Also: Intro to progress studies at Learning Night Boston
I’m so glad you wrote about this so I could read your notes instead of the book 🥰
Jason, great piece, will write about this myself at some point.
This discussion reminds me of the Self Strengthening Movement in China, circa 1860. After defeat by superior weapons in the Opium wars, the Qing government decided to import and copy Western weapons. The idea was to strengthen China without adopting the education, culture, or industrialization of the West.
Indeed they could copy Western guns, but the copies cost more and were of inferior quality than the imported products. China lacked the industrial infrastructure to produce these products at scale, a lesson learned after about a decade, when the Qing government began easing resistance to factories and locomotives.
Even still, the leadership was unwilling to commit/allow deep industrialization until after the Boxer Rebellion, circa 1905.
We can't see technology and the factors of production as independent from each other. It takes cultural, education, factories...etc to produce tech, and it takes the latter to reinforce the former.
Jason, Interesting and fun to read. I thought the British invention of intellectual property enabled investment and revenue from ideas such as the steam engine, as Watt tried to profit from.