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Old 02-02-2018, 04:29 PM
 
Location: Middle of the ocean
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wutitiz View Post
This is partly due to the book After Tamerlane (Tamerlane lived in the 14th-15th cent), and partly because 1500 was when the Age of Discovery (Columbus, Vasco De Gama) etc. began. And also because it marks the beginning of takeoff for the West. Actually I think it could be argued that the real takeoff did not start until 100-200 years later. The West in 1500 was developing maritime-wise, but remained fairly primitive in other regards.


An interesting book that tries to go back to, IIRC, around 50,000 BC is Guns Germs and Steel by Jared Diamond. He also tackles the question of the sources of tech/econ advances. His book is briefly mentioned in After Tamerlane. Author prof. Darwin seems to be mostly dismissive of what he calls Diamond's (paraphrase) "geographic determinism." Diamond argues that Eurasia advanced mostly due to the presence of certain plants and animals that were conducive for domestication.

Yeah, well before the "age of discovery" the Chinese and Norse had already been to the Americas.... so perhaps "re-discovering" would be more appropriate?
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Old 02-02-2018, 06:57 PM
 
Location: New Mexico
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Default The money mosty fell through their hands

Quote:
Originally Posted by jmking View Post
Money. Spain became the first global powerhouse. Silver, gold and finance powered this machine that spread Spain's influence throughout the world with the help of several European nations/colonies. There were many players in the background that propped up Spain, such as royal families, financial houses, peoples from all walks of life, from northern Europe to Africa, Asia, and the Americas, that fed the machine for 300 years. It was Spain's infusion of huge amounts of gold and silver into a new world economic system in which the world had never seen before.
Yes & no. Silver & gold, tobacco, chocolate, corn, potatoes, codexes & etc. poured through Spain from the Americas, Philippines, China. But Spain expelled or converted the Jews & Islamics - who could have invested the money instead of merely buying luxury goods from abroad. The raw money pouring through caused massive inflation, & the lack of economic opportunity caused stagnation in the population & low growth in the cities & rural areas.

The money went into dead hands, or was simply exported in exchange for goods that probably could have been manufactured in Spain, & developed the Spanish economy, regions, government, education.
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Old 02-02-2018, 09:52 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wutitiz View Post
After Tamerlane: The Global History of Empire since 1405 | Reviews in History


I've been reading the above book After Tamerlane by a Brit historian, and he spends some time on this question. He argues that until the 16th century, Both the Islamic world and the Far East (mainly China and Japan) were equal to if not ahead of Europe in commerce and technology.


One interesting case in point in the book is Japan. Japan had a pretty thriving economy around 1600, partly due to having silver, which made them a sought after trading partner by European traders who were starting to show up. However, the power brokers of the time did not want much contact with the West, and (like China) mostly shut them out. Over the next 400 years, both Japan and China mostly muddled along, while the West underwent industrial revolution.


Around 1870 there was a civil war in Japan, and the gov't was restructured, including the establishment of some individual rights such as the right to choose one's livelihood, and removable governors at the regional (prefecture) level. Thereafter Japan began to advance, and today is in some ways more advanced than the West. Most of the rest of the Far East continued to lag until the late 20th century.


The above suggests to me that form of government is the biggest keys to economic/technological prowess for a nation. The U.S. could be another case in point. What's you opinion on why the West advanced while others lagged, over the past 5 centuries or so?
It was the confluence of several developments within a 200-year period. Between the fall of Rome to Alaric and the printing press, technological advances were pretty much limited to the windmill, the longbow, the crossbow, and the caravel.

1. Western Europe was fighting for survival against encroaching Islam. Remember that Turkish armies were besieging Vienna as late as the 17th century. Advances in navigation and warfighting ability--and the innovation required to achieve those advances--became paramount. Further, the ongoing jockeying between European states forced them to continuously seek innovation.

2. The printing press which, in turn led to the dissemination of knowledge. Or, more precisely, the spread of the printing press. The Chinese had printing, but its use was limited.

