Quotation of the Day…

by Don Boudreaux on August 29, 2013

in History, Myths and Fallacies, Seen and Unseen, War

… is from page 185 of Joel Mokyr’s 1990 book, The Lever of Riches: Technological Creativity and Economic Progress (citation omitted):

Of the most bellicose nations of the century before the Industrial Revolution – Charles XII’s Sweden, Louis XIV’s France, Frederick the Great’s Prussia – none saw many technological benefits of the expensive wars conducted by their sovereigns.  The Industrial Revolution itself was hindered rather than aided by the wars of the time….  Moreover, the net effect of war on technological change has to take into account the costs as well; there can be little doubt that the balance is negative.  I see no reason to revise the conclusion reached by [John U.] Nef in his classic work, which argued that it was peace, not war, that was the innovating force in manufacturing, and that war and military preparation did not add conspicuously to the material prosperity of Europe.

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