Made in AmericaIssue: May-June 2010
INNOVATION AND the founding of the United States were good for one another. The American Revolution and the subsequent creation of the Constitution were in part byproducts of the Scottish Enlightenment; they set the intellectual groundwork for economic achievement-then as radical an idea as a self-governing democracy. Interestingly, while the breakthroughs in political thought made by Montesquieu and Locke influenced the founders, to them the notion of growth was as yet inchoate. Prior to 1800, economic expansion was so negligible that it was hardly even imagined. From the fall of the Roman Empire to the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, annualized rates of growth are estimated to have been a mere 0.25 percent.