TED Conversations

  • Keith W
  • Chicago, IL
  • United States


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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 28 2013: The Idustrial Revolution in my opinion ignited because of Colonialism.
    Europeans were the first to arrive to a land and declare- "That's Ours"(On a global scale).
    Colonialsm created material affluence- one that allowed spending time on activities that aren't related to physical needs.
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      Apr 28 2013: exactly how? to help you out a little, i visited wikipedia page about history of international trade, and listed the goods i found there

      spices, silk,gold, silver, ivory, precious stones, luxury goods, coffee, musk, camphor, ambergris, sandalwood.

      how any of these help anyone anyhow?

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