Thursday, April 29, 2010

Theory of Western Innovation

(This is an article that I (anarcho-mercantilist) wrote three years ago. I have then discovered that Jared Diamond had independently developed a very similar theory in his last chapter of Guns, Germs, and Steel.)

Europeans have had the most technological advances. This article promotes a theory of their advances, comparing them with East Asians.

Criticism on the genetic hypothesis

Genetic researchers have claimed that East Asian peoples have higher intelligence than European people, [1] but they have unusually "low" achievements compared to whites. Lynn suggests that Asians have lower IQ because of their conformist culture,[2] but this is just part of the story.

The book IQ and the Wealth of Nations[3] is flawed. First, IQ does not measure general intelligence, but primarily visuospatial intelligence. Second, the governments are not as free as Western nations so they are poor raised. Third, the governments have lots of corruption powered by oligarchies. That's why most of the not westerns have lower IQ.

This article will proclaim that the kind of government and culture is highly dependant on technological progress.

Invention of capitalism

Chinese philosophers Taoist Lao Tzu and Wu Wei invented capitalism. They held a laissez-faire belief that the government that governs best governs least. It was requoted by Thomas Jefferson. [2][3] They invented theories of how taxation and regulation damages the economy. They invented theories of inflation and how it damages the society. Missionaries discovered these works and translated them, which led Enlightenment philosophers to market the ideas to society.


Some mathematical theorems and physics was invented by the Indians and Chinese but was later translated by Westerners, and some Western scientists and mathematicians may have plagarized them. Steel, paper, gunpowder were invented by the Chinese, centries before the Europeans adopted them.

Geography and competition

As Montesquieu believed, geography affect the conditions of competition between monarchies. [4] According to Montesquieu, European has a very mountainous terrian, while Asia has a flat terrian. This resulted in many emperors competing in Europe and few Emperers in East Asia.

Like the free market, the competition of governments in Europe resulted in the best government there due to natural selection. The most properous, innovative and friendly governments survived. This led to the development of merchantalism, and eventually implementation of capitalism in Europe.

Likewise, the little competition of governments in East Asia due to their flat terrian resulted in a poor government. This kept the conformist, bureaucratic, anti-technological government in China. [5]

The great competition of nations amongst Europe resulted in a nation that promoted the structures that led the Reinaissance.

Ming Dynasty

The Yongle Encyclopedia may be stolen by anti-technological. The takeover by the Manchus resulted in lesser innovation. The Manchus were highly anti-technological and conformist.

Competition in Europe resulted in easy colonization

A theory says that China descovered the Americas, and colonized them well before the Europeans. [6] Why didn't china own the Americas?

European emperors like to grab power, due to "governmental evolution" in Europe. This resulted in best European emperors grabbing power in the Americas.

Capitalism is also a factor of easy colonization. Columbus discovered gold and wanted to make money so they exploited the Native Americans. This stimulated more and more Europeans to settle America.

The American revolution

The American revolution is based on the Ancient Greek and Roman republics. The great competition in Europe resulted in a diverse range of governments. The republican form of government in some European nations, such as Holland and Switzerland, set an example of how republican forms of government survuved. [7]

So the United States reformed a republican form of government.

Language and creativity

The logographic Eastern languages curbed creativity, while the word based languages of the West promoted creativity. [8] [9] [10] [11]

Why did East Asian peoples use logographic characters? Because of their high spatial intelligence, it is easier to just make a drawing than to spell out words. But the alphabetic Korean language, Hangul, was invented in 1440s. Pehaps the lack of competition of governments and languages in East Asia preserved the old, logographic languages of Asia. But syllabic/alphabetic words such as Kana, Kanji, Hangul and even Vietnamese are still considered more concrete than Western words. [12]

The roman characters in Europe led to the invention of the printing press, which led to progress in the Enlightenment. It is difficult to invent a machine that would copy logographic characters.

All these differences magnified the inventions in Europe. [13]


The high achievements of Europeans are not because of their intelligence, but their geography. Something simple, like geographical competition led infinite technological progress compaired to East Asia.


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^ Lynn, R. and Vanhanen, T. (2002). IQ and the wealth of nations. Westport, CT: Praeger. ISBN 0-275-97510-X
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^ Common Sense (Thomas Paine)
  8. ^
  9. ^ Hannas, W. C. (2003). The writing on the wall: How Asian orthography curbs creativity. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.
  10. ^ Cognitive contours: recent work on cross-cultural psychology and its relevance for education
  11. ^ Script And Cognition. 
  12. ^ Script And Cognition. 
  13. ^ DeWit, Andrew, "Scientific Stereotypes East and West," ZNet, May 19, 2005. [1]


Anonymous said...

Not only does Europe have a mountainous terrain, the Medditarrenaen sea, Baltic sea and the English channel as well as the peninsulas of Italy, Balkan and Iberia make the geography harder to place under central control.

anarcho-"mercantilist" said...

I agree with your points, anonymous.

I was glad that you understood my post, even though it's poorly written.