Here on Economics Detective Radio, we've had many discussions about the early modern period, and the circumstances that gave rise to the modern levels of sustained economic growth that were heretofore unheard of in human history. One important question is, what was it about England and the Low Countries in the early modern period that made them the first to transition to modern-style economies? A related, and equally important question is why other times and places throughout history failed to produce an industrial revolution.
My guest today, George Tridimas, has done interesting work exploring the question of why the Greek golden age of 500-300 BCE didn't produce sustained economic growth. He gives a number of explanations, ranging from cultural and political factors to Greece's acute lack of the energy sources necessary to produce enough heat to smelt steel.