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In Dusty Archives, a Theory of Affluence
NY Times ^ | August 7, 2007 | Nicholas Wade

Posted on 08/08/2007 8:24:42 AM PDT by SunkenCiv

Gregory Clark, an economic historian at the University of California, Davis, believes that the Industrial Revolution — the surge in economic growth that occurred first in England around 1800 — occurred because of a change in the nature of the human population. The change was one in which people gradually developed the strange new behaviors required to make a modern economy work. The middle-class values of nonviolence, literacy, long working hours and a willingness to save emerged only recently in human history, Dr. Clark argues. Because they grew more common in the centuries before 1800, whether by cultural transmission or evolutionary adaptation, the English population at last became productive enough to escape from poverty, followed quickly by other countries with the same long agrarian past... Dr. Clark said he set out to write his book 12 years ago on discovering that his undergraduates knew nothing about the history of Europe. His colleagues have been surprised by its conclusions but also interested in them, he said. "The actual data underlying this stuff is hard to dispute," Dr. Clark said. "When people see the logic, they say 'I don't necessarily believe it, but it's hard to dismiss.'"

(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society
KEYWORDS: juliansimon; malthus

In Dusty Archives, a Theory of Affluence

1 posted on 08/08/2007 8:24:44 AM PDT by SunkenCiv
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To: Pharmboy; indcons; martin_fierro; AdmSmith; Berosus; Convert from ECUSA; dervish; ...
The poor get richer and the rich get more numerous.

A Farewell to Alms: A Brief Economic History of the World A Farewell to Alms:
A Brief Economic History
of the World

by Gregory Clark

Archaeoblog had a lead about this.
2 posted on 08/08/2007 8:25:50 AM PDT by SunkenCiv (Profile updated Tuesday, August 7, 2007. https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)
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To: SunkenCiv

I remember when my fist Econ professor ask how I enjoyed my first Economic Science class I told him he hhad a alot of gall to call it a science.


3 posted on 08/08/2007 8:27:17 AM PDT by Mikey_1962 (If Roger Maris got an asterisk next to his name, Bonds should get a syringe)
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The Birth of Plenty: How the Prosperity of the Modern World was Created The Birth of Plenty:
How the Prosperity of
the Modern World was Created

by William Bernstein


4 posted on 08/08/2007 8:27:41 AM PDT by SunkenCiv (Profile updated Tuesday, August 7, 2007. https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)
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To: Mikey_1962

Well, it is the dismal science.


5 posted on 08/08/2007 8:28:08 AM PDT by SunkenCiv (Profile updated Tuesday, August 7, 2007. https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)
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To: SunkenCiv

I thought wealthier nations had fewer children...


6 posted on 08/08/2007 8:29:02 AM PDT by Mikey_1962 (If Roger Maris got an asterisk next to his name, Bonds should get a syringe)
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To: SunkenCiv; Tijeras_Slim

There’s a FReerider Ping in here somewhere.


7 posted on 08/08/2007 8:37:42 AM PDT by martin_fierro (< |:)~)
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To: Mikey_1962

Nations with a steady food surplus will generally wind up wealthier, both in terms of cash cash cash and culture. The only sustainable economy is one based on surplus.


8 posted on 08/08/2007 8:40:15 AM PDT by SunkenCiv (Profile updated Tuesday, August 7, 2007. https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)
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To: SunkenCiv

bookmark


9 posted on 08/08/2007 8:40:24 AM PDT by IronJack (=)
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To: martin_fierro

The full article also discusses a possible genetic basis for the behaviors, making this a possible genetic archaeology ping. ;’) Click the pic’ for the “pagewanted=all” printer friendly version.


10 posted on 08/08/2007 8:47:09 AM PDT by SunkenCiv (Profile updated Tuesday, August 7, 2007. https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)
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To: SunkenCiv
The wealthy passed on their habits, and the poor didn't. Common sense.

This author needs to consider the political landscape, however. The rise of wealth among the general population is the result of freedom, not necessarily family.

Agrarian societies were primarily feudal societies with a very rigid social structure. As more towns and trades formed, and the more power was vested in the citizenry rather than the noble class, the more society prospered.

This author missed a big part of what was right under his nose.

11 posted on 08/08/2007 9:18:51 AM PDT by cinives (On some planets what I do is considered normal.)
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To: SunkenCiv

This is nonsense. For starters, Malthus was wrong. Population collapses were far more likely to take place due to disease and/or war than because there were too many people for the food supply.

Secondly, it is entirely possible that rich people had more surviving children because it was the high number of family members all working together in the family business (or on the family farm) that made them rich in the first place.

And as for the change in murder rates, you can’t discuss that credibly without getting in to England’s “Bloody Code” that made almost any crime a hanging offense. THAT likely really did have an effect on the overall gene pool.


12 posted on 08/08/2007 9:28:08 AM PDT by irv
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To: SunkenCiv

Kind of interesting that the Industrial Revolution happened in Britain began around the time of the Napoleonic Wars just like the Industrial Revolution in America happened around the time of our Civil War.


13 posted on 08/08/2007 9:44:40 AM PDT by Swiss
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To: SunkenCiv

This isn’t going to sit well with the social-control crowd.

What will they tax to mutate genes back to the cave?


