellenistiese wetenskap het gedeeltelik in die Ooste oorleef (Persië, Moslemlande, Bisantië, selfs in Indië). Toe, in die XVI eeu, moes dit alles in Europa hergebore word.

WYSIG. Ek het verwag dat my bewering dat 'die wetenskap in antieke Griekeland gebore is' besware sal opper. So laat ek verduidelik. Dit is 'n algemene misverstand dat "Grieke nie werklike wetenskap gedoen het nie omdat hulle nie eksperimente gemaak het nie". In die eerste plek vereis nie elke wetenskap eksperimente nie (sterrekunde, aardrykskunde vereis slegs waarnemings. En seker Grieke en Babiloniërs het waarnemings gemaak en aangeteken). Tweedens het Hellenistiese wetenskaplikes eksperimente gedoen. En nie net Archimedes nie. Hulle het verskillende dele van die fisika geskep wat nou verband hou met ingenieurswese, naamlik statika, insluitend hidrostatika, pneumatiek, meetkundige optika, geodesie. Ptolemeus beskryf byvoorbeeld sy eksperimente om breking te meet. Held van Alexandrië het outomate en stoommasjiene gebou. Ctezibius het waterklokke en waterorgels gebou, ens. Baie wetenskap het die bou van artillerie gedoen, en nie net Archimedes het dit gedoen nie.

EDIT2. Dit is algemeen om Euclid, Hipparchus, Ptolemaeus en Diophantus "Grieke" te noem. Hulle het inderdaad in Grieks geskryf, en hulle name klink Grieks, maar hulle werk nie in Europa nie. Oor hul 'etniese oorsprong' het ons glad nie inligting nie.


Die ekonomiese agtergrond

Die ekonomiese uitbreiding van die eeu het baie te danke gehad aan kragtige veranderings wat reeds teen 1500 plaasgevind het. Destyds het Europa slegs tussen 'n derde en die helfte van die bevolking wat dit oor 1300 gehad het, bestaan. vir die groot verliese, maar plae was herhalend, hongersnood gereeld, oorloë wat aanhoudend en sosiale spanning hoog was toe die Middeleeue geëindig het. Die laat -Middeleeuse rampe het die strukture van die Europese samelewing radikaal verander - die manier waarop dit voedsel en goedere produseer, inkomste versprei, die samelewing en staat organiseer en na die wêreld kyk.

Die groot menslike verliese het die ou balans tussen die klassieke 'produksiefaktore' - arbeid, grond en kapitaal - verander. Die afname in die bevolking het die lone in die dorpe en die huurgeld op die platteland laat daal, aangesien die minder werkers wat oorbly 'n hoër "skaarstewaarde" kan hê. Daarteenoor het die grond- en kapitaalkoste albei relatief meer en goedkoper geword namate die menslike getalle afgeneem het. Duur arbeid en goedkoop grond en kapitaal moedig 'faktorvervanging' aan, die vervanging van die duur faktor (arbeid) deur die goedkoper (grond en kapitaal). Hierdie plaasvervanging van grond en kapitaal deur arbeid kan byvoorbeeld gesien word in die wydverspreide omskakeling van bewerkbare grond na weivelde wat 'n paar herders, voorsien van kapitaal (skape) en uitgebreide weidings, 'n hoër opbrengs kan oplewer as ploeggebiede, intensief bewerk deur baie goed betaalde arbeiders.

Kapitaal kan ook die tegnologie ondersteun wat nodig is om nuwe gereedskap te ontwikkel, sodat werknemers meer produktief kan werk. Die laat Middeleeue was gevolglik 'n tydperk van aansienlike tegnologiese vooruitgang wat verband hou met hoë kapitaalinvestering in arbeidsbesparende toestelle. Die ontwikkeling van drukwerk deur roerende metaaltipe het 'n duur masjien, die pers, vir baie menslike kopieerders vervang. Kruit en vuurwapens het kleiner leërs groter vegkrag gegee. Veranderinge in die skeepsbou en in die ontwikkeling van navigasiehulpmiddels het groter skepe laat vaar met kleiner bemannings oor langere afstande. Teen 1500 het Europa bereik wat dit nog nooit gehad het nie: 'n tegnologiese voorsprong bo alle ander beskawings. Europa was dus toegerus vir wêreldwye uitbreiding.

Sosiale veranderinge was ook algemeen. Met 'n dalende bevolking het die koste van basiese voedsel (veral koring) gedaal. Met goedkoper voedsel kan mense op die platteland sowel as in die stad hul hoër verdienste gebruik om hul dieet te diversifiseer en te verbeter - om meer vleis, suiwelprodukte en drankies te verbruik. Hulle kon ook meer vervaardigde produkte uit die dorpe bekostig, tot voordeel van die stedelike ekonomieë. Die 14de eeu word met reg beskou as die goue era van werkende mense.

Ekonomiese historici het tradisioneel die daling in die koste van die basiese voedsel (graan) en die voortdurende vaste prys van vervaardigings as twee lemme van 'n oop skêr voorgestel. Hierdie prysskêr het die inkomste van die platteland na die stad herlei. Die laat -Middeleeuse prysbewegings bevoordeel dus stedelike ambagsmanne bo boere en handelaars bo verhuurders. Dorpe het 'n nuwe gewig in die samelewing gekry, die aantal dorpe met meer as 10 000 inwoners het toegeneem van 125 in ongeveer 1300 tot 154 in 1500, selfs al het die totale bevolking gedaal. Hierdie veranderinge ondermyn die leierskap van die adellike eienaarskap en versterk die mag en invloed van die groot handelaars en bankiers van die stede. Die 16de sou 'n 'burgerlike eeu' wees.

Kultureel het die rampe van die laat Middeleeue die houding verander en veral die Middeleeuse geloof ondermyn dat spekulatiewe rede die geheime van die heelal kan bemeester. In 'n tydperk van woeste en onvoorspelbare epidemies, lyk dit asof toevallige en onverwagte wette, toeval of lot eerder as onveranderlike wette die verloop van menslike aangeleenthede oorheers het. In 'n onsekere wêreld was empirisme die sekerste, veiligste filosofiese standpunt. In die formele filosofie was hierdie nuwe prioriteit wat aan die konkrete en die waarneembare gegee is, in teenstelling met die abstrakte en die spekulatiewe, bekend as nominalisme. In die sosiale lewe was daar duidelik 'n nuwe klem op noukeurige waarneming, op die behoefte om elke veranderende situasie te bestudeer om 'n basis vir aksie te kry.

Die 16de eeu het dus baie te danke gehad aan tendense wat in die laat Middeleeue ontstaan ​​het. Dit sou egter verkeerd wees om die geskiedenis daarvan bloot as 'n afspeel van vroeëre bewegings te beskou. Nuwe ontwikkelings van die eeu het ook die prestasies daarvan gevorm. Hierdie ontwikkelings het die bevolkingsgeld en -pryse van die landbou, handel, vervaardiging en bank- en sosiale en politieke instellings en kulturele houdings beïnvloed. Geskiedkundiges verskil baie oor die manier waarop hulle hierdie verskillende ontwikkelings wat hulle argumenteer, struktureer en in verband bring met mekaar oor wat as oorsake en wat as gevolge beskou moet word. Maar hulle is redelik eens oor die algemene aard van hierdie tendense.


