Been re-reading the Dungeonomicon. Here's one of my favorite passages:
It is historical fact that you can take a ridiculous and crumbling imperium with serfs and horse-drawn carts managed by a tyrannical and squabbling aristocracy and boot strap it into being a technologically sophisticated global power that can win the space race and such in a single generation even while being invaded by an evil and genocidal empire. The people at the top don't even need to be nice or sane, they just have to understand that economics is an entirely voodoo science, and the limits of production can be broken by thousands of percentage points by getting everyone to buy on credit, work on projects that people looking at the big picture tell them to work on, continuously invest in productive capital, and believe in the future.
Right. That's called Communism, and it ends the dark ages immediately even if it isn't run well.
I love this stuff!