If you're a historical wheel enthusiast, this is another good read: http://www.lowtechmagazine.com/2011/12/the-chinese-wheelbarr...
Essentially, traditional Chinese wheelbarrows were so efficient that they resulted in massive deterioration of Chinese road infrastructure.
A fantastic article - the economic advantage of camels just killed off a fundamental invention. fascinating and may I say on a front page full of Spectre doom, just spot on for "gratifying intellectual curiosity".
An account of historical causes and effects is hard. We should not attribute the lack of roads to the lack of wheels, the author writes. Wheels and roads develop "in parallel." Yet he comes back to the "inefficient harness" as the cause of the wheel dying off. If indeed there was competition between "horse + harness + wheel" and "camel," why wouldn't a culture produce "camel + harness + wheel?" I am unconvinced by the reasoning here.
I am a bit surprised that the article does not discuss (if only to dismiss) the notion that camels were better adapted than oxen to the environment of the middle east.
Older thread: item?id=9123869
"Worldwide, however, the population of camels is rapidly declining." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Australian_feral_camel The exact population of Australian feral camels is not known. In 2008 the number of feral camels was estimated to be more than one million, with the capability of doubling in number every 8 to 10 years. In 2013, this estimate was revised to a population of 600,000 prior to culling operations, and around 300,000 camels after culling, and increasing 10% per year.
It doesn't appear to mention how terrible dragging an ordinary wheel through soft sand is, which surely had to be one of the major factors. Also the lack of wood on desert routes for easy repair; and the fast deterioration of wood in desert climates.
The only consideration of wood is how little is needed for a camel saddle.
Increased or moved desertification making routes unsuitable with wooden wheels seems like it might easily surpass sociopolitical factors.
I was pondering the other day how robotic 'camels' are now possible as a transport option, I'm sure the military have been exploring this. Camels have an advantage in rough terrain over wheels... Separately, robotic camel jockeys https://youtu.be/HUsibMZlyXg
The article contains a howler: it's Pre-ColUmbian, not pre-ColOmbian. This article has nothing to do with the pre-ColOmbian short-lived Republic of Nueva Granada.