How the Industrial Revolution Created a Multimillion Dollar Industry for Rope

  • Whenever a new technological innovation is introduced to the marketplace, we don’t think of the thousands of ancillary industries that are affected. Case in point: In the industrial revolution, the mass production of products led to an explosion in shipping. And in order for anything to be shipped, it had to be tied down with rope. Thus, you suddenly had tiny desert villages in Mexico become booming haciendas for producing sisal, the plant used for making rope. As TED conference creator Richard Saul Wurman explains in this video, these haciendas became the home for the highest number of millionaires in the world. Eventually, the sisal demand dropped to almost nothing, leaving the haciendas in penury. Later, they became hotels. So the next time you’re staying in a beautiful hacienda in Mexico, think about the fact that the only reason you’re there is because of the industrial revolution and a fleeting demand for rope.