Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Why China failed to progress technologically

Explaining why Chinese scientific discoveries didn't flower into a scientific revolution, Levenson wrote, "It is not because their forebears were constitutionally unable to nurture a growing tradition of science, but because they did not care to."

Science had no social prestige, he says, and it would never have occurred to traditional Chinese scholars that kudos was to be gained from claiming discoveries or inventions.  The ancients didn't turn such inventions into world-changing technologies, so why should we?

China Road page 105
Seems plausible to me


Stagflationary Mark said...

Science had no social prestige...

When I entered college in the early 1980s an uncle of mine asked me what I was planning to study. I said computer science. He said, and I quote, 'Programmers are a dime a dozen."

Perhaps that one quote explains how our FIRE economy got where is is today and how we've made such "great" progress in financial innovation, lol. Sigh.

Rob Dawg said...

China fell into the social trappings of process over results. The concept scales very well. I even use it when advising clients on things like Mac or PC? or laser vs inkjet. The US is fast falling into the same trap. We've shifted from what we need to accomplish to what can we do now. That is how we got to what can we do to save the banks without ever asking the question what is the purpose of saving the banks.

And Scott, thanks for the blogroll. EN is doing nicely. I'll try to keep earning your mention.