History matters

You'd think, growing up in a PC society in the West, that our current wealth would have been begotten over the backs of the down-trodden in the formerly colonial settlements we used to ruthlessly exploit. But you'd be wrong.

Here's something quite interesting. An economic paper looking at predictors of current national wealth: Was the Wealth of Nations Decided in 1000 AD?. As the authors argue, the main predictor of current national wealth is the measure of technological advance in the 16th century, around the high point of the Renaissance. Way before the colonialism and imperialism of the 17th and 18th century.

This must come as a shock to the flower-children who place the birth of civilization around 1968: History does matter. History matters a great deal. As one of the authors states in a related blog-post:
A large role for history is still likely to sit uncomfortably with modern development practitioners, because you can’t change your history. But we have to face the world as it is, not as we would like it to be: deal with it. Perhaps when you acknowledge the importance of your own history, you are then more likely to transcend it.
Something this blog (and let us not forget Fjordman) have argued again and again: Know your history!

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