Duitsland is al lank 'n akademiese kragstasie, en onderwys is dus die ruggraat van die tegnologiese vooruitgang van Duitsland. Volgens die federale ministerie van onderwys en navorsing, "is die doel dat goeie idees vinnig in innoverende produkte en dienste vertaal word. Dit is omdat innoverende oplossings die faktore is wat ons welvaart dryf en ons lewensgehalte ondersteun. ”

Vanaf 2014 is klasgelde vir universiteite nie meer in Duitsland gehef nie. Dorothee Stapelfeldt, senator vir wetenskap in Hamburg, het dit soos volg opgesom: “klasgeld is sosiaal onregverdig. Hulle ontmoedig veral jongmense wat nie 'n tradisionele akademiese gesinsagtergrond het nie, om studies te begin. Dit is die kerntaak van die politiek om te verseker dat jong vroue en mans gratis kan studeer met 'n hoë kwaliteitstandaard in Duitsland. " Dit het nie net meer Duitse studente gelok nie, maar dit het ook gelei tot 'n toestroming van internasionale studente. Deutsches Studentenwerk het bevind dat byna 12% van alle studente in Duitsland internasionale studente is. In Amerikaanse universiteite beloop die persentasie internasionale studente ongeveer vier persent, en in Australië tot 20%.


Waarom was Europa so tegnologies en kultureel gevorderd? - Geskiedenis

In die negentiende eeu was Wes -Europa die ekonomiese kragstasie van die wêreld. Die produktiwiteit daarvan was ongeëwenaard. Hierdie oorheersing is op 'n stadium tussen 1500 en 1800 bereik, maar om presies te bepaal wanneer dit 'n moeilike taak is. Dit word duidelik gemaak as ons die ekonomiese ontwikkeling van Europa met die van China probeer vergelyk. In die tydperk voor 1500 was China 'n sterk ekonomiese mag - waarskynlik die mees gevorderde ekonomie ter wêreld in die tyd - maar teen die negentiende eeu is dit deur Wes -Europa deeglik verduister. Wanneer het Europa presies vorentoe gekom, en waarom het dit gebeur? Hoe het Europa, eerder as China, uiteindelik die wêreld regeer?

Die tradisionele verduideliking wat gegee word, is 'n kulturele verduideliking. Dit beweer dat die Europeërs 'n manier gehad het om met die wêreld in gesprek te tree wat beter geskik was vir ekonomiese groei, verowering en dinamika. Landes het byvoorbeeld beweer dat die Chinese 'n gebrek aan fokus, fokus en veral nuuskierigheid het, en dat hulle, in teenstelling met die Europeërs, nie gemotiveer is deur hebsug en passie nie. ’ Braudel beweer dat die Chinese Weber het slegs halfhartig die kapitalistiese mentaliteit van die Weste gedeel.

Maar daar is ernstige probleme met hierdie argument. In die eerste plek is dit nogal onbeskof om te aanvaar dat almal op 'n hele subkontinent op dieselfde manier dink en optree. Tweedens is daar bewyse dat die Chinese net so ondernemend en gedryf deur hebsug en passie was as Europeërs. Die sewentiende-eeuse handelsryk van die familie Zheng het byvoorbeeld genadeloos en met 'n hewige kommersiële passie opgetree. Hulle het Taiwan van die Nederlanders verower en die Nederlanders uit baie suidoostelike Asiatiese markte verdryf. Die begeerte na luuksheid was ook nie die enigste besitting van die Europeërs nie: Chinese gidsboeke oor opvallende verbruik verskyn eintlik voor dié in Europa.

Soos Rosenbery en Birdzell betreur het, het die groot moeilikheid om die bronne van Westerse ekonomiese groei te identifiseer, gelei tot sielkundige verklarings wat min of meer wanhopig is. ’ . Dit is 'n lui, on-analitiese bewering van Westerse kulturele oppergesag. Dit is nie net die Chinese wat in hierdie rekeninge ly nie: die Europeërs wat nie aan die voorpunt was nie, het ook hul gebreke toegeskryf aan ongegronde kulturele tekortkominge. Kindleberger se geskiedenis van wêreldekonomiese groei het die Spaanse ekonomiese onderprestasie toegeskryf aan 'n magdom faktore, waaronder die Spaanse vakgebied vir werk, sterk haat en die inkwisisie, maar verduidelik nie hoe elkeen van hulle sou ekonomiese groei belemmer het. Sy lys van growwe nasionale stereotipes lees meer na kranksinnige rassevooroordeel as insiggewende ekonomiese en historiese redenasies. Hierdie lui vooroordele, vermom as kulturele verduidelikings, het geen bewyse nie en selfs die mees funksionele verklarende raamwerk om dit te ondersteun. Ons kort oorsig van die rampspoedige bewyse vir Chinese kulturele minderwaardigheid dui daarop dat kulturele verskille alleen - werklik of verbeeld - nie genoeg is om die verskille tussen Europa en China na vore te bring nie.

Laat ons 'n stap terug neem en na die onderliggende ekonomiese raamwerke kyk. Voordat die Europese oorheersing plaasgevind het, was die basiese reëls van die ekonomiese spel vir Europa en China dieselfde. Beide ekonomieë is beperk deur die produktiwiteit van die land. Die ekonoom Lavoisier het opgemerk dat ‘ Handel en nywerheid slegs die materiaal kan gebruik wat dit (landbou) verskaf het, sodat dit die oorspronklike bron, die byna unieke bron, van alle nasionale rykdom is. ’ Adam Smith het opgemerk dat ‘The Die stad, waarin daar geen voortplanting van stowwe is nie, kan ook tereg gesê word dat dit sy hele rykdom en lewensonderhoud uit die land verkry. ’ In beide Europa en China was fotosintese die enigste bron van voedsel en brandstof. Maar fotosintese is ondoeltreffend om sonenergie op te vang, wat beteken dat daar min gebergde energie was wat later verkry kon word, behalwe in bome.

Met 'n beperkte oppervlakte grond, as meer van sy oppervlakte aan een produktiewe poging gewy word, kan onvermydelik minder grond aan ander gewy word. Ricardo het opgemerk dat dit tot 'n afname in marginale opbrengste gelei het, en verklaar dat die grond in hoeveelheid beperk sal wees, en dat met elke groter deel van die kapitaal wat daaraan aangewend word, 'n verlaagde produksietempo sal wees. ekonomiese groei was inherent beperk - dit staan ​​bekend as negatiewe terugvoer. Hierdie tipe ekonomie word 'n ‘organiese ekonomie ’ genoem. 'N Organiese ekonomie is afhanklik van sy energiebehoeftes vloei energie van fotosintese, sonder beduidende toegang tot aandele van energie. (Vir 'n deeglike en bondige uiteensetting van die aard van organiese en anorganiese ekonomieë, sien Wrigley ’s ‘ The Divergence of England ‘) Solank Europa en China beide organiese ekonomieë was, sou geen van beide ekonomiese oorheersing bereik nie, gegewe die negatiewe terugvoer wat inherent is aan hierdie stelsel.

