Some of the ideas in the 10,000 Year Explosion have got me wondering whether the spread of the Ashkenazi culture played an important role in starting the industrial revolution.
The Ashkenazi developed a unique culture that was isolated for many centuries from the mainstream. Then around 1800, western Europe allowed Jews to interact much more with the rest of society (The 10,000 Year Explosion suggests that it started in 1791 in France).
At about the same time, the same region experienced a sudden shift in values that increased the status of merchants, which is what you’d expect if Ashkenazi culture that had previously been shunned became partially accepted. Those values may have contributed significantly to the industrial revolution.
The 10,000 Year Explosion explains why the Ashkenazi had some unique values that were somewhat unlikely to have been duplicated elsewhere, which would help explain why the industrial revolution didn’t start somewhere other than northern Europe.
This isn’t a complete explanation of the industrial revolution – for one thing, it doesn’t explain why England developed faster than France.
A completely unrelated idea of how agricultural diversity helped British farming productivity around the same time: Agricultural biodiversity crucial to the agricultural “revolution”.