[Marxism] why England led the Industrial Revolution

Andrew Pollack acpollack2 at yahoo.com
Tue Aug 7 08:28:18 MDT 2007

It's all in their genes!
  I kid you not -- that's the insane and dangerous conclusion of a study  which today's Science Times is giving serious and extended play:
  "Generation after generation, the rich had more surviving children than  the poor, his research showed. That meant there must have been constant  downward social mobility as the poor failed to reproduce themselves and  the progeny of the rich took over their occupations. 'The modern  population of the English is largely descended from the economic upper  classes of the Middle Ages,' he [Gregory Clark] concluded.
  "As the progeny of the rich pervaded all levels of society, Dr. Clark  considered, the behaviors that made for wealth could have spread with  them. He has documented that several aspects of what might now be  called middle-class values changed significantly from the days of  hunter gatherer societies to 1800. Work hours increased, literacy and  numeracy rose, and the level of interpersonal violence dropped."
  The article includes a brief quote from Brenner on the idea:
  "Robert P. Brenner, a historian at the University of California, Los  Angeles, said although there was no satisfactory explanation at present  for why economic growth took off in Europe around 1800, he believed  that institutional explanations would provide the answer and that Dr.  Clark’s idea of genes for capitalist behavior was 'quite a speculative  leap.'”
  Sam Bowles, who should know better, is quoted repeatedly leaving open the possibility that Clark is on to something.
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