Heroic entrepeneurship after the Restoration

According to the Whig/Marxist version of history, the roots of the Industrial revolution were in the Glorious Revolution, which represented the rights of man and the rising political power of businessmen.

There are several problems with this story. One is that the rise of China decisively proves that the rights of corporations matter a whole lot more for economic development than the rights of man, and if you are looking for the origin of the rights of corporations, you are looking at the Restoration.

The other is that in practice, we are always ruled by priests and/or soldiers. The capitalist class is not the kind of entity that can rule. It is not really an entity, and capitalists, unlike soldiers and priests, find it hard to get together to form a single entity.

The modern world, technology, and industry, comes from science and technology. Technology comes not from scientists, but from Ayn Rand’s heroic engineer scientist entrepreneur, who organizes other people’s capital and other people’s labor to give effect to his value creating innovations. Ayn Rand’s heroic engineer chief executive officer has recently been exemplified by the heroes of Silicon Valley, though lately Silicon Valley seems to be switching, like the rest of the American economy, to crony capitalism, with engineers and scientists reduced to interchangeable insignificant menials, far away from where the important decisions are made, the important decisions being made on the revolving door between regulators and regulated.

So when did modernity start?

The most immediate effect of the Restoration on economic development was that King Charles the Second raised the status of science, setting off a status competition among gentlemen to be scientific. Science did not immediately produce practical results, except that Thomas Sydenham advanced the art of medicine, and made doctors somewhat less useless and dangerous, and Robert Hook advanced the art of making scientific instruments.

King Charles the Second also freed the joint stock corporation of inconvenient restraints, encouraging an environment where wealthy men, instead of managing their own investments, sponsored entrepreneurs.

Andrew Yarranton, before the Restoration of King Charles the second, was a capitalist on the older pattern. He personally invested his own money in equipment, employed people to make stuff, and sold it. During the civil war, politics dominated business, so he engaged in politics to acquire the property of Royalists, the equivalent of today’s revolving door between regulators and regulated. Upon the Restoration, these past misdeeds, legal at the time, but suddenly highly illegal, got him in hot water, but he was soon released from prison, and resumed entrepreneurship – but now on the Silicon Valley / Ayn Rand pattern

Where previously he produced iron the way it had always been produced with his own capital and his own employees, now he discovered new and innovative ways to create value, spread knowledge of these new ideas, new technologies, in order that other men, what would now call angel investors, would provide him with capital to give effect to his innovations.

Before the Restoration, big business was the equivalent of today’s revolving door between regulators and regulated, and that is where you found Andrew Yarranton. After the Restoration, you found him doing heroic innovative entrepreneurship, probably the first person in history to exemplify Ayn Rands’ hero engineer CEO.

John Dwight was a scientist CEO, another example of Ayn Rand’s heroic scientist entrepreneurs creating wealth through innovation. Before the Restoration, preachers ruled, religion was the important thing, religion and religious teachers had status and power, and John Dwight was busy with religion. After the Restoration, soldiers ruled over priests, religion lost status, science gained status, and he immediately switched to scientific entrepreneurship.

If we look at the great scientists that appeared shortly after the Restoration, they seem rather virtuous, other worldly, and out of contact with the everyday practical matters of life, love, politics, and people. The hero scientist entrepreneurs of the Restoration on the other hand, show a Bill Gates type eye for the main chance. Like today’s Silicon Valley hero engineer CEO Bill Gates, they had a tendency to head straight for opportunity, trampling over anyone in the way, savagely elbowing anyone else heading for the same opportunity, grabbing opportunity with both hands, not letting go, and kicking and biting anyone who tried to take opportunity away from them.

While Ayn Rand generally depicts her hero engineer CEOs as noble and good in every way, and her looters as completely evil, degenerate, destructive, and self destructive in every way, she also depicts some hero entrepreneurs who switch between looting and heroic value creation as the environment permits, which seems to be more typical of actual hero entrepreneurs.

After these two, we see a steady stream of hero entrepreneurs, but these two are the first, and they switched to heroic entrepreneurship from other activities shortly after the Restoration.

The wealth of the modern world comes from innovations in value creation. Innovations in value creation come from heroic scientist engineer CEOs, and this type appears immediately after the Restoration, and continues to the present day.

24 Responses to “Heroic entrepeneurship after the Restoration”

  1. spandrell says:

    You have to talk more about Prince Rupert.

    • jim says:

      Prince Rupert was a scientist, a pirate, a soldier, and, of course, a prince – has some resemblance to Ayn Rand’s Ragnar.

