Yet another hypothesis for why the industrial revolution happened in Europe is that higher infectious disease levels elsewhere caused most cultures that might have produced technological development were more collectivist in order to reduce the spread of disease.
Collectivism may have inhibited scientific and technological innovation by discouraging trial-and-error learning and ideas which signal an absence of group loyalty.
collectivists make sharp distinctions between coalitional in-groups and out-groups, whereas among individualists the in-group/out-group distinction is typically weaker (Gelfand et al. 2004). A consequence is that collectivists are more wary of contact with foreigners
I suspect this effect is real but not strong enough to be the primary cause of the industrial revolution. It does, however, provide a good clue about why a relatively tropical region such as the Yangtze River Delta lagged behind more temperate England.