Nick Szabo is a legal scholar and cryptographer, and although he has categorically denied it, some believe him to be Satoshi Nakamoto, the creator of Bitcoin. Nick is the author of bitgold, which was the most complete conceptualization of a decentralized currency prior to Bitcoin. In…
Aston University’s Centre for Forensic Linguistics claimed that a forensic analysis of Bitcoins‘ White Paper suggests that Nick was the author. Nick broke radio silence on July 5th by posting a simple, one-line blog post containing a link to his twitter account. On October 16th, Nick posted again, and this time he had a bit more to say.
The title is “Transportation, divergence, and the industrial revolution” and the post is on the progression of the industrial revolution from 1000 AD up until around 1870 BC.
In this well written and somewhat technical piece, Nick explains how the European switch from using oxen for farming to horses in 1000 AD set us on the path towards the industrial revolution. While China had enjoyed leading the charge in the division of labor and technology, this changed when Europe transitioned to stationary pastoralis.
Using Metcalfe’s Law, Nick presents a model for how these changes are measurable – you’ll need to read his post if you want the technical bits. He goes on to explain that the industrial revolution was highly dependent on bulk goods and the ability to transport them cheaply. In fact, without bulk goods the revolution would never have happened.
Europe moved from transportation by land to a mix of land and water. Rather than being substitute goods, land a sea-borne transportation were complementary in nature and hastened the revolution. The longest distance of travel for goods was done on water while the “last leg” of the trip was moved by horses.
He talks about how Japan and other countries have progressed in a“leap-frog” manner, skipping over steps in the first stage of the revolution. This is due to the nature of the evolution. While the first phase began with horses and was dependent on land and agriculture, the second phase is technological. We can see this as countries like Germany, Japan and the US became leaders in the internal combustion engine. This is why some nations have skipped setting up phone lines and moved straight to cell phones – they are leap-frogging ahead.
Countries who are the first risk being weighed down with the infrastructure they build. After WWII Japan was left in ruins and had to rebuilt from the ground up. The advantage of this was that there was no infrastructure that had to be transitioned into the new. Transitioning can hold back nations. The US took a long time to switch over from analog to digital TV. It’s why the switch from gas cars to electric is so difficult. It would require transforming or doing away with the current systems we have in place. This is why countries that are growing now could outpace the US and other nations that are slowed by irrational adherence to older technologies. Read his blog post here.
What are your thoughts on Nick’s latest blog post? Comment below!
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Last modified: January 3, 2020 3:18 PM UTC