Sanitation systems are one of the most important public health innovations in world history. Nobody likes to live surrounded by human waste, and the failure to avoid it is life threatening.
Changes in Per Capita GDP is one of the best means to measure progress for nations.
This is part 1 in a series of posts on measuring progress.
“Society Types” enable us to understand human history without going through all the trouble of spending decades reading books about the subject.
The concept of innovation has been all the rage in 21st Century America. No matter where one looks – books, media or corporate board rooms – there is a focus on this concept. And for good reason. Innovation is critical to progress. I would like to make the claim, however, that copying is at least […]
The search for life on other planets has clear parallels with the search for the causes of progress.
With Cultural evolution humans could adapt to a rapidly changing environment by copying what works directly rather than exclusively via genes. For this reason, Cultural evolution is critical to understanding the origins of progress.
An interesting analogy for technological innovation is trying to solve a jigsaw puzzle. Each piece of the puzzle represents an existing technology. The finished puzzle represents a new technology. Jigsaw puzzles typically come in boxes that contains all the necessary pieces for completing the puzzle, along with a photo of the completed puzzle on the […]
1) The past few decades and centuries have been a time of great material progress.
2) This progress is in dramatic contrast to most of human history…
Progress comes to a society when it has: 1) a highly efficient food production system, 2) trade-based cities full of free people with a wide variety of skills, 3) decentralization of power, and 4) widespread use of fossil fuels.