History


How the Industrial Revolution happened remains a major question. Robert Fogel’s End of Hunger and Greg Clark’s Farewell to Alms try to explain the dramatic change.

Beginning around 1700-1750, there were a series of major economic changes. A “Consumer Revolution” in Britain and the American Colonies happened as the Middle Class grew. At the same time, the Second Agricultural Revolution began, which massively expanded food production. A health care revolution, beginning with Germ Theory rapidly improved medical care. The Industrial Revolution began at the start of the 19th century with the invention of the coal-powered steam engine.

The population skyrocketed, as did the pace of technological inventions. There was a cultural revolution too, as 10,000 years of agricultural lifestyles and traditions were replaced.
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This is an except from Douglass’ North Nobel Prize speech in 1993.
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So what were the Swedes doing during World War II?

God Bless the Finns

This is the precedent for the 8th Amendment in the Colonial Massachusetts Body of Liberties.
Clearer language, I have never seen.

No man shall be forced by torture to confess any crime against himself nor any other, unless it be in some capital case where he is first fully convicted by clear and sufficient evidence to be guilty, after which if the cause be of that nature, that it is very apparent there be other conspirators, or confederates with him, then he may be tortured, yet not with such tortures as be barbarous and inhumane.

Don’t torture, unless you have to, and in that case, don’t go too crazy. It looks like the colonists dealt with their own “ticking timebomb” scenarios.

James W. Ceaser offers an historical account of anti-Americanism. Europeans long criticized a symbolic America, going back to Colonial times.

This included the “degeneracy thesis” where Europeans deemed Americans biologically inferior or racial impure. This actually still occurs, but the main line of criticism is intellectual. America lacked a romantic philosophy and history as a nation – it threatened the ideal of European nation-hood. The intellectuals also criticized American “technologism” and soulless consumerism.

To be fair, the Americans created a symbolic Europe of haughty aristocrats and useless philosophers talking about nothing with occasional outbreaks of mass murder.

Six years ago today, the Taliban assassinated the Afghan Northern Alliance leader Ahmad Shah Massoud. Massoud was one of the Mujahedeen leaders that the US backed against the Soviet Union in the 1980s. Massoud resisted the Pakistani-Taliban invasion of Afghanistan in the 1990s. He created the Northern Alliance, which proved to be a crucial US ally in 2001.

The Taliban assassinated Massoud on Sept 9th, 2001. The assassination and the 9/11 attacks marked the start of a major Taliban offensive against the Northern Alliance.

Rand Simberg points to Massoud’s letter to the Americans in 1998. We can’t say he didn’t warn us.

I recommend Marc Levinson’s economic history – The Box: How the Shipping Container Made the World Smaller and the World Economy Bigger

It’s the history of a box. And it is the most fascinating history of a box you’ll ever read.

Hopefully, he will write the history of food stored in tin cans and the revolutionary effect it had on our lives. And it will be just as fascinating. Containers play such a major role in human history – from pottery, to tin cans, to cargo containers. Transportation and storage is pointless without good boxes.

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