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Thread: How 2000 year-old roads predict modern-day prosperity

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    How 2000 year-old roads predict modern-day prosperity

    How 2000 year-old roads predict modern-day prosperity

    Although some question the causality of this study, I tend to agree with its findings. The research team took a map of the Roman road system and put it over satellite imagery of nighttime illumination in 2010.

    The image below shows the resultant map. Ancient Roman roadways are in light yellow, while the boundaries of the Roman Empire as of 117 A.D. are outlined in red. The background layer shows modern nighttime illumination.
    (Washington Post illustration using data from NOAA Earth Observatory, Natural Earth and Digital Atlas of Roman and Medieval Civilization)

    The visual relationship is particularly striking in France. There, you can clearly see the paths of ancient roadways connecting not just major modern cities, like Paris and Lyon, but also many minor ones, too. Across inland France, nearly every junction of ancient roads is marked by a splash of light in the modern era.
    From the beginning of the article:

    Prosperity begets prosperity: On a global level, economists and historians have shown that places that prospered 100, 500, even 1,000 years ago tend to be more economically developed today.

    But how? We’re less clear on the exact channels by which economic activity sustains itself over the millennia. Could dynastic wealth play a role? How about the concentration and transmission of knowledge via institutions such as schools and libraries? How does military might factor in?


    Now, a team of Danish economists has put forth a forceful case for one largely overlooked driver of economic development in Europe: roadways built by the Roman empire nearly two thousand years ago. They demonstrate that the density of ancient Roman roads at a given point in Europe strongly correlates with present-day prosperity, as measured by modern-day road density, population density and even satellite imagery of nighttime lighting.


    Their data shows that infrastructure investments are — if you’ll pardon an unpardonable pun — a pathway to long-term prosperity.


    To arrive at this conclusion, Carl-Johan Dalgaard of the University of Copenhagen and his colleagues first obtained a geographic database of the major roads of the Roman era that had been compiled by Harvard University’s Digital Atlas of Roman and Medieval Civilizations.


    Roman roadways were massive infrastructure projects even by modern standards. They consisted of several base layers, including stone, gravel and sand, over which large stone slabs were laid. At the empire’s peak in 117 A.D., scholars estimate, the Romans had built more than 80,000 kilometers of roadway across Europe, the Middle East and North Africa. Many of them have lasted well into the present day.
    Read the rest at the link.
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    I dont think most people realize the impact Rome still has on the modern world. In a sense it never really went away. The achievements of the Romans in all fields were amazing. Had the invasions of the 400's not happened we might be 1000 years ahead of where we are now technologically
    "Don't piss down my back and tell me it's raining"----Fletcher in The Outlaw Josey Wales

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    Rome was certainly an amazing empire.
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    I don't think the correlation is quite so meaningful. After all, the heart of the ancient empire consists of the least developed regions of modern Europe. Moreover, Germany possessed no such infrastructure in ancient times outside the southwest. That's not to diminish the impact of Roman civilization on the West. I just think there is a lot more going on here.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mister D View Post
    I don't think the correlation is quite so meaningful. After all, the heart of the ancient empire consists of the least developed regions of modern Europe. Moreover, Germany possessed no such infrastructure in ancient times outside the southwest. That's not to diminish the impact of Roman civilization on the West. I just think there is a lot more going on here.
    Good point about Germany.
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    Who made the trails that eventually became roads in the US?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr.Soxes View Post
    Who made the trails that eventually became roads in the US?
    Europeans settlers from regions the Romans colonized.
    Whoever criticizes capitalism, while approving immigration, whose working class is its first victim, had better shut up. Whoever criticizes immigration, while remaining silent about capitalism, should do the same.


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    Those roads are as old as the towns they link. What's the big deal?
    None are so blind as who will not see. -- Jeremiah 5:21

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