Thursday, March 23, 2017

Was scientific experiment the industrial spark?

What sparked the industrial revolution?  Brad takes on this theory from Mokyr which claims that an industrial elite enforced the rules of testing and verification, the market place for science caused the revolution:
take a very narrow view of what the Industrial Revolution was about, [for] the mechanisms by which the Republic of Letters affected technological progress are deeper and more complex than “how much science was needed to build a spinning jenny”. Science plays an ever-growing role in the subsequent history of industrialization.... Without the Republic of Letters and the changing agenda of science... [any wave of European growth] would have been short-lived and fizzled out after 1815 or so...
I have a specific chain of causality.  We used the new technology of the press to quarantine plague outbreaks, and thus beat the disease, That victory placed a higher premium on the very young, they would likely live to adulthood. Hence, parents invested more time  and effort in early child development. That is part 1

Part 2 was the latter revolution due to the rotary steam press in 1840. The rapid printing mechanism caused industrial standardization as all then product lists were broadcast everywhere.  That unleashed the mechanical and electrical revolution. Product lists open up the whole realm of supply chain manufacturing.

Part 2.5 was the telegraph and railroads, an amazing pair, but it did not spread past the rail lines until the widespread availability of product lists.

Part 3,4,5 all have to do with telephone, air wave networks and digital. These technologies hit the tipping point and cause sudden aggregation and restructuring, especially in finance when they are not careful.

Take the sandbox.  We know where it is going, but we await a few particular details, like how government wants the tax money to fit in. At some point, some large government will convene the Committee of Aggregation Before its Time, and define the last piece of the sandbox puzzle.   At that moment, the software geeks have days, not years, to cross the Is and dot the Ts. We suddenly have part 6 of the industrial revolution.

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