It is my opinion that looking back three centuries on the origins of modern industrial commerce, from my current perspective, with my experience consulting several thousand contemporary businesses, has given me insight.
I see the period before 1750 as 50,000 years that consisted of the classic Malthusian battle between increasing food output and increasing population. The British, by 1750, were influenced by the Enlightenment and Dutch attitudes toward science and worked aggressively to increase crop and animal food output.
Two things changed the course of history. The first was the Glorious Revolution, 1686, in which Holland successfully invaded England and created a modern financial infrastructure (a bond market and sound taxation systems) combined with a Protestant explosion of individualistic middle-class values.
The Dutch-British forces of the time had already created a global empire. The the people in that Empire… the outcasts, the innovators and the losers in that primogeniture family structures were shipped voluntarily to the outposts of the globe.
What we ended up with was a British-Dutch scattered society that continued to expand its agricultural output dramatically. These food producers were middle-class citizens scattered around the world trading with their home countries. The absence of hereditary control at the periphery of the Empire allowed these middle-class citizens to create extraordinary value added in agricultural output and most importantly these citizens on the periphery created global trade.
Global trade among ordinary citizens thence created the modern industrial commercial world.
Summary: rising agricultural output combined with a scattering population of middle-class Protestants who settled nonhierarchical innovative societies, created global trade networks. The sources of prosperity out-ran the Malthusian cycle and became the positive sum modern commercial world.
The Spanish and Portuguese empires did not generate modern commerce because they were Roman Catholic with strong hereditary hierarchies and were focused on extractive industries not trade.
The other 13 Phillips original ideas are here.