I have heard Dr Woods say that once people were freed to innovate, they did and we got the industrial revolution. This is proof free markets yield prosperity. My question is how, when and why did this happen? After centuries of oppression and feudal structure and people living in squalor, what triggered the freeing of people and markets?
This question should be posted to the forum on Western history since 1500.
In America, the Revolution left the economy essentially free. Far from deciding to free people, governments simply didn’t have mechanisms to regulate them.
Before the Revolution, people such as Thomas Jefferson had argued for a natural right to trade freely with all the world. Prior to Henry Clay’s House speech unveiling the “American System So-Called, but Anglican System in Fact” (as William B. Giles dubbed it), free trade was the American policy. Thereafter, a Hamiltonian impulse would wax and wane, finally triumphing in 1860 and after.
So if not for America would the liberalization of people and markes have happened later? Or was it already happening? In other words, is the U.S. responsible for freedom spreading throughout the world? It’s just crazy to think people lived in absolute poverty for all of history and then all of a sudden freedom and prosperity exploded. What triggered it?