History of the world in 3 sentences – will history repeat for start ups?

According to an article I was reading in an HBR blog, Western Europe came to dominate the world over the long time period from 950AD to 1850AD for 3 reasons.

  1. They stopped Elites from expropriating property (ie they stopped rich vested interests from being able to steal anything anyone else created).
  2. They made contracts enforceable.
  3. The created a mindset of independent thinking, secularism, and saving money.

Those crazy Europeans and their world dominating ways.

But I started to wonder if history would repeat itself, but faster.   And I wondered if we could see this coming.

Probably not, according to Georg Hegel:

“We learn from history that we do not learn from history”

But I still wondered if a modern version of the same 3 factors might predict which areas or groups might see the rise of highly competitive new organisations (lets call them lean startups) and which might see potential new organisations fall behind.

I know we are global now, but I think that the following might be a good checklist.  Lean startups will boom where:

  1. Large companies and vested interests cannot appropriate property and ideas.  Ie they cannot just use patent law or legal game-playing to crush small and innovative competitors.
  2. Small companies can enforce their rights without appalling bureaucracy or legal costs.
  3. The startup can create and exist in an environment that encourages a mindset of independent thinking, secularism, and saving money.

What do you think  – Will history repeat?  If so – can we learn from it?

If not, what factors will create the rise (or constrain the rise) of new organisations?  Is it country specific, city specific or just world-wide?

My vote is it will be somewhat similar and that only a few areas will accidentally learn.

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