The evolution of economies and culture hinge on the accumulation of physically embodied information. Products such as cars, refrigerators and toothpaste, as well as works of art, such as painting and books, and scientific discoveries, all are preserved in the world as physically embodied information. In this presentation I explore the development of economies and culture, and its relation to the ability of our species to physically embody information, by looking at 6000 years of cultural production data and 50 years of international trade data. I will show that cultural production is tightly connected to the broadcasting technologies available to our species--validating the theories of Marshall McLuhan and Elizabeth Eisenstein--and to the network of global languages. I will also show that economic development is highly path dependent and deeply constrained by our ability to embody information into objects and knowledge in networks of people.