Four additional handouts:
- Geographical distribution of inventions
- Patterns of population and real income growth
- David Landes on Chinese pre-industrial clockmaking
- The abjuration of Galileo
- Michael Kremer, "Population Growth and Technological Change: One Million B.C. to 1990," Quarterly Journal of Economics 108 (August 1993), pp. 681-716.
- Jared Diamond, Guns, Germs, and Steel (New York: Norton, 1997) pp. 13-17, 104-130, 210-64.
- Eric Jones, The European Miracle (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1981), pp. 45-70, 85-126, 202-22.
- J. Bradford DeLong and Andrei Shleifer, "Princes and Merchants: City Growth Before the Industrial Revolution," Journal of Law and Economics 36 (October 1993), pp. 671-702.
Questions and issues raised by the readings:
- Say that there are four frames in which you can look at pre-industrial growth:
- since one million BC (acquisition of "technology" as we understand it);
- 10,000 BC to 1500 AD or so (dominance of Eurasia);
- 0 AD to 1800 AD or so (dominance of Europe within Eurasia);
- 1000 AD to 1800 AD or so (patterns within Europe).
- Both Kremer and Diamond look at the first two frames
- Michael Kremer is an optimist with a view of this big picture. Jared Diamond is an optimist coming at the same problem from a different direction. Which perspective do you see as more valuable? For what purposes is each preferable? What does one see that the other misses?
- Kremer and Diamond both give essentially the same answer to "why Eurasia?"--namely "it's big!" What other possibilities are there?
- What do Kremer and Diamond have to say about the pace of inventions? Why did the industrial revolution take place when it did--in the last quarter of the second millennium AD, some 10,000 years after the development of agriculture?
- Since the evolution [?] of language and the invention of fire, has the human race ever been in anything like "ecological balance"?
- Jones looks at the last two frames. He takes Eurasian dominance more-or-less for granted, and tries to explain "why Europe" (as opposed to the other three obvious candidates--Islam, India, China--and various not-so-obvious candidates--southeast Asia, or Korea-Japan).
- Were we bound to have an industrial revolution (somewhere, sometime) either when we did, or relatively soon thereafter? Can we reasonably conclude that the pre-industrial human civilizations that had existed from 8,000 BC to 1600 or so might have continued to exist without significant change for millennia thereafter?
- Jones has a laundry list of reasons for "why Europe"; in the excerpts in the reader, he discusses:
- nutritional advantages of an animal-heavy northern European diet
- a European cultural predisposition to be open to invention
- the fact that the nomad invasions butchered the Russians and the Byzantines, not the western Europeans
- The Crusades as a way of providing Europe with immediate access to the rest of the Eurasian heartlands
- A steady "accumulation of organizational and technological skill" (in contrast to, say, China's repeated forgetting of its own clock-making expertise)
- "The fall in population as a result of the Bubonic Plague has been described as a kind of Marshall Plan"
- The early presence of a--literate, lay--middle class in Europe in providing a market for printed books
- "Magic, religion, and science"
- The market economy--and political fragmentation which created the opportunity for merchants to "vote with their feet" for a better future.
- Political fragmentation which made rulers keenly interested in technological progress in metallurgy
- Protestantism as breaker of the Catholic Church's ideological monopoly
- Protestantism as the source of the Protestant ethic
- The repeated creation (and survival) of minority populations in Europe--Jews, French protestants, others--who could obtain mercantile wealth but not political power.
- Fear of the Eunuch faction at the Ming Court
- "The poets under the Ming Emperor Hung-wu who dared make no reference to natural calamity for fear he would take it as a hint at his tyranny."
- What do we do with such a laundry list of fifteen reasons?
- DeLong and Shleifer wind up with a very "political" interpretation of European economic growth: "The total population living in western European cities of 30,000 or more in 1650 was 4.7 million. Had each... region experienced an additional century and a half of absolutist rule before 1650, this urban population woud have been reduced by two million.... In such a scenario Europe in 1650 might have played the same role in world history it had played in 1000: a poor and barbarous backwater compared to the high civilizations of Islam, India, and China, rather than a continent on the verge of three centuries of world domination."
- Does the evidence in the paper support such a broad claim?
- Or does it make such a broad claim a not-too-implausible speculation?
- Or does it make you think that the paragraph quoted above was written by two overly-cocky junior faculty members who had just had too much to drink?
|Professor of Economics J. Bradford DeLong, 601 Evans, #3880|
University of California at Berkeley
Berkeley, CA 94720-3880
(510) 643-4027 phone (510) 642-6615 fax