hi there /his/syfits,
the agricultural revolution happened in a bunch of different areas independently, writing was invented at least three times etc etc,
why didn't the industrial revolution happen before it actually did? can you think of any near misses?
china had quite some production line like processes happening before europe,
the greeks had a primitive steam engine made by hero of alexandria, you guys must be able to think of others.
>why didn't the industrial revolution happen before it actually did?
Printing press with movable type expanding the general intellect?
>china had quite some production line like processes happening before europe,
Rome had these also, IIRC
Although left alone for a bit longer China might have gotten to industrialization
>Printing press with movable type expanding the general intellect?
I think this had a good deal to do with it, but additionally, I think a major deal was the need for pumps to get coal in the UK leading to adoption of steam engines. Even though China had, more or less, everything it needed to industrialize, because the coal they used was dry, the connection between power and machinery simply didn't occur, and nothing took off.
Another thing to consider was that the landscape of the world at such a time wasn't well suited for the development of heavy infrastructure to begin with. Britain was reasonably centralized and not at risk of direct invasion by anyone feasibly; China, on land, was still vulnerable to incursions into itself, and the Emperors would be less interested in technologies not immediately suitable to dealing with threats or aiding in their interests. Had a printing press arrived, perhaps it would've been different.
Seeing as how much effort was put into recording and preserving information throughut history, why did it take so long for the printing press to be invented?
Was it to keep the lower classes stupid and content?
Not especially, the slow but sure population increase, as well as the intensive expansion of the church proper, prompted its necessity because it was too difficult to make by hand enough bibles for all of the priesthood to make use of in a timely fashion.
Because it only happened as a side-effect of the Scientific Revolution.
The Scientific Revolution in turn depends on the scientific method, which is a very specific way of looking at the world that could only have appeared in this form in the Western Catholic world.
there wasn't enough demand for books before Christianity and every wealthy commoner wanting their own bible
really the Black Death did wonders for Europe and utterly shifted the balance in favor of the commoners rather than the Nobles.
that combined with the Crusades opening up all this new trade and merchants growing richer than any noble off of it.
the industrial revolution really required so many factors that it would not have been replicated elsewhere other than England who's history was like a perfect storm leading to such an event
The industrial revolution started on a small island (well, actually pretty big for an island, still a small patch of land) with a lot of top quality coal, dominated by a single power that was reaching the golden age of his power and extending his influence worldwide.
Can you find a similar situation on history? It's hard, even if you change the worldwide influence by just a regional one.
its funny because we should be in a similar situation now as populations level out and lower in the West. more power technically should be in the hands of the worker but instead companies simply import labour so they never have to be of the weaker end of the bargaining table.
it was the only area that had the ideas of individual freedom and though combined with co-operation
the Muslim world was probably next closest and had a major head-start but got bogged down by political squabbles (which were also religious ones since religion = law in Islam) as well as a strict adherence to the Quran as 100% divine
Why the industrial revolution happened is a clusterfuck in and off itself. You can make a catalogue of reasons without ever really being able to pinpoint the crucial one that tipped the balance. The most important were probably trade -- drive for more goods, faster production -- geography -- lots of smaller countries in Europe so evolution of succesful countries is faster; fuck tonnes of coal in the UK and not as much forest\peat left to burn -- and recent scienctific\cultural advancements.
the industrial revolution did happen, a very very long time ago, before the ice age. The ice age actually is the result of a massive nuclear winter caused by an ancient nuclear holocaust that wiped out all ancient species and traces of humanity from before that time.
this isnt the first time that humans have advanced this far in technology, this is not the first "modern age" either.
well the industrial revoloution didnt happen all at once by today's standards, it probibly happend hundreds of years apart in different areas in the same 1000 year span.
and it started in Britain because there were large deposits of coal near the surface and they had incentive for doing shit with the coal because they had a global empire
>the greeks had a primitive steam engine made by hero of alexandria, you guys must be able to think of others.
His steam engine was a glorified tea kettle that could spin. Even if it was developed further, that alone wouldn't cut it.
