Progress Studies is the study of the causes of civilizational progress, e.g., the combination of economic, technological, scientific, and cultural advancements that have transformed human life and raised standards of living over the past couple of centuries.
The bicycle, as we know it today, was not invented until the late 1800s. Yet it was a simple mechanical invention. It would seem to require no brilliant inventive insight, and certainly no scientific background.
Why, then, wasn’t it invented much earlier? – Why did we wait so long for the bicycle?
Origin of the Name
Progress Studies was proposed as an academic field by Tyler Cowen and Patrick Collison  after they noticed that there’s no intellectual movement focused on understanding the dynamics of progress, or on trying to speed it up.
Roots of Progress is a blog by jasoncrawford that explores the history of technology and industry alongside the philosophical questions of human progress. Many of the blogs posts are crossposted to LessWrong.