Wat dink ons ​​van die ‘ontdekking ’ van die Amerikas? Was dit so belangrik soos akademici soos Pomerantz beweer het? (Alhoewel ek dit nie eens met Pomerantz is nie, is sy boek, The Great Divergence, een van die sterkstes in die veld.) Die ontdekking van Amerika het die Europese rykdom verhoog, maar dit het nie hierdie fundamentele beperkings verander nie. Die Amerikas bied 'n histories ongekende oorvloed hulpbronne aan Europa. Europeërs verbou land-intensiewe gewasse, soos suiker, katoen en hout, sodat hulle produkte kan lewer wat al hoe duurder is om in die binneland te produseer. Hierdie toegang tot hulpbronne het dit winsgewend gemaak om uit te brei, produksie en versendingsvolumes te verhoog, transaksiekoste per eenheid te verminder en verdere uitbreiding die moeite werd te maak. Maar die ekonomiese ontginning van oorsese grondgebiede kon nie die fundamentele beperkings van die ekonomie oplos nie. Hoewel silwer en hulpbronne uit die nuwe wêreld weliswaar moontlik die Europese Smithiese dinamika verskerp het en 'n hupstoot gegee het vir groei, kon dit nie die beperkings van die pre-industriële ekonomie, wat deur die land beperk word, uitdaag nie. Op sy eie het die New World eenvoudig die bord vergroot, eerder as om die spelreëls te verander.

Vir die grootste deel van die tydperk tussen 1500 en 1850 was die Europese en Chinese ekonomieë albei toegesluit in hierdie raamwerk van beperkte groei. Die organiese ekonomie kon nie voldoende toegang tot energie bied om industriële prosesse en groei te laat voortbestaan ​​nie. Dit word bewys deur ervaring in beide streke. Die Dolgyne -hoogoond in Wallis, wat in 1717 gebou is, het gemiddeld net vyftien weke per jaar bedryf weens 'n gebrek aan brandstof teen die begin van die sewentiende eeu, en die Deense ysterproduksie het gestaak weens 'n gebrek aan beskikbare energie. In China, teen die middel van die Ming-tydperk, het houtvoorrade amper uitgeput geraak, wat gelei het tot die verandering in soutkooktegnieke om minder hout te gebruik en (waarskynlik) die ontwikkeling van die wok. In die agtiende eeu het 'n groot deel van die rommelboubedryf wegbeweeg van die Yangzi -delta, en grasse en mis is verbrand om skaars hout te vermy. Hierdie voorbeelde illustreer die fundamentele beperkings op energieverbruik, en dus op ekonomiese groei, in beide ekonomieë, terwyl dit byna heeltemal ondergeskik was aan die jaarlikse produktiwiteit van die grond vir hul energievoorrade. Teen die vroeë agtiende eeu was gebiede op albei kontinente duidelik gevorderd genoeg om die knyp van omgewingsbeperkings te voel, maar hulle kon dit nie oortref nie. Kortom, tot in die agtiende eeu het nóg Europa nóg China vooruitgegaan.

Dit laat ons steeds met drie groot vrae: hoe kon ekonomiese oorheersing verkry word? Hoe moes die beperkings van die organiese ekonomie oorkom word? Hoe het Europa oorheersing behaal, en hoe vroeg kan ons die wiele sien draai?

Om die ekonomie buite organiese beperkings te laat beweeg, was 'n voorraad energie nodig. Die gebruik van fossielbrandstowwe en toegang tot hul energievoorrade verteenwoordig 'n beweging van afhanklikheid van inherent beperkte energiestrome (afhanklik van jaarlikse fotosintese) na gedeeltelike afhanklikheid van energievoorrade. Dit was 'n fundamentele breuk met die vorige ekonomiese ervaring. Hierdie nuwe soort ekonomie is die ‘minerale ekonomie ’. Die ekonomie was voorheen beperk deur die produktiwiteit van die land, maar dit was nie meer 'n beperking op groei nie, want energie kon ook uit fossielbrandstowwe verkry word. Hierdie energievoorrade het ook negatiewe terugvoer gegee, en die beperkinge op die winste van arbeidsverdeling was minder belangrik: die krag wat hulle verleen het, het toegelaat dat die produksie per werker toeneem, wat bykans onbeperkte potensiële winste kon behaal, ten minste solank die steenkool duur . Hulle het ook energie-intensiewe industriële prosesse vergemaklik wat sonder so 'n energiebron nie moontlik sou gewees het nie. Die organiese ekonomie was oortref, en hierdie transformasie het eers in Europa plaasgevind.

Voordat ons begin met die ingewikkelde taak om te ondersoek hoekom, laat ons vinnig kyk na sommige van die werklik ontsagwekkende statistieke van Europese ekonomiese oorheersing in die negentiende eeu, om te sien hoe sterk hierdie voorraad energie was. Teen 1810 was die Britse steenkoolopbrengs 20 miljoen ton, wat 'n hoeveelheid energie verskaf het wat volgens Wrigley deurgaans gelyk was aan die hoeveelheid energie wat teoreties beskikbaar is vir jaarlikse opname deur die sonstrale deur fotosintese. dat dit toegelaat word, word aangedui deur die massiewe en volgehoue, voorheen ondenkbare, produksiestygings in die loop van die negentiende eeu. Die Europese produksie van varkyster het tussen 1800 en 1870 16-voudig toegeneem, die steenkoolopbrengs 14 keer, die verbruik van rou katoen 21-voudig en die spoorwegafstand tussen 1840 en 1870 ongeveer 36-voudig en#8230 Europese uitvoer in konstante pryse het in 1800 twaalfvoudig gestyg -1870. ’ Die vermoë van Europese nasies om in die negentiende eeu in China se politieke en ekonomiese aangeleenthede in te meng, was 'n duidelike gevolg van hierdie toename in leierskap.

Waarom het Europa dan ekonomiese oorheersing behaal? Of, om meer presies te wees, waarom het Wes -Europa op groot skaal steenkool begin gebruik, terwyl China dit nie gedoen het nie? Ek voer aan dat dit gebeur het omdat die Wes -Europese landbousektor werkers bevry het vir gebruik elders op 'n manier wat China nie gedoen het nie, omdat Wes -Europa nie die geopolitieke gestremdheid van China ondervind het nie, en, nog belangriker, as gevolg van die dinamiese Europese betrokkenheid met voorsieningsprobleme wat gelei het tot 'n selfbestendige vordering op die pad na die minerale ekonomie. China, hoewel indrukwekkend vernuwend, was meer gefokus op die volmaaktheid van die organiese ekonomie as op die transcendering daarvan.

Die pad wat die Wes -Europese landbou gevolg het, het dit moontlik gemaak om uit die beperkings van die organiese ekonomie te kom, terwyl China dit nie gedoen het nie. In Europa het verhoogde arbeidsproduktiwiteit werknemers bevry om hul arbeid toe te pas op nie-agrariese strewes. Tussen 1600 en 1820 het die aantal oortollige mense wat deur elke honderd werkers in die landbou gevoed word, in verskeie Wes -Europese lande toegeneem. In Engeland en Wallis het dit gestyg van 42 tot 148, in Nederland van 119 (in 1670) tot 177, en in Frankryk van 45 tot 70.

