1300 73m, 1350 51m, 1400 45m, 1450 60m, 1500 69m and 1550 78m. What you just read were the populations of Western Europe at these years from Bennett, MK The World's Food (1954) p5. It took 250 years for the population increase to resume after famines, pest and wars.
Douglass North wrote 1973 that property rights in Europe in general and in England in particular was a determining factor for the development of the Industrial Revolution after 1700. He also claims that the reason for why free men got property, real as well as immaterial, was the the negotiation position of serfs improved as the malicious 250 years went on. Labor was scarce and land less so. For some reason this only happened initially in England and Holland.
Niall Ferguson, who excels in comparative history, does a comparison between the development of property rights in North and South America in his recent book Civilization: The West and the Rest. Thus he creates an argument for the importance of such rights that were coupled with representation as one of his six arguments for the rise of the Western Civilization. He also makes the point that this was a British import since they worked also in Canada, New Zeeland and Australia. Hong Kong did better than Manila.
The comparison between North and South America is interesting in one additional respect that Indians remain in South America to a much higher extent than they do in the North which raises the question about the ethical problem of having replaced the North American Indian culture with ours. They were put to work for the conquistadors whereas they went to their own reservations in the North. It is a very difficult question because it is not really possible to say that we should not exist because we were bad to the Indians.
I have realized that some people have problems with defending their own civilization today because of this. However, it was of course a different situation then and people thought in different ways. We are supposed to be enlightened today but similar effects can be seen recently when a lot of people cheer Anglo-America on as they enter Iraq to attack them for this a few years down the line.
Science, another of Ferguson's factors, helped us understand that racial differences does not matter that much after a horrible malconclusion of pseudo-scientific results that led to such a monstrosity like the Holocaust. Is it possible then to discuss cultural differences, with comparable history for example, or do you get a racist epithet by doing this? Realizing that many people would not agree, I think you can. It is important for developing cultures that work well and that lead to humane and efficient societies. But then again, you have to say that our culture is preferable to that of the North American Indians. More humane?
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