The New Wealth of Nations
In the 1700s, a British citizen could not legally emigrate if he knew how to design and build textile machinery.In the 1700s, a British citizen could not legally emigrate if he knew how to design and build textile machinery. An ambitious 21-year-old named Samuel Slater, having just finished his apprenticeship in the textile industry, called himself a farm worker and went to Americawhere it suddenly turned out he remembered all hed been taught. Slaters water-powered mill, built in Rhode Island in 1793, earned him the title "Father of the American Industrial Revolution." Imagine that. If only British authorities had been able to read his mind or at least keep better track of employment histories.
I felt as if 18th-century paranoia had met its match in 21st-century IT when I encountered, in the course of an unrelated Web search, the U.S. State Departments Technology Alert List. The TAL is a sprightly compendium of adjectives and nouns that are supposed to trigger extra attention to requests for entry into this country for purposes that might suggest a risk of illicit technology transfer.