Chinese landbou, daarenteen, was daarop gefokus om grondproduktiwiteit te verhoog (dws om elke eenheid grond meer te produseer) eerder as om arbeidsproduktiwiteit te verhoog (dws om elke arbeider meer te produseer). Dit het beteken dat die Chinese landbou sterk gebonde bly aan die organiese paradigma en die beperkings daarvan. In die Yangzi is 'n groter produksie uit die land verkry deur die opbrengs op arbeid te verminder: van 'n indeks van 100 in 1700 het die produksie per capita tot 74 gedaal in 1750 en 70 teen 1800. Soos Brenner en Isett beweer, ‘Die neiging tot stygende arbeidsproduktiwiteit in die landbou in Engeland was die teenoorgestelde van die neiging tot dalende arbeidsproduktiwiteit wat in die Yangzi -delta verkry is#8230 ’

Die Europese landbouvoordeel was nie daartoe in staat om sy mense te voed nie, aangesien China deur die agtiende eeu 'n digter bevolking as Europa kon ondersteun. Dit was eerder daarop gemik om sy mense toe te laat om buite landbouwerk te gaan, en verder as 'n wêreld wat beperk is deur die beperkings op landbouproduksie en fotosintese. Alhoewel die landbouverskille 'n noodsaaklike voorvereiste was vir die opkoms van Europa uit die organiese paradigma, het dit dit nie tot stand gebring nie. Om die minerale ekonomie te betree, het nie net werkers die infrastruktuur nodig gehad nie, maar ook toegang tot voorraad energie en die tegnologie om dit te gebruik.

Beide China en Europa was goed toegerus met steenkool, maar China was op die verkeerde plek. Die steenkoolvoorraad in China was oorwegend in die noorde en weste geleë: 98 persent van die steenkoolvoorraad in China was noord van die Yangzi, en die westelike gebiede het net minder as 90 persent van die steenkool. Hierdie steenkool is tot ongeveer 1100 gebruik deur die ysterbedryf wat daar bestaan ​​het, maar invalle, besettings, burgeroorloë, vloed en plaag het tot onstabiliteit gelei wat die bedryf gestuit het. Teen die tyd dat stabiliteit teruggekeer het, na 1420, het die demografiese en ekonomiese sentrum van die land na die suide verskuif, na die Yangzi -delta. Die vervoer van die nou verre steenkool was 'n ernstige probleem, wat die Chinese ekonomie nie oorkom het nie. Selfs aan die einde van die negentiende eeu was die gebruik van steenkool oor die algemeen baie gelokaliseer: die vervoer van steenkool van Qinghua na die Geelrivier, 50 km verder, het tot 'n vyfvoudige prysstyging gelei, wat Wright laat beweer het dat vervoerkoste die belangrikste was beperking op die groei van steenkoolverbruik. ’ Gebiede in die noorde van Jiangsu kon moontlik die Yangzi -delta bereik het, maar in Qing -tye het die koste van steenkool verdubbel voordat dit die kanaalhawe bereik het. Dit lyk dus duidelik dat hoewel China groot steenkoolreserwes gehad het en die vermoë getoon het om dit te gebruik lank voordat Europa dit begin doen het, ongunstige geopolitieke omstandighede daartoe gelei het dat steenkoolpotensiaal deur transportkoste oorskadu is.

Europa het soortgelyke probleme met steenkoolvoorsiening gehad. Brittanje was goed toegerus met steenkool, maar vervoernetwerke was so primitief dat die prys van steenkool vir elke tien kilometer wat oor land vervoer word, kan verdubbel. Die afstande wat Europese steenkool moes aflê, was baie kleiner as dié in China, maar die manier waarop die Europese ekonomie die probleem met steenkoolvoorsiening hanteer het, verduidelik nietemin waarom Europa teen die middel van die negentiende eeu tot ekonomiese leierskap gestyg het.

Die noue verhouding tussen die markstelsel, wetenskaplike tradisie en uitvinding in Europa was van kardinale belang vir die opkoms tot ekonomiese leierskap. Die mark het uitvinders aangemoedig om sekere tegnologiese of logistieke probleme aan te pak, waarvan die oplossing gelei het tot 'n toename in tegnologiese vermoëns wat die ekonomie as geheel bevoordeel. Op hierdie manier is die stoomenjin as 'n reaksie op die probleem van steenkoolvoorsiening beskou, wat toegang tot steenkool moontlik maak deur die potensiële diepte van myne te vergroot deur water uit te pomp. Net so het entrepreneurs opgemerk dat verbeterde vervoerinfrastruktuur winsgewend kan wees, aangesien vervoerverbindings tussen myne en dorpe swak is en steenkool in aanvraag is. Dit het daartoe gelei dat hulle gefokus het op die verbetering van vervoerskakels, wat die uitbreiding van steenkoolproduksie verder vergemaklik het. As gevolg hiervan het die Britse produksie van steenkool tussen 1700 en 1750 tussen 1750 en 1830 met 70 persent gestyg, met 'n verdere 500 persent. Namate die stoommasjientegnologie verbeter het, het dit meer doeltreffend geword en ander gebruike begin word. Dit het die vraag na steenkool verhoog en die verbetering van stoomtegnologie verder aangemoedig. Die vraag en aanbod van steenkool is dus in 'n positiewe siklus vasgesluit, wat die ekonomie uit die organiese paradigma dryf namate steenkoolgebruik en tegnologieë vir die gebruik van minerale energie versprei. Dit was 'n kragtige, selfversterkende tegnologiese weg wat geëindig het in die minerale ekonomie. Dit was die ware dinamika van die Europese uitsonderlikheid.

China was ook innoverend, maar in die verkeerde rigting. Die innoverende Chinese staat het gemik op statiese doeltreffendheid deur die verspreiding van beste praktyke in die landbou. Die Chinese keiserlike regering het nuwe tegnologieë vir rysverbouing gegenereer en versprei, insluitend beter (droogtebestande) variëteite en het die gebruik van katoen, beter werktuie en hidrouliese tegnieke aangemoedig … Die skrywers van die groot verhandelinge oor landbou, soos Wang Chen en Hsü Kuang Chhi, sowel as die uitvinder van die gebruik van moerbeiboom by papiervervaardiging, was regeringsburokrate. ’ Staatsmaatreëls om kennis te versprei het daartoe gelei dat Maddison selfs tot die gevolgtrekking gekom het dat die kloof tussen beste praktyk en die gemiddelde praktyk was waarskynlik smaller as in die polisentriese staatstelsel van Europa. Hierdie tydperk is tot twee maande verminder, en in die agtiende eeu is dit tot slegs veertig dae verminder. In die vroeë negentiende eeu het 'n verskeidenheid van dertig dae beskikbaar geword. Dit is duidelik dat China innoverend gebly het, maar die ontwikkeling daarvan was hoofsaaklik agraries, in skrille kontras met die Europese ervaring. Europa alleen het die selfversterkende reis na die minerale ekonomie geneem, en daarom het dit teen die middel van die negentiende eeu tot ekonomiese leierskap gestyg.

Die keiserlike staat hoef nie 'n remmer te gewees het van innovasie wat tot die minerale ekonomie gelei het nie, en inderdaad, China het die kompas, kruit en die hoogoond goed voor Europa ontwikkel, maar teen die agtiende eeu het die tempo van nie-agrariese innovasie in China opgedroog het.

Wat het verkeerd gegaan met Chinese innovasie? Aardrykskunde en ondoeltreffende markte blyk die belangrikste skuldiges te wees. Miskien moet die skuld op ondoeltreffende markte geplaas word omdat hulle nie voldoende aansporingsseine gestuur het nie, of op ongunstige geopolitieke omstandighede wat beteken dat steenkool 'n onpraktiese afstand van die ekonomiese kern was. Of miskien moet die Chinese staat, wat so besorg is om landbou -ontwikkeling te bevorder, veroordeel word omdat hy nie probeer het om industriële ontwikkeling te bevorder nie. Wat ook al die rede is, ons kan beslis tot die gevolgtrekking kom dat China nog meer uitsonderlik sou gewees het as wat in Europa gebeur het.