3. The reintroduction of classical texts into the intellectual consciousness of the West. After the sack of Constantinople in 1454, the ancient, rationalist works of the Greeks and Romans were sent to the West for safekeeping. There was a renewed interest in thinkers such as Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle, among others. This new rationalism in turn stimulated the Renaissance, followed by the Enlightenment.

4. The weakening of monarchies. To be sure, monarchs such as Charles V, Louis XIV, and Henry VIII still ruled with an iron fist. But parliamentary gained power over time, as evidenced by the Roundheads deposing Charles I in England.

5. The stranglehold of the Catholic Church was broken by the Reformation. Given the church's repression of scientists such as Copernicus and Galileo, the church's waning influence liberated the intellectual climate of the continent.

6. The Black Plague in the 1340s effectively destroyed the feudal system. With labor shortages in the working class due to the ravages of the disease, wages began to increase. It was a fatal blow to the ossified medieval economic order.

7. The Age of Exploration. Between the sea routes first charted by de Gama around Africa to the Indies to the European colonization of the Americas, untold riches flowed into Western Europe.
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Old 02-02-2018, 09:56 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Mikala43 View Post
Yeah, well before the "age of discovery" the Chinese and Norse had already been to the Americas.... so perhaps "re-discovering" would be more appropriate?
That's kind of a pedantic argument, one that gets repeated a lot. But the Chinese and the Norse did not exploit those discoveries. Sure, the Norse had settlements in Greenland and an outpost or two in Newfoundland (Actually, the climate in Greenland and Iceland was warmer than today. There was agriculture in Greenland that, if attempted today, would be impossible). In fact, the Chinese voluntarily pulled back within their borders rather than continue exploration. Meanwhile, the Western Europeans made their colonization permanent.
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Old 02-02-2018, 10:05 PM
 
Location: Middle of the ocean
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MinivanDriver View Post
That's kind of a pedantic argument, one that gets repeated a lot. But the Chinese and the Norse did not exploit those discoveries. Sure, the Norse had settlements in Greenland and an outpost or two in Newfoundland (Actually, the climate in Greenland and Iceland was warmer than today. There was agriculture in Greenland that, if attempted today, would be impossible). In fact, the Chinese voluntarily pulled back within their borders rather than continue exploration. Meanwhile, the Western Europeans made their colonization permanent.
My point was merely in regard to the "rediscovery" aspect. Absolutely the West exploited what they found. Exploited the heck out of it!
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Old 02-02-2018, 10:07 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Mikala43 View Post
My point was merely in regard to the "rediscovery" aspect. Absolutely the West exploited what they found. Exploited the heck out of it!
I prefer the term 'made use of it.' The Chinese and Norse did no such thing.
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Old 02-02-2018, 10:20 PM
 
Location: Prepperland
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimRom View Post
I didn't have a lot of time for my previous post, but I wanted to address the Islamic side of the occasion. I've spent a great deal of time studying the early history of the area, due to my fascination with the Crusades.

The Islamic Golden Age started around 790 AD and lasted anywhere from 500 to 700 years, depending on which historian you ask. That was the period when there was the most innovation in just about every aspect of life, from economics to culture for that area of the world, but most of the innovation was during the first 200 years or so. Then the rest of the world realized that they were there and pretty much destroyed the original Islamic culture over a few centuries. First, the Europeans spent 200 or so years crusading, then Genghis Khan and a fairly minor Islamic sultan got into a tiff over a fairly minor misunderstanding - at which point Genghis and his Horde rolled over the Islamic States in an invasion that would ensure that the name "Khan" would still strike fear in the hearts of humans even well into the age of star travel (my fellow Trekkies will get that one), and then the Ottoman Empire came in and swallowed the area whole after it was nice and tenderized around 1500 AD.

The argument can be made that prior to the beginning of the Crusades, Islamic culture set the entire world on a course that we are still somewhat following today. If you regularly deal with math or science, you can ultimately thank a Muslim.
You have your history backwards. Islam destroyed the Roman / European culture that once dominated the Mediterranean shores - thanks to the plague. And where Islam dominated, poverty and decline soon followed. Most of the "Golden Age" was based on the efforts of imported slaves who translated the ancient classics into Arabic. Islamic culture is fatalistic and does not respect the scientific method. Nor is it conducive to agriculture. Egypt was transformed from a bread basket into a net food importer. To this day, the Levant is unsustainable (excluding Israel).

