The British Industrial Revolution: An Economic Perspective, Second Edition

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Joel Mokyr
Westview Press, Dec 15, 2008 - Business & Economics - 256 pages
1 Review
The Industrial Revolution remains a defining moment in the economic history of the modern world. But what kind and how much of a revolution was it? And what kind of ?momentOCO could it have been? These are just some of the larger questions among the many that economic historians continue to debate. Addressing the various interpretations and assumptions that have been attached to the concept of the Industrial Revolution, Joel Mokyr and his four distinguished contributors present and defend their views on essential aspects of the Industrial Revolution. In this revised edition, all chapters?including MokyrOCOs extensive introductory survey and evaluation of research in this field?are updated to consider arguments and findings advanced since the volumeOCOs initial 1993 publication. Like its predecessor, the revised edition of "The British Industrial Revolution" is an essential book for economic historians and, indeed, for any historian of Great Britain in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries."

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This was the worst book I ever read. Mokyr and the other authors examine the causes of the industrial revolution. They argue amongst themselves, and with every other historian alive or dead. Nobody comes to any conclusion and I am 50 bucks poorer. This was less fun and useful than reading a spreadsheet of coin flip data.  



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Page 62 - What takes place among the labourers in a particular workhouse takes place, for the same reason, among those of a great society. The greater their number, the more they naturally divide themselves into different classes and subdivisions of employment. More heads are occupied in inventing the most proper machinery for executing the work of each, and it is, therefore, more likely to be invented.
Page 146 - It was not an accident that England took the lead in this matter; the circumstances of the day afforded most favourable conditions for the successful introduction of new Mechanical appliances.
Page 40 - ... him. His actions are the objects of the public care. Scarce a word, scarce a gesture, can fall from him that is altogether neglected.
Page 86 - A plentiful subsistence increases the bodily strength of the labourer, and the comfortable hope of bettering his condition, and of ending his days perhaps in ease and plenty, animates him to exert that strength to the utmost. Where wages are high, accordingly, we shall always find the workmen more active, diligent, and expeditious, than where they are low...
Page 40 - For to what purpose is all the toil and bustle of this world? what is the end of avarice and ambition, of the pursuit of wealth, of power, and pre-eminence ? Is it to supply the necessities of nature ? The wages of the meanest labourer can supply them.
Page 7 - THE essence of the Industrial Revolution is the substitution of competition for the mediaeval regulations which had previously controlled the production and distribution of wealth.
Page 40 - The rich man glories in his riches, because he feels that they naturally draw upon him the attention of the world...
Page 40 - It is this, which, notwithstanding the restraint it imposes, notwithstanding the loss of liberty with which it is attended, renders greatness the object of envy, and compensates, in the opinion of mankind, all that toil, all that anxiety, all those mortifications, which must be undergone in the pursuit of it; and what is of yet more consequence, all that leisure, all that ease, all that careless security, which are forfeited for ever by the acquisition.
Page 114 - There are today on the plains of India and China men and women, plague-ridden and hungry, living lives little better, to outward appearance, than those of the cattle that toil with them by day and share their places of sleep by night. Such Asiatic standards, and such unmechanized horrors, are the lot of those who increase their numbers without passing through an industrial revolution.
Page 4 - This change has been owing chiefly to the mechanical inventions which introduced the cotton trade into this country, and to the cultivation of the cotton tree in America. The wants which this trade created for the various materials requisite to forward its multiplied operations, caused an extraordinary demand for almost all the manufactures previously established, and, of course, for human labour.

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