From The Washington Post Ana Swanson writes Why The Industrial Revolutions didn’t happen in China

The article is mostly an interview with Joel Mokyr about his new book , A Culture of Growth: The Origins of the Modern Economy.  It appears to travel on similar ideas expressed by Deirdre McCloskey’s Bourgeois Equality and she referred to his work in her own.

Of interest is the notice of the liability of the meritocracy as why China lagged in economic growth in spite of its scientific achievements.:

I believe the fundamental reason is China’s position as a single empire, and also its bureaucracy, which is a unique and peculiar animal. On the one hand, it is very progressive, because it is a meritocracy. In Europe, the people who were in power were the sons and nephews of other people in power. But in China there’s an examination, and the people who did the best rose in the Mandarin civil service. So you’d think, “Wow, that’s very progressive.” Except if you look at what they were studying for these exams, they were simply regurgitating the classics. It was the perfect tool to keep reproducing from the same mold generation after generation.


We face a similar false sense of diversity of we choose leaders from different ethnic backgrounds but with no intellectual diversity. Progress is made in the garages of Steve Jobs more than in the Ivy League class rooms.