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  • Keith W
  • Chicago, IL
  • United States

TEDCRED 10+

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If the Industrial Revolution did not begin in Western Europe, could it have or would it have began somewhere else?

I read "Guns Germs and Steel" by Jared Diamond and it really made me think. He said once "If another continent was blessed with environment and resources like Europeans, than they would have built skyscrapers and Helicopters" or something to that effect. I dont want this to turn into a racial/cultural debate by any means. I am merely asking if Technology was inevitable? I believe Diamond was correct in much of his assumptions he made in his book, but i do believe he was being overly deterministic? Anyway, is modern society just a fluke? What would have happened if the Industrial Revolution did not begin when it did?

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    Apr 18 2013: The discovery of Iron in Western Europe was key in kick-starting the Industrial Revolution. Increased use of refined coal & the almost-audaciously growing reliance on steel-based machinery as a result, gave birth to the working-class that displaced the typical farmer's family, and laid the brick for a civilized society that lived in a city dependent on its produce.
    Digital Revolution at the end of last century made many valuables virtual. But there's one thing that there is no going around of; we still live off the earth. Resources in the shape of minerals and fossil fuel constitute the biggest industry in the universe; Energy. The latter, is the single most sought after commodity-group in the modern world (since africa and parts of asia still go after food post-flood for mere survival) that has caused more than it's fair-share of wars. Studying the distribution of natural-wealth in the 21st one wonders how medicinal achievements have made it possible for us even to, without the aide of post-rev technology, live on difficult terrain or uncharted landscape making use of nature's various gift, least of which flowing consumable water, and to that effect, China is will positioned to take the cake, should Western Europe have not been that lucky.
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      Apr 18 2013: What would someone 100 yr ago said if you told them that in 2013 there would be 7 billion people on the planet?
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        Apr 18 2013: I think there were some of the more forward thinkers would have not been surprised. Medicine was beginning to to turn the corner on common diseases, labor exploitation was coming to an end, new energy sources were coming online, all promising longer healthier lifespans.
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          Apr 18 2013: But most likely they would have said that can't be true?

          Yet it is, so projecting forward is there an outside chance these much maligned humans can pull a rabbit out of their hat again?

          Or do we need an orgy of self sacrifice instead?

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