Looking back at your life, you may see patterns. For example, the cycle of seasons affects your life in many ways. In the long nights and cold days of winter, you choose different clothing and entertainment than in the long, hot days of summer. Another pattern relates to experience. You learn a new skill, and soon you find yourself moving on to more complicated skills. Children learn to walk, soon they run, and before long they can balance themselves on bicycles. Experience increases what we can do.
There are also patterns in economic history. Some are cyclical like the seasons. Others are cumulative, with one event building upon the last. New discoveries become the accepted basis for further research and innovation. This chapter examines some of these patterns.
In this chapter you will study these topics: