At least it's new
Question seen on Quora this morning:
The question that has bothered me the most over the years is this: Why did the West develop advanced science and technology from the sixteenth century on, while other civilizations did not. Capitalism arose in the West, but why not elsewhere?
Unlike 99% of the crap on Quora, this is a real question with only a few fake assumptions included. The real question has bothered a lot of people for a long time, and there aren't any easy answers.
Thinking in terms of innate long phases and cycles
leads to a new guess, which isn't any better than the other answers, but at least is new.
China and Persia and Greece/Rome and Maya/Aztec all achieved high tech and complex capitalism at different times. Lots of excellent engineering and manufacturing and global trade. Controlled nature with dams and canals and sewers.
The usual answers focus on invaders and weakness.
Negative feedback at the epigenetic level. Those tribes simply realized en masse that high tech wasn't survivable
, and gradually returned to high culture.
EXPERIENCE SURVIVES. THEORY KILLS.