And even the feared Ottoman empire relied on infidel mercenaries and Janissaries.

Europe gained ascendancy due to improved agriculture that sustained a larger population, which triggered conflict and the export of its surplus population to colonies in the Americas, Australia, Africa, and Asia.
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Old 02-03-2018, 05:16 AM
 
616 posts, read 406,889 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wutitiz View Post
After Tamerlane: The Global History of Empire since 1405 | Reviews in History


I've been reading the above book After Tamerlane by a Brit historian, and he spends some time on this question. He argues that until the 16th century, Both the Islamic world and the Far East (mainly China and Japan) were equal to if not ahead of Europe in commerce and technology.


One interesting case in point in the book is Japan. Japan had a pretty thriving economy around 1600, partly due to having silver, which made them a sought after trading partner by European traders who were starting to show up. However, the power brokers of the time did not want much contact with the West, and (like China) mostly shut them out. Over the next 400 years, both Japan and China mostly muddled along, while the West underwent industrial revolution.


Around 1870 there was a civil war in Japan, and the gov't was restructured, including the establishment of some individual rights such as the right to choose one's livelihood, and removable governors at the regional (prefecture) level. Thereafter Japan began to advance, and today is in some ways more advanced than the West. Most of the rest of the Far East continued to lag until the late 20th century.


The above suggests to me that form of government is the biggest keys to economic/technological prowess for a nation. The U.S. could be another case in point. What's you opinion on why the West advanced while others lagged, over the past 5 centuries or so?
The first part, Invention and the industrial revolution did it IMO. Industrial revolution began in the west and invention happened everywhere, but taking ideas and putting them into mass production can do wonders.

Second part, the west makes the very best war machines and war technology available and spends most of it's money on it. They leave the small money for other countries, it is no longer a viable business in the west, war is.
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Old 02-03-2018, 05:56 AM
 
6,209 posts, read 6,583,344 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by southwest88 View Post
Yes & no. Silver & gold, tobacco, chocolate, corn, potatoes, codexes & etc. poured through Spain from the Americas, Philippines, China. But Spain expelled or converted the Jews & Islamics - who could have invested the money instead of merely buying luxury goods from abroad. The raw money pouring through caused massive inflation, & the lack of economic opportunity caused stagnation in the population & low growth in the cities & rural areas.

The money went into dead hands, or was simply exported in exchange for goods that probably could have been manufactured in Spain, & developed the Spanish economy, regions, government, education.
Very true. Spain's main export out of its homeland was wool, most of its people had no interest in leaving Spain for the Americas, most felt no benefit from it being a superpower. Another words most monies was not invested in Spain. One can argue that because of inflation the slave trade out of Africa expanded because its silver and gold dropped in price, making the slave trade much more lucrative. Most gold and silver out of the Americas first went to Spain for their much smaller cut, most was distributed throughout Europe, Asia in order to pay its huge debts. Many powerhouses saw Spain's stewardship as one burden they'd rather leave to Spain in order to exploit her while growing rich from her.
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Old 02-03-2018, 08:17 AM
 
820 posts, read 275,665 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MinivanDriver View Post
That's kind of a pedantic argument, one that gets repeated a lot. But the Chinese and the Norse did not exploit those discoveries. Sure, the Norse had settlements in Greenland and an outpost or two in Newfoundland (Actually, the climate in Greenland and Iceland was warmer than today. There was agriculture in Greenland that, if attempted today, would be impossible). In fact, the Chinese voluntarily pulled back within their borders rather than continue exploration. Meanwhile, the Western Europeans made their colonization permanent.
Yup. I'm pretty tired of hearing how the early --- peoples 'discovered' the New World on----.
Yeah? For about ten minutes, and then left.

Re original post:
I believe the advances in Europe after Tamerlane were due to the early adoption and embracing of the scientific method, which resulted in discoveries that often contradicted religion.
If religion holds sway, science, the engine of material progress, suffers.

P.S. Mathematics is not a science.
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