Ten slotte het ons gesien dat verklarings van die Europese opkoms tot ekonomiese leierskap wat gebaseer is op relatiewe kulturele waardes of mentaliteite, baie gebrekkig en onbevredigend is, en dat die Europese uitbuiting van oorsese gebiede nie die opkoms van Europa tot leierskap kan verklaar nie. Ekonomiese leierskap kan eerder slegs verkry word deur die gebruik van mineraalopbergings, wat 'n verandering in die ekonomiese paradigma moontlik maak. Vir die grootste deel van die tydperk werk die Chinese en Europese ekonomieë binne 'n gedeelde organiese paradigma, onderhewig aan dieselfde beperkings. Met behulp van Wes-Europese landbou-dinamika wat verskil van dié in China, het 'n kombinasie van entrepreneurisme en wetenskap Europa op 'n manier van selfversterkende tegnologiese verandering gelei, wat gelei het tot die ontsnapping van die beperkings van die organiese ekonomie. China, aan die ander kant, het die probleme van die organiese ekonomie hoofsaaklik aangepak eerder as om dit te transendeer, en het sy pogings dus gefokus op grondproduktiwiteit. Europa is gehelp deur aardrykskunde, met steenkool binne bereik van sy mees ontwikkelde gebiede, maar selfs dan moes probleme wat deur die vervoerkoste veroorsaak word, oorkom word. Dat die Europeërs dit bereik het, terwyl die Chinese dit nie gedoen het nie, hang af van 'n kombinasie van Chinese geografiese ongeluk en die ondernemende, vindingryke markstelsel wat in Europa werk.

The answer to why Europe rather than China rose to economic leadership by the mid-nineteenth century therefore lies somewhere between European geographical good fortune, Chinese geo-political misfortune, and the focus of European inventiveness as compared to that of China, which led to a feedback loop that allowed some western European economies to escape the organic paradigm. However good a country’s institutions and however strong the market’s incentives, without a change of economic paradigm there could be no economic leadership. But it was through the functioning of incentives and the institutions of growth that this paradigm shift was achieved. That the European market had these incentives tied so closely to invention and innovation was the secret of its success. Without inorganic energy utilisation Europe could not have risen, but even with favourable coal supplies its rise was not guaranteed.

Europe therefore rose to economic leadership by the middle of the nineteenth century because of the powerful link between innovation and market incentives, which allowed it to realise the potential of energy stored in coal.


68 thoughts on &ldquo7 Most Advanced Ancient Civilizations in the World&rdquo

A great selection of places, that I’d absolutely love to visit! Thank you.

I think an obvious one is the Roman empire and I think some of the ancient empires in the Middle East left some impressive legacies.

wow, very nice selection! If I make an exception with Mayan civilization, the one that I am most attracted with is old Egypt, never had opportunity to travel there, but hope some day I will.
Old mysteries of humanity, makes me think how come we are here right now in this point of civilization!?

I think that the Greeks should be a little higher up on that list with the invention of the Antikythera mechanism with was essentially the first computer. It was used to calculate astronomical positions. Also I’m not even sure the Osirian civilization (whatever that is) even existed, or the Rama civilization. I can’t find a single reliable reference to either save some crackpots top ten list. I mean think about it if there was an ancient civilization out that that had or showed signs of using electricity that it would be referenced by…well everyone? Finally Atlantis was a metaphorical story Plato made up to teach his disciples about the dangers of advancing beyond ones means. Also the Greeks and mayans where great astronomers, astrology is about how the placement of the planets and the stars determine whether or not you’re going to be a jerk or mild mannered depending on what month you were born. Research first please.

Where is Angkor?
Where is Pagan?

Amazing pictures !! amazing post.

Nice post with excellent pictures. The pictures alone would make me want to go there, because they show how much character the place has!

The author is either a complete moron or an eighth grader writing a paper on a tight time-line.

The asterisk at the bottom stating that 28% of this article is “disputed” should be enough to point out that the author is a blatant hippy as she left out the Roman empire or the Carthaginians in favor of two fictional cultures and three others that are near and dear to new age con artists.

Plus the fact that the two empires she includes in the western hemisphere were still in existence until fairly recently smacks of racism.

About the maya cities, I would like to remark that Copan in Honduras is probably the best place for people to see sculpture and impressive artistic stonework from the classical maya era. It is often called the athens of the new world for its artistic richness, along with being the only maya site where a real temple still covered in stucco and original painting can be found. theres actually a replica of the whole temple built inside the museum, and theres a lovely spanish colonial town just outside the archeological park.

one thing left me thinking.. who were the Osirians? i had never heard of them. pardon my ignorance but I would really like to know more about this culture.

So fascinating, the ancient Maya and Chinese civilizations are the ones that attract me the most. I’ve only visited the Great Wall of China so far, heading to India next, very curious of what I will find!

You need to check your facts my friend. Coming from someone that studies this stuff everyday, your forgot the Romans, Persians, Mesopotamia. The Old World Empires and civilizations should be on this list, not the Andean South American sites (Inka), which hardly rival the powers of the China, Mesopotamia, Egypt, and Rome. Yes, they share some fundamental similarities, but no one could dispute the power of the Romans or the Persians.

where the hell did u put ancient ethiopia ?which is cradle of civilization and man kind

You didn’t mean Assyrians did you?
And how about some more of the great African Empires?

Those of you who are saying the Roman Empire…it was not ancient, firstly. It was Classical. several of these are classical and post-classical eras as well (china, maya, greece).
Secondly, the Roman Empire (not counting Byzantine “Rome”) only lasted a about 300 years before it began to dissolve. Prior to that it was a republic, and prior to that it was a city-state within the land controlled by the Etruscans.
3. The “Rama” are generally called Mohenjo-Dharrans, or Harrappans. Where the author got Rama, I am not sure.
4. Atlantis in generally considered allegorical to Crete and the Minoans, or the “Sea People”. The Osirian civilization mentioned above is the author (erroneously) combining the different Mediterranean civilizations like the Phoenecians, Minoans, perhaps Cypresians, and other peoples of the Mediterranean islands. Many of which WERE exceedingly advanced for their time.
Also, the Inca were not ancient. Enigsins. There was, however, an ancient empire in the land they later claim to live on, though I sadly cannot recall the name. There were several others in south and central America in ancient days as well.
Lastly, the advancement of Greece depends on when you are talking about in their history. Greece had a “Dark Ages”, during which time they were not technologically advanced at all. It is in fact likely this exact lapse in their power for several centuries which allowed neighboring civilizations to expand and hold against the Helenes. Hellenic Greece never became very large or powerful, rarely holding more than the Greek peninsula and small parts of Illeria. It was not until the Hellenistic greeks, long past “Ancient”, that they became a dominant empire.

Great list and pictures! These are 7 with very visible remains and hopefully I’ll be able to visit them all. The Uiger civilization of the Gobi Desert may also belong on the list.

very invigorating, fantastic!.

Inclusion of the Incas on this list is mind boggling. The Incas would have been amazingly impressive if they’d existed two thousand years before their time, but in 1200 AD? Nah.

