Saturday, February 15, 2020

The Importance of Hidden Improvements

Economic historians have an ongoing debate about the reasons for the Industrial Revolution and why it happened first in the UK and Netherlands.

One thing which occurs to me is the importance of hidden inventions: the sort of things which are important but haven't gotten attention, things like:

  • the invention of eyeglasses
  • the improvement of lighting--when did the whaling industry develop, was it to provide whale oil to light the lamps of the UK and US? 
  • the development of quarantine as a means to counter infectious diseases
  • the accumulation of people--the greater density of population leading to more interchange of ideas
  • the spread of literacy meaning easier communication of ideas among people and over time.

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