By Colin Read (auth.)
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Additional resources for The Rise and Fall of an Economic Empire: With Lessons for Aspiring Economies
In 1453, it sacrificed dominance in its Eastern frontiers with the fall of Constantinople at the hands of the Ottomans. The Age of Discovery An Age of Discovery and Exploration overlapped the end of the Roman Empire and predated the First Industrial Revolution. This era arose because improvements in navigation, map making, and ship building allowed the Portuguese and Spanish empires to reach around the world. From the fourteenth to the seventeenth century, these explorers “discovered” the Americas and established trade routes to Asia and Africa.
Those that supply the various component parts used by the assembly line may offer quantity discounts because larger orders to satisfy the assembly line may allow the suppliers too to optimize their production rates. Balanced against these economies of scale are diseconomies that actually increase costs with production increased beyond a point. We already noted the diseconomies of scale that result if the assembly line moves too rapidly. In addition, beyond a certain point, suppliers may require even greater prices for the raw materials as their factors of production become scarce due to increased demand.
It would be difficult to convince a sufficient number of skilled weavers to set up shop in one central location, perhaps tens or hundreds of miles from his or her village. Even if such a cooperative could be formed to collectively tap the power of the waterwheel, they would likely prefer to operate with some autonomy rather than as an entity making a single product line in large scale. Guildsmen were unaccustomed to the subjugation of their autonomy to a larger entity. They would rather forgo the economies of scale created by this new organizational structure if they could retain their economic autonomy.