There's a lot of institutional development that really needs to get going before a proper Industrial Revolution can get going. Without the printing press- which Hero of Alexandria didn't have- it would be much harder to simply mass-produce and promulgate the information on new developments, seriously retarding the spread of new tech and new ideas.
Without joint-stock companies and double-entry bookkeeping, which likewise didn't exist during Hero of Alexandria's time, capital is more tightly controlled by rich patrons and more limited to actual exchanges of coin, rather that promissory notes, bonds, stocks and the reliable accounting that makes that all possible. Without a modern stockmarket system, risk is much higher when pouring money into a new business (like investing in a prototype steam engine), since the risk of financial loss is not spread out between shareholders, instead leaving one previously-rich patron completely fucked if a venture goes wrong and discouraging other rich patrons from giving a new idea financial support.
The important thing isn't when the steam engine is invented, it's when the financial and intellectual tools to support risky new ideas finally appear and take root.
There are a couple of characteristics that were present in this civilisation and no other and that were necessary to lead to the creation of the scientific method.
- A certain humility and willingness to learn from the ancients and from others, probably comes from growing up amid the imposing ruins of ancient Rome.
- A belief in the value of reason and logic, acquired partly from ancient Greek influence, and partly from the belief in a benevolent God.
- A belief in a creator and a familiarity with machines, which was essential in shaping our view of the universe as a clock governed by mathematics.
- A belief in the omnipotence of God, and thus a rejection of all scientific dogma.
- A perception of the universe as an infinite expanse and a need for exploring it.
>- A certain humility and willingness to learn from the ancients and from others, probably comes from growing up amid the imposing ruins of ancient Rome.
Half the point of the Scientific Revolution was casting aside Aristotle and Saint Boethius and company. Empirical study and experimentation, rather than simply trusting what ancient Hellenic thinkers said about something, was what kicked the Scientific Revolution into gear.
It's hard to say anything about China since the useful part of their history has been totally erased. But the China we know has certainly always been extremely arrogant and very far from humble or willing to learn from others. Similarly for the Middle East, in fact I'm quite sure there has never been a civilisation as humble as the West.
The only other civilisation that gave reason and logic such an important role was the Greco-Roman one, but again they were very arrogant and lacked anything to prevent their scientific systems to turn into dogmas. Their scientific history became mostly one of vicious conflict that focused mainly on destroying opponents rather than discovering truth.
>But the China we know has certainly always been extremely arrogant and very far from humble or willing to learn from others
In China's case it doesn't really matter. They were large and populous enough to sustain themselves.
>Similarly for the Middle East
Are you kidding me? The Middle East borrowed heavily from Greco-Roman thought as well as India.
There were two stages that were equally necessary.
The first was the adoption of reason as the primary way to arrive at the truth. This was inspired by the respect given to ancient Greek writers, and it created the Scholastic Method.
The second was the rejection of ancient Greeks as holding the absolute truth, and the beginning of thinking beyond scientific dogma (long before Francis Bacon btw, and it's what I mentioned here "A belief in the omnipotence of God, and thus a rejection of all scientific dogma". This is what led to the creation of the Scientific Method, but it could never have happened without the fundamental belief in reason and the Scholastic Method that came before.
In China, the Yellow River, prone to flooding, so traditionally whoever manage the river rule China. Starting from Yu the Great (c 2200BCE).
Flood plain are great farmland, so that start an agricultural revolution.
Not sure why you're talking about that, but having great farmland doesn't magically start an agricultural revolution, any more than having great quality silicon lying around you starts a microcomputer revolution.
>Not sure why you're talking about that, but having great farmland doesn't magically start an agricultural revolution, any more than having great quality silicon lying around you starts a microcomputer revolution
You can't eat silicon, you can eat crops. Having a significant surplus of crops means that a significant portion of the population does not need to be outside tending to the crops and is free to devote their spare time to other professions which include scientists, artists, craftsman, soldiers, etc. which leads to progress of the society as a whole.