Bloody shovel

We shall drown, and nobody will save us

High Level Equilibrium Trap

If you’ve read some history you’ll probably know about the Needham Question, i.e. why China didn’t have an industrial revolution. Personally my favorite answer is the High Level Equilibrium Trap, which is a theory saying that China had developed medieval technology so efficiently that it just never had a need to develop machinery and high density energy sources.

It is perhaps unrelated, but one does have the impression that Asians generally do more with less. The Confucian exhortation to self-improvement and mastery in some way produces a mindset conducive to extracting all the juice from whatever you have, instead of abandon it and come up with something new from scratch.

For a more graphic take on the idea, take a look at this:

About these ads

3 responses to “High Level Equilibrium Trap

  1. Handle November 15, 2013 at 11:35

    That’s incredible. I wonder how he explains his job to girls. “Baby, I’m the world’s greatest at the hand flute”

  2. Thales November 15, 2013 at 14:32

    Allow me to be the first to make the “skin flute” joke.

    Anyways, this dovetails with my observation that the most ingenious technicians I’ve seen here in Aerospace land, the one’s best at improvising, are indeed the Asian ones, generally Cambodian or Viet. (Chinese here are too wealthy and high-status for career manual labor, so I can’t speak about them.)

  3. Pingback: High Level Entitlement Trap | Bloody shovel

Please comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s