Modern history can be broken into several periods of technological revolutions that developed in different regions throughout the world, and which interestingly correspond to the regions of global power for the given time period. First, from about 1780 to 1840, the steam engine, the textiles industry and mechanical engineering were born in the United Kingdom. Then, from about 1840 to 1900, railways, electricity and the steel industry began in England, Germany and the United States. The third technology revolution, spanning from about 1900 to 1950, brought electrical engines, heavy chemicals, automobiles and mass production of consumer durables, and has been largely based in the United States. Finally, from about 1950 to present times, the Pacific Basin Japan, and the United States (especially California) have been the epicenter for the fourth technology revolution, involving synthetics, organic chemicals and computers.
We are now in a unique time as the world transitions into a fifth technology revolution based on nanotechnology and molecular manufacturing. The question is, which regions of the world will be the technology leaders, and consequently the global powers for the next half-century?
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