Roots of Progress

is creating a blog about the history of technology & industry

13

patrons

$83

per month
50,000 years ago, our ancestors lived at the mercy of nature. They had stone tools, and the use of fire—and not much else. They had no agriculture: they survived by hunting and foraging. They had no medicine. They had small boats to travel short distances on water, but on land they had to walk, and anything they took had to be carried. They had language, but no writing. Of course, they had no science. And they had only the tribe to protect them: no police, no courts, no law. In short, their lives were characterized by abject poverty, superstition born of ignorance, and constant tribal warfare.

We have come a very long way. We live in buildings, not caves. We are surrounded by mass-manufactured products made of steel, glass and plastic. We extract vast sums of energy buried in the ground and we make it do our bidding. We have all the food we could want—so abundant and delicious that we have to restrain ourselves from eating too much. We have antibiotics and laser surgery. We zip around the world at hundreds (and maybe soon thousands) of miles an hour. We can communicate with anyone, anywhere, anytime, instantly. And all of this is made possible by a vast and rapidly expanding scientific knowledge of the world. Further, we live in relative peace and freedom, made possible by governments that maintain law & order—and the institutions of democracy and republicanism that keep those governments in check. In short, compared to our prehistoric ancestors, we are smart, rich and free.

The Roots of Progress asks:

  • How did we get here? What were the steps of this amazing journey?
  • Why did it take so long? Why did so many people have to suffer and die for so long before we finally found the keys to progress?
  • How do we keep it going? And even speed it up? Conversely, what could threaten to slow, stop, or reverse it?

Your support helps me spend more time researching and writing.

Read more about why “progress studies” is a moral imperative and what I'm doing about it: https://rootsofprogress.org/progress-studies-a-moral-imperative
Tiers
Watt
$2 or more per month

You will make me smile and will count among my supporters.

Edison
$7 or more per month

I'll list you as a supporter on the site.

Lavoisier
$12 or more per month

I'll send you a Roots of Progress laptop sticker.

Darwin
$50 or more per month

You're showing your commitment. I'll send you a Roots of Progress t-shirt.

Newton
$120 or more per month

You're going above & beyond! You can join a monthly conference call where I discuss what I'm working on and answer questions.

Carnegie
$400 or more per month only 20 left

You're a serious supporter of progress. We can set up a monthly one-on-one call.

Rockefeller
$1,200 or more per month only 10 left

You're a true patron of human progress. I'll research a topic or read a book of your choice and write a custom article.

Medici
$5,000 or more per month only 4 left

You are a benefactor of all mankind. We will meet in person regularly to discuss strategy and execution.

50,000 years ago, our ancestors lived at the mercy of nature. They had stone tools, and the use of fire—and not much else. They had no agriculture: they survived by hunting and foraging. They had no medicine. They had small boats to travel short distances on water, but on land they had to walk, and anything they took had to be carried. They had language, but no writing. Of course, they had no science. And they had only the tribe to protect them: no police, no courts, no law. In short, their lives were characterized by abject poverty, superstition born of ignorance, and constant tribal warfare.

We have come a very long way. We live in buildings, not caves. We are surrounded by mass-manufactured products made of steel, glass and plastic. We extract vast sums of energy buried in the ground and we make it do our bidding. We have all the food we could want—so abundant and delicious that we have to restrain ourselves from eating too much. We have antibiotics and laser surgery. We zip around the world at hundreds (and maybe soon thousands) of miles an hour. We can communicate with anyone, anywhere, anytime, instantly. And all of this is made possible by a vast and rapidly expanding scientific knowledge of the world. Further, we live in relative peace and freedom, made possible by governments that maintain law & order—and the institutions of democracy and republicanism that keep those governments in check. In short, compared to our prehistoric ancestors, we are smart, rich and free.

The Roots of Progress asks:

  • How did we get here? What were the steps of this amazing journey?
  • Why did it take so long? Why did so many people have to suffer and die for so long before we finally found the keys to progress?
  • How do we keep it going? And even speed it up? Conversely, what could threaten to slow, stop, or reverse it?

Your support helps me spend more time researching and writing.

Read more about why “progress studies” is a moral imperative and what I'm doing about it: https://rootsofprogress.org/progress-studies-a-moral-imperative

Recent posts by Roots of Progress

Tiers
Watt
$2 or more per month

You will make me smile and will count among my supporters.

Edison
$7 or more per month

I'll list you as a supporter on the site.

Lavoisier
$12 or more per month

I'll send you a Roots of Progress laptop sticker.

Darwin
$50 or more per month

You're showing your commitment. I'll send you a Roots of Progress t-shirt.

Newton
$120 or more per month

You're going above & beyond! You can join a monthly conference call where I discuss what I'm working on and answer questions.

Carnegie
$400 or more per month only 20 left

You're a serious supporter of progress. We can set up a monthly one-on-one call.

Rockefeller
$1,200 or more per month only 10 left

You're a true patron of human progress. I'll research a topic or read a book of your choice and write a custom article.

Medici
$5,000 or more per month only 4 left

You are a benefactor of all mankind. We will meet in person regularly to discuss strategy and execution.