The Singularity of Western Innovation

The Language Nexus

  • Leonard Dudley

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xix
  2. Leonard Dudley
    Pages 1-27
  3. The Linguistic RevolutionLinguistic Revolution

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 29-29
    2. Leonard Dudley
      Pages 31-57
    3. Leonard Dudley
      Pages 59-80
    4. Leonard Dudley
      Pages 81-97
    5. Leonard Dudley
      Pages 99-123
  4. The Industrial Revolution

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 125-125
    2. Leonard Dudley
      Pages 127-149
    3. Leonard Dudley
      Pages 151-165
    4. Leonard Dudley
      Pages 167-179
    5. Leonard Dudley
      Pages 181-192
  5. The (Second) Military RevolutionMilitary Revolution (Second)

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 193-193
    2. Leonard Dudley
      Pages 195-213
    3. Leonard Dudley
      Pages 215-228
    4. Leonard Dudley
      Pages 229-242
    5. Leonard Dudley
      Pages 243-263
    6. Leonard Dudley
      Pages 265-286
  6. Back Matter
    Pages 287-316

About this book


This book highlights the contribution of language standardization to the economic rise of the West between 1600 and 1860. Previous studies have been unable to explain why during this period almost all industrial innovation was confined to small areas around the main cultural centers of three Western states – Britain, France, and the United states.  This book argues that Western Europe and its offshoots were the only Eurasian societies able to apply typography cheaply to their writing systems.  The emergence in the West of large networks of people able to communicate in standardized languages made possible the breakthroughs of the Industrial Revolution. Military byproducts of three “macro-innovations”– the steam engine, machine tools, and interchangeable parts – then constituted the West’s toolbox for empire. The book will appeal to readers seeking to explain how the West attained its unprecedented advance over Asia in the nineteenth century, and why this lead has since proved temporary.


cooperation development economic history economics economy growth history innovation macroeconomics network networks social science sociology standardization

Authors and affiliations

  • Leonard Dudley
    • 1
  1. 1.MontrealCanada

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2017
  • Publisher Name Palgrave Macmillan, New York
  • eBook Packages Economics and Finance
  • Print ISBN 978-1-137-40317-9
  • Online ISBN 978-1-137-39822-2
  • Buy this book on publisher's site