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Saturday, April 27, 2024

Mayans chose not to invent the wheel due to the long term effects they were able to foreshadow.


 After we visited the Mayan pyramids in Tulum Mexico my family member posed a good question: if they were the first civilization to invent the number 0, they had a stone wheel like object as a basketball hoop, were very accurate in their mayan calendar, why didn’t they invent the wheel? They were so close.

Well… my first initial instinct was that a civilization this intelligent willingly chose not to create something due to their visions of the long term outcome. Maybe they thought the wheel would cause a lot of long term suffering. I didn’t know exactly why though.

Then, in the midst of pondering this question, I came across a separate piece of information that connected the dots for me.

Before the wheel, a human being could only carry the weight one human could hold. For farming, construction, and transportation.

After the wheel, those that owned the carts, wheelbarrows, and horse carriages were able to carry the weight that it would take 10 humans could hold. (For example). *I have been informed that horses only came to the Americas with the Europeans, but even just the wheelbarrow gave the ability for a person to carry more weight than they originally could hold, hence giving an advantage to those that owned these wheelbarrows. 

The wheel lead to mass inequalities between those that owned the means of production and those that didn’t.

In the Mayan civilization the kings home was not much bigger than the citizen’s.

Maybe the Mayans saw the inequality this invention would inevitably lead to and the insane competitive advantage it would give to those that had the resources to afford these new inventions.

For the farmer that didn’t have a horse plow or a wheelbarrow, he only had two options:

Either compete on his own and get crushed by farmers who own the machines

Or

Borrow equipment, or work for a farmer that owns these means of production

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