This book is full of examples. (A recurrent topic is: "That was so easy, but it took the ancients 8000 years.") ""How to Invent Everything - A Survival Guide for the Stranded Time Traveler" - by Ryan North - is such a cool book. It's essential reading for anyone who needs to duplicate an industrial civilization quickly." --Randall Munroe (A recurrent topic is: "That was so easy and obvious, but it took the ancients 8000 years.")

You might want to do a post on a dozen of its examples. :) Eric Hoel won the ACX content proposing the idea of a "gossip trap", that kept small communities from inventing most anything for the longest times. https://erikhoel.substack.com/p/the-gossip-trap

Your concept can easily explain all delay by: social context/ cultural restrictions. But it seems not really falsifiable. And thus slightly less useful.

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There’s an essay “Against intellectual monopoly”, written by Boldrin and Levine, that argues that such delays, for example in the development of the steam engine, were caused by an abuse of patents.

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