Aug 23, 2007

wealth and poverty of a nation (part 2)

wealth is a by-product of progress.

Progress has taken different meaning in different times. Thousands of years ago, the Greeks were considered progressive for there unique approach towards the understanding of a variety of subjects ranging from health, politics, philosophy, etc. Egyptians were once considered progressive for there construction and people(read slave) management skills. Muslims were also once the most progressive force on Earth for there works in the fields of medicine, philosophy and architecture. They were considered the teachers of the World in the post-Roman era.

I think since the industrial revolution progress means the application of science and technology in everyday life to make life more organized, hence freeing up time for more intellectual pursuits.

(have we gone back a full circle? Are we living the Greek philosopher's dream?)

The story goes that on the broad spectrum of time we can see Eastern civilization’s infatuation with empires, we had the Chinese empire, the mogul empire, the ottoman empire , the Egyptian empire etc etc., the last great empire that the Europeans saw was the Roman Empire (the British empire was there more for business reasons then anything else, plus the Western Civilization had already established itself as a progressive power to reckon with by the time the Empire theme emerged, I will also comment on mercantilism and imperialism in a later post), which was essentially different on many levels from its Asian counterparts.

The bad thing about empires is that they tend to regulate all and every aspect of the society which hinders free thinking which in turn hinders innovation, Chinese invented paper, water clock, printing press and so many other things hundreds and thousands of years before anyone else but all there inventions were geared towards the dynasty's rulers and not for the service of common populace, hence no concept of free market economy, anything and everything that the people got was due to the benevolence of the emperor.

Weather was also a factor, in Algeria when the French took over the place, the hot weather made it next to impossible to spend long hours outdoors, working in the fields and even those who did try doing that use to become victims of malaria and so many other diseases, (on a side note the French came over that problem by draining a lot of stagnant water pools no idea why the indigenous didn’t think of it) .