Why Did the Industrial Revolution Occur in England?
Like most economists, I am a great admirer of Adam Smith and feel, again like most economists, that the application of his ideas had much to do with the efflorescence of British civilization in the 19th century. The industrial revolution, however, got its basic start, and indeed according to some historians was completely accomplished, before The Wealth of Nations had significant influence on government policy. The Savery steam engine was built in England in 1698, the Newcomen in 1721, and by 1763 Watt had created the modern steam engine. Hargreaves’ spinning jenny was invented in 1765 and Arkwright’s water frame in 1769. Crompton introduced his “mule” in 1774. The Wealth of Nations, of course, was published in 1776, but it is hard to argue that the introduction of the power loom by Cartwright, in 1785, was the result of policies based on Adam Smith’s work. In fact, Smith had little or no effect on English governmental policies before 1815.
KeywordsIndustrial Revolution Land Rent Jury Trial Monopoly Rent Special Privilege
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