Let us try a different tack. Instead of looking for a general explanation for economic and social change, what we could do is to study the issue as a historian would. An economic historian for example-at least an economic historian of the traditional mould-would pay scant attention to abstract theories and instead try to explain actual cases of development. Moreover, he or she would typically have few hang-ups about taking non-economic factors into consideration.1 As an economic historian might conclude, growth does not only depend on the availability and quality of the factors of production but also, for example, on factors like geographic location, on cultural norms or religious beliefs, the absence or presence of natural or epidemiological disasters, a country’s luck on the battlefield, and so on.