"Europe, on the other hand was a collection of small and competing states with multiple cultures and languages and this unsuspectingly served as an advantage to its inventors and explorers; if one party failed to sponsor them, they could always turn to another. Either way, it was in a country's best interests to keep up with the latest technologies in order to keep the balance of power. As a result inventors were encouraged rather than discouraged.
'In the end it was precisely the instability which Europeans had been trying unsuccessfully to evade for so long which had turned out to be their greatest strength. Their wars, their incessant internal struggles, their religious quarrels, all these had been the unfortunate, but necessary condition, of the intellectual growth which had led them, unlike their Asiatic neighbours, to develop the metaphysical and inquiring attitudes towards nature which, in turn, had given them the power to transform and control the worlds in which they lived'" (Worlds at War, by Anthony Pagden)
---A short history of the world, by christopher Lascelles