Thursday, 11 July 2013

Was the Black Death a necessary cause of England's genius?


Why were the English the dominant nation of creative geniuses from Elizabethan times and for about 300 years?

Well, maybe they weren't but probably they were - and if so the cause may lie back in the Great Plague/ Black Death of 1348 onward

See figure 9 and Table 18

TABLE 18: English population, 1250-1700

Levels of population (millions) Year up to Black Death  Total population Year continued... Total population
1250 4.23 1400 2.08
1290 4.75 1450 1.90
1300 4.73 1490 2.14
1315 4.69 1560 3.02
1348 4.81 1600 4.11
1351 2.60 1650 5.31
1377 2.50 1700 5.20

Figure 19 shows that economic growth did not exceed medieval levels until after 1600, and the above table provides a possible explanation that the English population did not recover from the cull of the Black Death until about the same time - after 1600.

The idea is that the English population - which had already been selected for high intelligence in the early medieval period prior to 1348, was then subject to a fifty percent cull, differentially of those with lower intelligence (since the poor on average died at a greater rate than the rich), after which England had about half the population with a higher intelligence (and double the average per capita standard of living) - the English population then re-grew from this higher intelligence base and when it reached the previous size (after about seven or eight generations with lower child and young adult mortality rates) the creative explosion of the Elizabethan age foreshadowed many further generations of discovery and invention which included the start of the Industrial Revolution. 

So the Black Death provided a (delayed) kick start for intelligence, and that drove creative genius.


Was this distinctive to England?