The British Industrial Revolution in Global Perspective

The British Industrial Revolution in Global Perspective

by Robert C. Allen
Pub. Date:
Cambridge University Press
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The British Industrial Revolution in Global Perspective

Why did the Industrial Revolution take place in eighteenth-century Britain and not elsewhere in Europe or Asia? In this convincing new account Robert Allen argues that the British Industrial Revolution was a successful response to the global economy of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. He shows that in Britain wages were high and capital and energy cheap in comparison to other countries in Europe and Asia. As a result, the breakthrough technologies of the Industrial Revolution-the steam engine, the cotton mill, and the substitution of coal for wood in metal production-were uniquely profitable to invent and use in Britain. The high wage economy of pre-industrial Britain also fostered industrial development since more people could afford schooling and apprenticeships. It was only when British engineers made these new technologies more cost-effective during the nineteenth century that the Industrial Revolution would spread around the world.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780521868273
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Publication date: 04/27/2009
Series: New Approaches to Economic and Social History Series
Pages: 344
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.90(d)

Table of Contents

List of plates vi

List of figures vii

List of tables ix

Acknowledgments x

1 The Industrial Revolution and the pre-industrial economy 1

Part I The pre-industrial economy 23

2 The high-wage economy of pre-industrial Britain 25

3 The agricultural revolution 57

4 The cheap energy economy 80

5 Why England succeeded 106

Part II The Industrial Revolution 133

6 Why was the Industrial Revolution British? 135

7 The steam engine 156

8 Cotton 182

9 Coke smelting 217

10 Inventors, Enlightenment and human capital 238

11 From Industrial Revolution to modern economic growth 272

References 276

Index 313

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