*The Enlightened Economy*

by on January 31, 2010 at 6:41 am in Books, Economics, History | Permalink

The subtitle is An Economic History of Britain, 1700-1850 and the author is Joel Mokyr.  This is now the most comprehensive and indeed the currently definitive history of the British Industrial Revolution.  Here is a short excerpt:

Despite the protestations of some scholars who call it "a misnomer," the idea of the Industrial Revolution will remain an essential concept in the economic history of Britain and the world.  It was, in a narrow sense, neither exclusively industrial nor much of a revolution.  But it remains in many ways the opening act of the still-developing drama of modern economic growth coupled to far-reaching change in society.

The main thesis (apart from the comprehensive coverage) is that ideas were of the central importance for the British take-off.  Here is the book's website.  Here is a blog review.  I would not describe the book as "fun" but it is clearly written and does not require the knowledge of a specialist.

There is another new book on the Industrial Revolution, namely Robert C. Allen's The British Industrial Revolution in Global Perspective.  It's all about how the British had high wages and cheap energy, a kind of Heckscher-Ohlin approach to why we're not eating mud cakes.  It's good enough on its own terms, but it's a) question-begging in parts, and b) startling what a small role ideas play in the basic story.  Indirectly, this book is proof that Mokyr's contribution is an important one.

Daniel Klein January 31, 2010 at 8:15 am

Please say a little about what ideas were important.

Michael G. Heller January 31, 2010 at 4:46 pm

In previous books Mokyr has tended to be talking about intellectual ideas that underlay the industrial knowledge revolution in hard technologies like chemistry and manufacturing rather than soft technologies like institutions or political ideas. Even so the broader ideological-epistemological enlightenment context was always clearly within the viewfinder. I’m looking forward to reading this one when it comes out in paperback. Thanks for the review.

Heard Robert Allen speaking about his book, which (I may be wrong) seemed to be contra-Clark. It sounded interesting but I also noticed a deliberate lack of attention to what he called “background factors” like ideas and institutions. More about prices.

Christian louboutin pumps April 28, 2010 at 5:31 am

I love Christian Louboutin!I bought 2 pairs of shoes at the http://www.christianlouboutinhighheels.com.
Christian louboutin pumps feel so much more comfortable and are so much sexier than I would know. The salespeople of christian louboutin pumps on sale are very friendly. I live in CA but call to order often and Scott always helps me pick out the most perfect shoes. They do special orders of shoes from past seasons for a 30% upcharge as long as they still have the materials and free shipping!. These are adorable shoes.I get compliments every time I wear christian louboutin pumps uk. They fit well and are quite comfortable; I walked around downtown DC today at lunchtime w/no problems. Christian louboutin pumps sale is good on the website.I hope that I can share my happiness and good things with you!

skinnymaggie July 5, 2010 at 11:48 pm

Tiffany not only explored the various jewelry processes of the time, but also branched out into new metals, such as platinum, which at the time was considered very hard to manipulate.Silver TiffanyIt seems to be the case that unusual colorations appealed to Tiffany, like the opal.He also preferred gemstones that were either opaque or translucent. Tiffany JewelryTurquoise, jade, carnelian, lapis, moonstones, and opals were all chosen for their ability to filter light. Emphasis based on color was very prevalent in his works.Tiffany Bracelets

wholesale stockings November 17, 2010 at 3:40 am

almost every day i need to read your Article. so good. Thanks for sharing those valuable information

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: