Essay of Joel Mokyr – Robert H Strotz Professor of Arts and Sciences and professor of economics and history at Northwestern University in Illinois.

Summary of main factors:

– political fragmentation -> competing states in Europe

– an integrated, continent-wide market, helping intellectuals and innovators to aim for a big market

– some major inventions introduced new tools for doing other breakthrough research: steam engine, marine chronometer, microscope, telescope, barometer, modern thermometer.

In this regard, then, Europe’s intellectual community enjoyed the best of two worlds, both the advantages of an integrated transnational academic community and a com­petitive states system. This system produced many of the cultural components that led to the Great Enrichment: a belief in social and economic progress, a growing regard for scientific and intellectual innovation, and a commitment to a Baconian, ie a methodical and empirically grounded, research programme of knowledge in the service of economic growth. The natural philosophers and mathematicians of the 17th-century Republic of Letters adopted the idea of experimental science as a prime tool, and accepted the use of increasingly more sophisticated mathematics as a method of understanding and codifying nature.

Source: How did Europe become the richest part of the world? | Aeon Essays

How did Europe become the richest part of the world? | Aeon Essays
Tagged on:                         
%d bloggers like this: