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I therefore call on the whole population in allMember States, in particular intellectuals, political,religious and community leaders, educators, artistsand young people, to mark the Day with acts of med-itation, awareness-raising and exchange about thetragedy of slavery that we cannot forget, and that wecan never again tolerate.Source: Message of the director-general of UNESCO. (August 23, 2004). RetrievedSeptember 8, 2004, from &URL_DO=DO_TOPIC&URL_SECTION=201.html
causes of the modern revolution or, indeed, on the gen-eral causes of innovation in human history. However,widespread agreement exists on some of the more impor-tant contributing factors.Accumulated Changes of the Agrarian EraFirst, the modern revolution clearly built on the accumu-lated changes of the agrarian era. Slow growth duringseveral millennia had led to incremental technologicalimprovements in agriculture and water management, inwarfare, in mining, in metalwork, and in transportationand communications. Improvements in transportationand communications—such as the development of moremaneuverable ships or the ability to print with movabletype—were particularly important because they increasedthe scale of exchanges and ensured that new technolo-gies, goods, and ideas circulated more freely. Methods oforganizing large numbers of humans for warfare or taxcollection also improved during the agrarian era. In waysthat are not yet entirely clear, these slow technologicaland organizational changes, together with a steady ex-pansion in the size and scale of global markets, createdthe springboard for the much faster changes of the mod-ern era. During the final centuries of the agrarian era thepace of change was already increasing. InternationalGDP grew almost sixfold between 1000 and 1820,whereas hardly any growth had occurred at all during theprevious millennium.Rise of Commercial SocietiesSecond, most historians would agree that the modernrevolution is connected with the rise of more commercialsocieties. From the Scottish economist Adam Smithonward economists have argued that a close link existsbetween innovation and commercial activity. Smithargued that large markets allow increased specializa-tion, which encourages more precise and productivelabor. Equally important, entrepreneurs buying and sell-ing in competitive markets faced competition of a kindthat landlords and governments of the agrarian era couldusually avoid.To survive, entrepreneurs had to undercuttheir rivals by selling and producing goods at lowerprices. To do that meant trading and producing withmaximum efficiency, which usually meant finding andintroducing the most up-to-date technology.As commer-cial exchanges spread, so did the number of wage work-ers: people who took their own labor to market. Becausethey competed with others to find work, wage workersalso had to worry about the cheapness and productivityof their labor.