Information Revolutions in the History of the West
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Information Revolutions in the History of the West

Leonard Dudley

With detailed case studies addressing the sources of innovation in information technology, along with a conceptual framework to explain their effects, this book will be of interest to students and teachers of Western economic and social history, as well as to the general reader with an interest in the social impact of innovation.
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Leonard Dudley


This book is based on a number of academic papers, some containing formal modeling of the information-revolution theory and others statistical tests of hypotheses generated by this approach. As noted below, several of these texts were written with co-authors. All may be consulted on the author’s web site, INFORMATION TECHNOLOGIES AS AGENTS OF REVOLUTION ‘Space, Time, Number: Harold Innis as Evolutionary Theorist’, Canadian Journal of Economics, 28 (1995), 754–769. This article offers solid grounds in evolutionary theory for Innis’s argument that economic progress is generated by an oscillation between technologies that conserve information over time and those which transmit it over distance. ‘Communications and Economic Growth’, European Economic Review, 43 (1999), 595–619. Economic growth in Europe over the past millennium is shown to have taken place in a series of waves generated by new technologies that reconfigured communication networks. THE CONTRACTUAL REVOLUTION ‘Standardized Latin and Medieval Economic Growth’, European Review of Economic History, 7 (2003), 213–238, with Ulrich Blum. Between 1000 and 1300, the diffusion of Medieval Latin was accompanied by a decentralization of urban growth and an increase in the production of human capital. 312 Epilogue 313 THE CONSENSUAL REVOLUTION ‘Religion and Economic Growth: Was Weber Right?’, Journal of Evolutionary Economics, 11 (2001), 207–230, with Ulrich Blum. The great economic leap forward of northern Europe during the earlymodern period is explained by the formation of networks of cooperating individuals in the Protestant regions. ‘Religion, Politics and Luck: Explaining the Rise...

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