14 posted on 08/08/2007 9:53:59 AM PDT by Old Professer (The critic writes with rapier pen, dips it twice, and writes again.)
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To: Swiss

It’s been said that the lathe was the first self-replicating tool.


15 posted on 08/08/2007 9:56:00 AM PDT by Old Professer (The critic writes with rapier pen, dips it twice, and writes again.)
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To: irv
This is nonsense. For starters, Malthus was wrong.
Of course Malthus was wrong, and has always been wrong. Malthusianism is the inciting idea behind ecoterrorism, animal rights, the global warming scams, carbon credits, colonialism, and every other claim that there's a pie of a limited size, and that the slices can only get just so thin before revolution and collapse.

The author attributes the end of the Malthusian economy to the rise of capitalism (what non-Marxists call "the free market" or "the market-based economy" or "real life"), and states that the prior Malthusian economy selected for genes which bring about capitalism. The illusion of Malthusianism arises from political systems under which the governed don't guarantee liberty for themselves.
16 posted on 08/08/2007 10:36:26 AM PDT by SunkenCiv (Profile updated Tuesday, August 7, 2007. https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)
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To: SunkenCiv

bump


17 posted on 08/08/2007 10:38:38 AM PDT by bubman
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To: Old Professer

They’re going to take genes away from us for our own good.


18 posted on 08/08/2007 10:38:47 AM PDT by SunkenCiv (Profile updated Tuesday, August 7, 2007. https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)
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To: Swiss

:’) The US was already in the throes of the Industrial Revolution, not far behind the UK. What the Civil War did was hit the gas (to use a later metaphor). Many troops in the Civil War were moved by train over rail lines which already existed. The telegraph was already in existence. Here and there were advances in war technology and tactics. By 1868, the Monitor-style ironclad had been copied by (at least) Russia and Brazil (!). Worldwide, a great many new keels were laid as a consequence of the US Navy.

A similar transformation happened as a consequence of WWII — the US went from being a major power to being one of the two major powers, with nuclear weapons, and a military and technological R&D that had never before been seen. And the economy was not bad either. The process of urbanization has always been around, even in the US and the former colonial period. Movement off the farms and into factories began nationwide around the time of WWI. In 400 years we’ve gone from being practically 100 per cent agrarian to being maybe 2 per cent agrarian. It’s astonishing.


19 posted on 08/08/2007 10:49:06 AM PDT by SunkenCiv (Profile updated Tuesday, August 7, 2007. https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)
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To: cinives
The rise of wealth among the general population is the result of freedom...
I agree. And the Black Death helped lead to that.
20 posted on 08/08/2007 10:58:39 AM PDT by SunkenCiv (Profile updated Tuesday, August 7, 2007. https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)
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To: SunkenCiv

I would blame the Magna Carta, myself.


21 posted on 08/08/2007 11:15:11 AM PDT by cinives (On some planets what I do is considered normal.)
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To: irv

“This is nonsense.....”

It is nonsense on stilts.

One of the author’s key assumptions in seeking out a materialistic and mechanistic explanation for the Industrial Revolution is that institutions didn’t change much from the economically stagnant period until the the onset of the Industrial Revolution. This assumption is demonstrably and almost laughably false.

One of the titanically biggest institutional changes that occurred with onset of the Industrial Revolution occurred in the private banking and governmental financing areas (see Nial Ferguson’s book “The Cash Nexus”). A hypothetical Rip Van Winkle who woke up 100 year after the onset of the Industrial Revolution would be stupefied by the variety of new financing techniques that had been developed.

The development of the Industrial Corporation as an autonomously funded entity along with the development of private capital markets in which the securities of these newly created corporate securities could be purchased and traded was one of the indisputable keys to the development of the Industrial Revolution in the Christian West.

It is worth noting that the concurrent economic stagnation of the Islamic World was related to the lack of such private securities markets and is directly attributable to the prohibition in Islamic theology against the charging of interest.

Leave it to an academic to come up with materialistic explanation of a cultural phenomena when a more compelling but politically incorrect explanation is available.


22 posted on 08/08/2007 11:46:10 AM PDT by ggekko60506
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To: SunkenCiv

Nations with a steady food surplus will generally wind up wealthier, both in terms of cash cash cash and culture. The only sustainable economy is one based on surplus.


I concur. And if the author of the book had looked into the agricultural statistics of the 1700s, he would have discovered that there was a gradual shift from growing wheat to growing potatoes — and you get 3 times as many calories per acre with potatoes as you do with wheat.

Before this time, a farmer could raise only about 10% more food than he and his family consumed, thus limiting the population size in general and the percentage of the population that could live in the cities. Then, when the weather turned bad one year out of 30 or so, a famine swept Europe and killed off as much as 30% of the population.

But potatoes were happy to grow in the rainy weather that left wheat fields sparse. This did two things - it allowed more people to move to the cities (and mines and smelters ...) and still get fed with a surplus of food, and it eliminated the devastating impact of the wet years that previously led to sparse wheat harvest and thus famine (because the potatoes could grow very well in that environment).

Just another example of a specialist looking only at his specialty, rather than than the entire picture.


23 posted on 08/08/2007 11:52:17 AM PDT by Mack the knife
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To: Mack the knife

:’) Nice analysis.


24 posted on 08/08/2007 12:12:27 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (Profile updated Tuesday, August 7, 2007. https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)
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