Wealth And Poverty Of Nations: David Landes
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One thought from my heavy weight champion of over 500 pages by David Landes. The Walth and Poverty of Nations. In Europe, we had clock, presses for spreading new science in writing, glasses that extended working life by another 20 years where a craftsman was skilled most.
Chinese already invented printing presses. They used it centuries before Europeans. They never spread as they did in Europe. Why?
Politics across Europe was/is fragmented. Different countries reached different results and different wealth. This sprung competition between nations, scientists and businesses. It drove prestige and so important status.
Now, compare with China
Chinese society was highly totalitarian. No private initiative, no expression of public life that can escape official control. Monopoly of letter, anything written unofficially, that escapes the censorship, has little hope of reaching the public.
A regulation of public and private construction, dimensions of houses, the colours one wears, the music one hears, the festivals, all are regulated.
There are rules for birth and rules for death. In short, no one was trying. Why try? This was a killer.
They prohibited all trade overseas. It encouraged smuggling and brought corruption. Look at China now, what has changed since the middle ages?