I have to say , this list is full of historical inaccuracies, misconceptions about myths so that they are presented as facts , and outright falsehoods. Personally I would place greek civilization at the top of the list (from the classical to late hellenistic periods), part of this includes their vast cultural influence, from western europe to india. I dont know about the others, i suppose i’d place china as 2nd for the period known as antiquity, and perhaps india or rome as 3rd. With rome im referring to the republican era untill the end of the western empire. I suppose i am excluding the bronze age from my edited list, because that over-complicates things. I must admit that harappan civilization was very advanced for its time, with clay pipe plumbing and centrally designed cities being in common use. Finally, although this may make many people who hold romantic ideals about the mystical native american civilizations who were so advanced and ingenious, I must say that in general their achievements pale in comparison to those of old world civilizations. I’m not claiming that the meso americans ect were inherently stupid, just that their rate of technological development was vastly superceded by old world civilizations in general. They were no better than europeans ect before columbus came, they fought wars and massacred each other in great numbers just like any other people. Finally, althought im probably somewhat biased because i have western european heritage, I think the celtic peoples of europe would be included in such a list. Im not claiming that “celt” means a race, ethnicity, or individual empire. Just a complex of different cultural traits. Unfortunately rome’s genocidal wars allowed for a very thorough destruction of the achievements of celtic groups. Check out terry jone’s barbarians series for information about new discoveries about the celts, in particular the gauls. Although he is also a little biased, all his claims are based on solid evidence.

I meant my comment about meso americans would make the people with ahistorical notions of their lives angry.

Don’t forget the wonders of the Orkney and Shetland Islands – Skara Brae on Orkney pre-dates the pyramids. Some other sites have only been discovered in the last 10 – 15 years. It’s a “MUST SEE” if you are visiting Scotland!! Don’t waste your time looking for “Nessie”.

These empires and choices are most interesting. I would love to visit and by the way I am only 14 years old and I am a very smart and know all about these empires.

When it comes to Civalisations most of the developed paled skinned world tend to be racist and glorify the Civs of Europe & Asia while Poo-poo on and oppress the African, Native American and Middle Eastern Civalisations cause of the color of their skin. Keep doing that and we will get a North vs South Nuclear World War 3 where everyone will lose and become extinct like the dinosaurs.

Where is Mycenae? Where is Knossos? Where is Akrotiri? since 4000 b.c?

Rama? Where’d you get that one from? You meant the Indus Valley Civilization, didn’t you?

nuclear weapons have been used during rama civilisation but i wonder why chian stands first.vimanas(aircrafts),bhrama astra(nuclear weapons) have been used

Ive been to Chitchin Itza as well as Coba and Tulum in Mexico.. the amount of accuracy they used in buildings especially in regards to the positions of stars, moon and sun is awesome and the construction puts most modern builders to shame… no coffee breaks and plumbers crack for the Mayans :P

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Mesopotamia , is the cradle of the civilizations

Egypt holds a wealth of attraction for those seeking adventure, mystique, ancient roots, and relaxation on the beach. Egypt, the mystic land of the Pharaohs. A land unequaled for its majestic monuments and authentic treasures of diversified Pharaonic, Greco-Roman, Coptic Christian and Islamic blend of cultures. Mediterranean beaches Red-Sea fascinating underwater life, mountains and deserts, memorable landscapes alongside the river Nile, bestowed with nature’s gift of a mild climate, provides a choice of holiday resorts for everyone from all over the world.
Egypt Pharaohs Tours

The documents related to ancient civilizations of India doesn’t exist because all information were spread in orally not in written script.

Good post. I learn something new and challenging on blogs I stumbleupon every day.
It’s always interesting to read articles from
other writers and practice a little something from their sites.

WTF what about the Indus valley civilization. Harappa, Mohinjadaro. ringing any bells. Indus valley civilization is considered the most ancient … rewrite your article.

I’d absolutely love it. Dankie

Can you add the Aztecs and Mississippians? It would really help my daughter with her homework. Cause she has to know the least advanced to the advanced out of Maya, Inca, Aztecs, Mississippians


Antediluvian Maps: Impossible charts according to mainstream scholars

Maps like the one by Piri Reis have been validated by scholars who remain baffled and cannot explain their precision and level of detail. Some of them were created as if somehow, someone was able to see the land from the air before drawing the charts…

It is noteworthy to mention that the Piri Reis map was in fact created by other much older maps from different regions around the globe. But what do maps like the one from Piri Reis tell us? Well, they offer conclusive evidence that in the distant past, civilizations with incredible cartographical knowledge existed on Earth. It seems that these ancient civilizations had seen parts of the world which today are covered in Ice: Antarctica for example, meaning that whoever created these charts must have seen these parts of the world when Earth’s climate was very different, a period in the history of our planet predating the last ice age.

The Piri Reis map was composed around 1520 and in addition to displaying Antarctica without ice, it accurately depicts die aardrykskunde van die Amerikaanse vasteland met so 'n presisie dat dit lyk asof dit met behulp van lugfotografie saamgestel is. Interessant genoeg is hierdie kaart ondersoek deur die US Hydrographic Office of the Navy, waar die egtheid daarvan bevestig is. Die kaart is eg bewys en is so akkuraat dat dit na bewering gebruik is om foute in sommige moderne kaarte reg te stel.

But… Who mapped the Queen Maud Land of Antarctic 6000 years ago? Which unknown civilization had the technology or the need to do that?

Die geografiese inligting op die kaart dui aan dat sommige van die bronmateriaal meer as 5000 jaar terug dateer. While the Piri Reis map is not a map that is believed to predate the Great Deluge, the map was created using maps that are over 5000 years old.

An interesting letter issued by the USAF speaks about the Piri Resi map where LORENZO W. BURROUGHS Captain, USAF Chief, Cartographic Section 8th reconnaissance Technical Sqdn (SAC) Westover Air Force Base, Massachusetts writes: Die ooreenkoms van die Piri Reis-kaart met die seismiese profiel van hierdie gebied gemaak deur die Noors-Brits-Sweedse ekspedisie van 1949, ondersteun deur u oplossing van die rooster, plaas beyond a reasonable doubt the conclusion that the original source maps must have been made before the present Antarctic ice cap covered the Queen Maud Land coasts.

However, other maps like the Zeno Map draws our attention since it predates the Piri Reis map, outlining the coast of modern-day Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Scotland, and Germany. In addition to that, the Zeno maps just happen to include the exact longitude and latitude of a number of islands. Waarom is dit belangrik? Well, it is because in order to determine longitude you would need to use a chronometer, a device that was invented in 1765. Even more incredibly, the Zeno Map appear to depict the topography of modern-day Greenland free of glaciers which means that someone had to have seen Greenland prior to the ice age.

“It appears that accurate information has been passed down from people to people. It appears that the charts must have originated with a people unknown and they were passed on, perhaps by the Minoans and the Phoenicians, who were, for a thousand years and more, the greatest sailors of the ancient world. We have evidence that they were collected and studied in the great library of Alexandria (Egypt) and the compilations of them were made by the geographers who worked there. Piri Reis had probably come into possession of charts once located in the Library of Alexandria, the well-known most important library of the ancient times,” — Dr. Charles Hapgood –Maps of the Ancient Sea Kings (Turnstone books, London 1979, preface.

Even more interesting are the cartographical charts created by Iehudi Ibn ben Zara. His Map drawn around 1487 depicts certain regions of Britain covered in Glaciers. The map also displays islands in the Mediterranean and Aegean seas. These islands exist still today, the only underwater, suggesting that whatever maps were used to create the cartographical chart of 1487, were from a time when our planet’s geology was much different, a time that perhaps could be traced back to the antediluvian period.

