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22

Religion would factor in heavily, Take the Amish for example their technological development came to a complete stop due to them choosing not to progress because of their faith. And look at how technology was stunted in times/areas where religion became more important then science. But even without religion culture can have a heavy influence on the ...


18

You don't need to explain it, because that's already happened in Europe not too long ago. While the european nations were running toward WW2, building the Stukas, the V2 and all similar feats, in the south of the continent there were regions still living in conditions similar to stone age: a single room carved in the rock, where parents and 10 kids lived ...


9

A modern example of very unequal technological development is the Amish people in North America. They belong to the religious order similar to Mennonites and disdain modern technology, choosing to live without electricity or engines. This culture, which numbers about 342,000 people distributed across the US and Canada, with the largest group of almost 80,000 ...


7

The world today (and 200 years ago, and 2000 years ago) had extremely un-equal progress between various nations/tribes and continents. The excellent book "Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies" by Diamond is basically an exploration of how inequality developed due to the worldbuilding setting of the real Planet Earth. To hyper-summarize, ...


5

There's some sort of magic at work. This isn't tagged science-based or anything like it, so blaming unequal tech development on magic is within the scope of the question. As for how it does so, there's a number of possibilities. Perhaps some of the societies might utilize magic to replace or augment technology, like the Iron Kingdoms of the tabletop ...


3

Trade secrets. The advanced nation has laws against sharing advanced technology, and its inhabitants are generally convinced that all the other nations are inhabited by lazy, stupid people who couldn't possibly build steam engines. If the advanced nation has some kind of feudal guild system, having the guilds keep trade secrets is a fairly natural scenario. ...


3

Environment The environment in the developed nations have historically been hostile, while the less developed nations have had preferable climate and land. The hostile environment have pushed for technological advances in order to mitigate the dangers of the environment, as well as being needed for comfortable living. If there have been little fertile land ...


3

The Prime Directive Perhaps The Empire has something akin to Star Trek's Prime Directive, and prohibits one nation from interfering with the development of others. Something like this would almost have to be enforced, because otherwise those high tech nations would be spreading out in search of resources, trade opportunities, or simply out of curiosity, ...


3

A couple ideas. When powerful nations join unions like that they do so for their own benefit and will generally include clauses that are meant to keep their advantages. So perhaps the the price of joining this union for the less advanced nations was that they would not progress enough to challenge the advanced nations. Not quite sure what setting this ...


2

I'm going to throw out two wild ideas. They may not fit your world. Localized tech boom. One or more of your nations could have come in contact with something that allowed their technology to advance rapidly. This could be an alien civilization, ancient technological writings from a previous civilization, etc. This allowed rapid advancement some nations....


2

Lack of conflict For whatever reason, the advanced 2040 group doesn't feel the need to take anything from the 17-1800s groups. Not their land, not their resources, not their people. The more primitive groups don't feel the need to catch up (readily available resources make it unnecessary, no conflict means no need for better weapons/defenses). Why? ...


2

Commerce In fact, a nation sitting in commerce routes are know to have unequaled level of civilization development. With great commerce then is possible do private (and public) mecenas to finance artistic and technological innovations. To make the nation somewhat isolated, natural barriers or small territories "nation city" will do. In your case, a ...


1

Most artificial barriers to progress are overcome sooner or later. State secrets leak, trade secrets are sold, new technologies are interesting. The primary channel of exchange between nations has always been trade. This is how Marco Polo went to China. That is how Arab nations knew of northern European tribes in the 10th century. What stops trade are ...


1

It is natural for the world to have continents with different levels of technology, for continents to have countries with different levels of technology, and for countries to have regions with different levels of technology, and for regions to have sub regions with different levels of technology. the world has been that way for thousands of years. At the ...


1

Sufficiently Advanced The Technological society spent a very long time being insular before striding onto the world scene. They've had industrial revolutions, digital revolutions and are now well into the nano-tech scale technologies we have today and more! They are simply so far ahead that other societies have no chance whatsoever of catching up. If you ...


1

The currency is actually the favor or attention of a magical entity. It can only remember or focus on so many things at once so there is a hard limit on the amount. The entity is from another plane of existence much different than ours and creating or finding more is impossible, it has been tried for eons with no success.


1

The Currency is Time Either literally or figuratively, the currency is time itself. Figuratively In this situation, the mages are exchanging favors. Basically, each unit of currency as an IOU, stating that it would be worth 1 hour of work at a later point in time. This IOU could be traded to others, who could come in to redeem it. The value of the ...


1

Modern currency appears to be quite magical themselfs. Everyone accepts it and gives you basicly anything for enought of it. It hasn't been this way and it might change in the future. In theorie money is either a representative of e.g. gold or the promise of future work. This of course only work if enought people belive in the currency or the entity that ...


1

Inflation How this currency cap is enforced is going to be a problem, though I suspect rigorous use of guidelines and trace magic would be helpful. But the reason to keep the production of magical money at a flat rate of zero and prevent any from being introduced is a very simple one - inflation. Allowing anyone to print fiat currency is a one-way trip to ...


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