  2. Julie near Chicago says:

    James, I’m having trouble thinking of any of Miss R.’s hero-entrepreneurs who go back and forth between looting and creating. I suppose you could argue that Francisco did that, and also Ragnar D. Robert Stadler? But he wasn’t an entrepreneur. Perhaps I’m being thick, but anyway, whom do you have in mind?

    • jim says:

      I had in mind those two.

      • Julie near Chicago says:

        Hm. But you wrote,

        “…[A. R.] also depicts some hero entrepreneurs who switch between looting and heroic value creation as the environment permits, which seems to be more typical of actual hero entrepreneurs.”

        You also wrote,

        “The hero scientist entrepreneurs of the Restoration … show a Bill Gates type eye for the main chance. Like today’s Silicon Valley hero engineer CEO Bill Gates, they had a tendency to head straight for opportunity, *trampling over anyone in the way, savagely elbowing anyone else heading for the same opportunity,* grabbing opportunity with both hands, not letting go, and kicking and biting anyone who tried to take opportunity away from them.”

        Now I am not passionately fond of Mr. Gates, as it seems to me he’s been ethically challenged from the very start (assuming that the stories are true). And I am inclined to go along with your description.

        But the fictional Messrs. d’Anconia and Dannerskjöld were not of that type at all, and most especially they did not “trample over anyone in the way” or “savagely elbow anyone,” even if he was heading for the same opportunity. That fact was an essential component of the story.

        Francisco looted in the sense that he allowed the real looters to play their game without complaint, having stacked the deck against them; not with the end of “doing business” in mind, but rather with the objective of destroying an evil system in order to allow a healthy one to form.

        But as a businessman he was honest. Ragnar’s “looting” was honest, straightforward banditry. Neither of these men was anything like Gates & co.

  3. Alrenous says:

    So why did Charles make science high status?

    • jim says:

      I don’t know. If I had to make a wild assed guess, I would conjecture that he was worried about the power of theologians in the universities, and wanted to elevate the status of those who were not theologians. But perhaps I am anachronistically projecting modern neoreactionary thinking onto Charles.

    • Thales says:

      Personality. He elevated his own interests. Charles II himself was into science, even having his own laboratory. He was open, curious and tolerant — typical qualities of good engineers and scientists.

      • Alrenous says:

        Sounds like sheer luck then.

        Awfully coincidental for England to get so lucky. Not only the most solid industrial and economic foundations, but a sciency king immediately after the original Sophist rebellion?

        • jim says:

          I don’t think coincidental at all.

          The invisible college, predecessor of the Royal Society, was furtive, acted as if politically incorrect. The restoration, which restored official theocracy, overthrew officially unofficial theocracy, and this was massively celebrated in England with pagan festivals. The restoration restored the power of soldiers over priests. The slogan of the Royal society was explicitly rebellious – a rebellion against theocracy.

          (Of course today, the Royal society and Official Science is theocracy. Instead of taking no one’s word for it, we take the consensus of secret conclaves of peers held behind closed doors.)

          Soldiers and scientists both resent rule by priests, so as Spandrell seems to have implied, it is natural for the rebellion to be carried out by piratical soldier scientists such as Prince Rupert.

          (By which I mean real scientists, people who employ the scientific method, not people who are officially authorized to proclaim official science from on high.)

          • Alrenous says:

            You’ve pushed the coincidence back a bit, that’s good, but why did England in particular have an invisible college? (Sophist theory predicts this, but I am curious as to your explanation.)

        • peppermint says:

          Europe had lots of principalities, I’ve always been satisfied with out of that diversity England finding just the right traits, but if Jim wants to make it inevitable, I’m listening.

          Thereafter, the crypto-Jew Hanovers are able to ruin everything.

          • Alan J. Perrick says:

            “the crypto-Jew”

            Roman Catholic commenters like “Peppermint Papist” would like white Anglo-Saxons to focus on the Jew instead of their own subversion.

            With this alliance and by playing Good-Cop, Bad-Cop with the Jewish for so many years we have come to see the Roman Church becoming more Pharisaical, to the point where an astute observer might use the phrase, “The Pharisaical Roman Catholic Church.”

            A.J.P.

  4. Alan J. Perrick says:

    I love this history.

    A.J.P.

  5. peppermint says:

    well, that’s it then. Get rid of the usurpers and restore Francis of Bavaria, heir of Charles II Stewart. Then he can assign a royal governor to these anarchic provinces.

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