These ancient maps offer too many enigmas and questions and provide little to no answers at all, suggesting that in the distant past, going back at least 10,000 – 12,000 years advanced ancient civilizations existed on Earth, erecting incredible cities, accomplishing incredible feats, and exploring the planet with incredible precision.


Why Has 99 Percent of the Technological Progress by Modern Humans Come in the Last 10,000 Years?

This question reads: Modern humans are estimated to be about 200,000 years old, but it seems that 99 percent of technological progress has occurred in the last 10,000 years. What were we doing before that?

Answer by Pratyush Rathore:

Suppose, I give you a magic coin worth 1 cent, which multiplies itself 100 times every year.

At the end of 1 year, you would have a negligible amount: $1.
At the end of 2 years, you would have a very small sum: $100.
At the end of 3 years, you would have barely enough: $10,000.
At the end of 4 years, you start seeing a modest $1 million dollar heap.
At the end of 5 years, you would have a good $100 million.

Now, at the end of the fifth year, you come to me and say, “I have kept the coin with me for 5 years, but 99 percent of the money it made came in last year. What was the coin doing before that?”

So, to answer in one word: compounding.

Short answer: We took tens of thousands of years to settle down (starting from the migration in Africa). After we settled down, we discovered ways to domesticate plants about 12,000 years ago, discovered metals about 8,000 years ago and started writing things about 5,000 years ago. Each of these steps helped us bring the humans together and build ideas on top of another. Let us look at some of the major events in human history.

  1. Migration from Africa: The modern humans are believed to have evolved about 200,000 years ago. ( Recent African origin of modern humans. ) For the first 100,000 years, we remained there until some unexplained sequence of events started forcing them outward. Then humans started walking, and it took multiple generations for them to survive the deserts Africa to reach Europe and Asia, and later the Americas. Imagine walking the Sahara or Arabian desert with no shoes, water cans, or camels. Only when we started settling did we have the time and resources to build something that could be passed on to the future generations. Without that settlement, great ideas would have died with the person or the tribe. Our first major settling down happened around 12,000 B.C. ( Sedentism)
  2. Low Population: Until about 10,000 BC, the world population never exceeded 15 million and mostly was around 1 million (Urban World History ). The present population of the world is 7 billion, and 1 million is comparable to the population of a medium-sized city. When you have just a couple of million people spread in this big wide world, there is little that humanity could collectively build. Even if we assume that early human being could be as productive as us, their civilization could produce less than 1/1000 of what our society could do.
  3. Lewensverwagting: From that point until 20th century, we had a very low life expectancy (about 30 years). Imagine if we all died by the time we reached 30, how much could we learn from our parents and how much could we teach our kids? Given the low life expectancy of early humans, there was not much time to learn and teach. We just started randomly doing whatever we could to survive. ( Life expectancy )
  4. Use of fire: Early humans didn’t find a way to use the fire in a controlled way. This means we often lived in a dark (no fire means no lights), cold, and scary place ( Control of fire by early humans ).It was about 125,000 years ago that we started using fire in a controlled way, and it took a lot of trial and error.
  5. No sophisticated tools and domesticated animals: Early humans used primarily stone tools, and until about 50,000 years ago, these were quite crude. They helped a little bit in hunting, but didn’t take us far. We had to wait until 6000 B.C. to get our first metal: gold ( History of Metals ). With metals we could tackle a lot more elements and make far more tools. We didn’t have any animals to help us out. We first started domesticating dogs and later sheep, pigs, horses, etc. Each of the domestication waves took thousands of years of trial and error ( Domestication ).
  6. Civilization allowed us spare time. By 12,000 B.C., many groups of humans found habitable regions to grow their tribe. They had found ways ways to domesticate a few plants and animals and had made superior tools. As large groups of humans started gathering and work year-round in the same place, we found ways to share and transmit ideas. Trade was discovered, and humans suddenly found spare time to do stuff ( Civilization ).

Innovation/Invention requires a lot of trial and error and the ability to build on previous results. Until a few thousand years ago, these experiments were local, and there was little we could learn from others’ experiments. Thus, a guy in Ethiopia might have been trying to master fire control even 5,000 years after a guy in Sweden has already mastered it. There was no easy way to transfer ideas given the lack of wheel (to enable quick movement), writing systems, broadcast communication, etc. The population was also too low to improve the odds of experimentation. Lastly, we were too focused on survival to afford us the time to innovate. Agriculture liberated us from the focus on the daily search for food.

Finally, we are constantly discovering more about our past, and our knowledge of our ancestors is not complete. A hundred years ago, we didn’t know about the magnificent Indus Valley civilization and knew little of Mesopotamia or Incas. New discoveries are constantly pushing back the known history, and I would not be surprised if we discover more complex civilizations from 10000 BC that have just been lost due to the passage of time.


Europa

Europe is the second smallest of the seven continents covering roughly 2% of the earth's surface. The name 'Europe' has long been thought to have been derived from the ancient myth of Zeus and Europa. According to this tale, the great god Zeus, seeing the lovely Phoenician princess Europa bathing (or, according to other versions, playing with her handmaidens) by the seashore, transformed himself into a magnificent white bull and slowly approached her from the sea. So gentle and sweet was this bull that Europa placed garlands of flowers around his neck, petted him and then climbed onto his back when, much to her surprise, the bull ran off across the surface of the seas, abducting her to the isle of Crete. On Crete Zeus and Europa became lovers and she bore him three famous sons. Her family back in Phonecia, distraught at her disappearance, sent her brothers in search of her, each one finally being unsuccessful in his quest but each founding important cities and lending their names to various regions around the Aegean (Thebes being one example, originally known as Cadmea after Europa's brother Cadmus).

Herodotus, however, does not believe the tale of the Phoenician princess had anything to do with the naming of the continent, writing in Book Four of his Histories, “Another thing that puzzles me is why three distinct women's names should have been given to what is really a single land-mass…nobody knows where it got its name from, or who gave it, unless we are to say that it came from Europa, the Tyrian woman, and before that was nameless like the rest. This, however, is unlikely for Europa was an Asiatic and never visited the country which we now call Europe.”

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Theories regarding the origin of the name 'Europe' range from it being of Greek origin meaning “wide gazing”, a reference to the breadth of the shoreline as seen from the sea or from the Phoenician for “evening”, as in the place where the sun would set. Today, as it was in Herodotus' time, no one can say for certain where the name 'Europe' originated. To the ancient Greeks, the Aegean sea and environs were the center of the world. The Phonecians regularly sailed across and up the Atlantic to harvest tin from Europe at Cornwall but, to the Greeks, Europe was a dark continent (in the same way that 19th and early 20th century CE Europeans would later view Africa).

Culture, on even the most basic level, had been ongoing in Europe since at least 20,000 BCE as evidenced by cave paintings (the most famous being the Cave of Lascaux complex in modern-day France) and by 5000 BCE hierarchical societies had begun to emerge and peas were cultivated, evidence of a sturdy agricultural society. Even so, to the Greeks, the people of Europe, more so than any other non-Greeks, were barbarians (from the Greek barbarophonos, “of incomprehensible speech”, a word first coined by Homer in his Iliad, Book II) who banded together diverse tribes such as the Balts, Slavs, Albanians, Italics and, best known, the Celts (who included the Gauls and the Germanic tribes).

