Hindsight is 20/20

If you could change one development in history, what would it be?

"Hindsight is 20/20." This common saying, while a comforting way to console someone who can not accept a past decision, is far from accurate. The problem with changing history - even just one little fact - is that the consequences of the supposedly superior option never occur. In an attempt to prevent one calamity, a change to history could simply cause another. I would never choose to alter history, but it is interesting to explore the possibilities that a change would have made. Instead of preventing the Holocaust, the colonization of Africa, or even slavery, I would choose to change something rather more mundane-the development of the textile industry.

Traditionally, an entire family worked together as a team to create cloth. Children would card wool by the bucket from an early age. The wool was given to the wife and other women of the household, who spun it into smooth thread on a spinning wheel. This thread was used by the husband to create the finished product-fabric-on the family loom. This system allowed families to earn a living working as a single unit. Without the concerted effort of each individual, success would have been impossible.

The introduction of textile factories certainly led to an increase in...

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