Sunday, December 04, 2011

The English As Tweakers


From "The Rate and Direction of Invention in the British Industrial Revolution: Incentives and Institutions" by Ralf R. Meisenzahl and Joel Mokyr, August 2010:

A Swiss visitor, César de Saussure noticed in 1727 that “English workmen are everywhere renowned, and justly. They work to perfection, and though not inventive, are capable of improving and of finishing most admirably what the French and Germans have invented" (de Saussure, [c. 1727], 1902, p. 218, letter dated May 29, 1727). Josiah Tucker, a keen contemporary observer, pointed out in 1758 that “the Number of Workmen [in Britain] and their greater Experience excite the higher Emulation, and cause them to excel the Mechanics of other Countries in these Sorts of Manufactures” (Tucker, 1758, p. 26). The French political economist Jean-Baptiste Say noted in 1803 that “the enormous wealth of Britain is less owing to her own advances in scientific acquirements, high as she ranks in that department, as to the wonderful practical skills of her adventurers [entrepreneurs] in the useful application of knowledge and the superiority of her workmen” (Say [1803], 1821, Vol. 1, pp. 32–33). 

That's clear then ... only the Brits can fix the Euro.

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