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By the year 4300 BCE megalithic tombs were in use in Europe, by 3500 farming was widespread across the face of the continent and by 2000 bronze work was introduced by the Wessex culture of present-day Britain. In 1860 BCE the construction of the impressive and mysterious Stonehenge was begun. Even so, such accomplishments were not so impressive to the Greeks nor, later, to the Romans. As late as 78 CE, the Roman historian Tacitus refers to the Britons under the governorship of his father-in-law Agricola as “rude, scattered and warlike people” to whom the Romans, of necessity, had to bring cultivation and civilization. Earlier, Julius Caesar had the same opinion of the Gauls, referring to them as little more than animals in his description of the massacre of the Ubii tribe by the Rhine.

In sy The Gallic Wars he devotes as much space to a description of the Alces (elks) of Europe as he does to the Ubii in any important way writing of the elk that “their shape and dappled coat are like those of goats but they are rather larger, have stunted horns and legs without joints” and then goes on to give the earliest narrative we have of what would come to be known as “cow tipping” as the Romans would hunt the elk by pushing them over while they slept standing up and killing them easily because they were too large to raise themselves back up. Even so, it is impossible to argue that Caesar brought nothing of consequence to the people of Gaul and, by extension, Europe. The historian Durant writes,

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For three hundred years Gaul remained a Roman province, prospered under the Roman peace, learned and transformed the Latin language, and became the channel through which the culture of classic antiquity passed into northern Europe. Doubtless neither Caesar nor his contemporaries foresaw the immense consequences of his bloody triumph. He thought he had saved Italy, won a province and forged an army he did not suspect that he was the creator of French civilization.

The Romans brought their civilization, not just to Gaul (later France and part of Italy) but to the whole of Europe, providing innovations such as paved roads, indoor plumbing, fortified cities of great administrative efficiency and culture and, of course, their language, slowly 'civilizing' the disparate tribes of the various European regions. Tacitus writes of the efforts of Agricola in Britain to establish schools to spread the knowledge of Latin and his encouragement of the populace to build temples and to regard personal hygiene as a matter of importance in the use of public baths. Tacitus continues, “By degrees the charms of vice gained admission to British hearts baths, porticoes and elegant banquets grew into vogue and the new manners, which in reality only served to sweeten slavery, were by the unsuspecting Britons called the arts of polished humanity.”

Even so, not every Briton appreciated Roman culture equally nor accepted its civilizing touch easily as evidenced by the rebellion of Queen Boudicca of the Iceni tribe (only the most famous among many) in 60/61 CE which resulted in over 70,000 Romans slain by Britons before she was defeated by Paulinus. Still, for over three hundred years, Roman rule obtained in Europe and, without doubt, contributed greatly to what the various countries of the continent are today.


1. Scale

Sometimes size isn't a plus. The US has over 10m credit card terminals and 1.2bn cards, according to Smart Card Alliance, an industry group that tries to educate and push for the widespread adoption of this technology in the US. The Alliance estimates that less than 2% of Americans have smart cards. It's difficult to get such a large market to adopt. As the Wall Street Journal reported last week, Target actually tried to roll out smart cards from 2001-04, but the rest of the market didn't follow.


Why Did Europe Conquer the World?

Between 1492 and 1914, Europeans conquered 84 percent of the globe. But why did Europe establish global dominance, when for centuries the Chinese, Japanese, Ottomans, and South Asians were far more advanced? In Why Did Europe Conquer the World?, Philip Hoffman demonstrates that conventional explanations—such as geography, epidemic disease, and the Industrial Revolution—fail to provide answers. Arguing instead for the pivotal role of economic and political history, Hoffman shows that if certain variables had been different, Europe would have been eclipsed, and another power could have become master of the world. Hoffman sheds light on the two millennia of economic, political, and historical changes that set European states on a distinctive path of development, military rivalry, and war. This resulted in astonishingly rapid growth in Europe’s military sector, and produced an insurmountable lead in gunpowder technology. The consequences determined which states established colonial empires or ran the slave trade, and even which economies were the first to industrialize. Debunking traditional arguments, Why Did Europe Conquer the World? reveals the startling reasons behind Europe’s historic global supremacy.

Awards and Recognition

"Brilliant."—Edward Rothstein, Wall Street Journal

"[Why Did Europe Conquer the World?] is a very interesting addition to the flourishing history of the world genre."—Diane Coyle, Enlightened Economist

"History and counterfactuals blend into a fluent thesis, underpinned by diverting tables of data."—Martin Vander Weyer, Daily Telegraph

"Fascinating."—G. John Ikenberry, Foreign Affairs

"A confident and sure-footed book."—Robert Fulford, Nasionale Pos

"Big-picture economic history at its best. Hoffman's answer: chronic military conflict that gave European leaders incentives to harness widely known gunpowder technologies more effectively than leaders in other parts of the world. Also a good reminder of what economic history brings to today's economic and political table."—Barry Eichengreen, Bloomberg Businessweek

"A hugely ambitious book and one that no scholar analyzing transitions in global history can overlook. It is a daunting task to attempt such an endeavor, let alone succeed as Hoffman has. [How Did Europe Conquer the World?] will change interpretations of European warfare, the financing of conflicts, transitions in other regions of the world, the causes of the Industrial Revolution, and the Great Divergence—topics that are at the forefront of history, economics, and political science today. . . . Impressive and persuasive. . . . [T]his book is a classic of economic history, which should be required reading."—Jari Eloranta, EH.net

"Impressive."—Jan De Vries, Amerikaanse historiese resensie

"A powerful argument that resonates strongly with recent work in international political economy (Herman Schwartz) and political science (Ned Lebow)."Survival

"In a brilliant analysis, Hoffman demonstrates the dynamic interaction between the financing of the war, the innovation in warfare technology, and the political institutions, which sparked the race toward colonization and prepared the UK for the Industrial Revolution. [An] ambitious study."—Lisa Kaaki, Arab News

"An intriguing and compelling contribution to the riveting debate on the causes of European hegemony in the world over the last five hundred years."—Seneer Aktürk, Insight Turkey

"Ambitious book of big-picture economic history."—Ephraim Nissan, Quaderni di Studi Indo-Mediterranei

"Phillip Hoffman's book answers a question that economic historians have neglected: Why did Europe conquer the world starting about five hundred years ago? Hoffman stresses how incentives made Europe's princes unusually bellicose and willing to promote improvements in war technology. Combining wide reading, the judicious use of data, and economic models that distinguish Hoffman's explanation from that of earlier historians, Why Did Europe Conquer the World? represents the very best in economic history."—Timothy Guinnane, Yale University

"Why did Europe conquer the world? Philip Hoffman offers striking new answers to this old question. Hoffman's short answer is gunpowder or military technology. His longer answer is more unsettling: the political and geographical forces that made Europe's precocious economic development possible were inseparable from the arms race which enabled European states to win wars."—Cormac Ó Gráda, author of Eating People is Wrong, and Other Essays on Famine, Its Past, and Its Future

"Philip Hoffman upends the traditional story of why western Europe conquered the world. His elegant econometric model shows that by fighting constant wars with each other and never allowing a single hegemon to emerge, Western polities had greater incentives and opportunities to improve their military technology than their counterparts elsewhere. Anyone wanting to understand how economic theories are changing the ways we look at the past needs to read this book."—Daniel Chirot, University of Washington

"Beginning with the Spanish and Portuguese in the late fifteenth century, technological military superiority appears to have been the proximate cause of Europe's ever-expanding military dominance for the next five centuries. Where did this technological superiority come from? The answer provided in this convincing and tightly argued book is interesting and as definitive as such answers get."—Stergios Skaperdas, University of California, Irvine

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