ANOTHER SWEEPING CLAIM ABOUT THE CAUSE OF THE INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION
Stuart Jeanne Bramhill reviews “The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith Abridged Version” by Laurence Dickey, Professor of History, University of Wisconsin-Madison (Hackett Publishing 1993) and adds somewhat controversial comments on Adam Smith’s Wealth Of Nations HERE “Reclaiming Adam Smith”: “Contrary to conservative claims, Adam Smith was a liberal who argued for government intervention to ensure economic growth and “general prosperity.” I find it intriguing that he attributes Britain’s global economic dominance to “division of labor” and a superior agricultural system. Despite an entire chapter in Book I on the origin of money, he makes no mention of the role of English banks in creating money (which started in 1666), which kick started the industrial revolution.”
Comment: The abstract excites my interest. But before I proceed to look at Stuart Jeanne Bramhill’s Review, I wonder why the much earlier banks founded in today’s Netherlands and in Italy centuries earlier than 1666 did not ‘kick start the industrial revolution’ too?
Singular explanations for the ‘industrial revolution’, itself a process lasting more than a century, are often suspect. For a detailed scholalry examination of the process by which per capita incomes rose from the historical norm of less than $1 a day towards $150 a day in commercial/capitalisr societies I suugest preliminary reading should include Deidre McCloskey’s volumes: “Bougeois Virtues’ (2007) and ‘Bourgeois Dignity: why economics can’t explain the modern world’ (2010) - plus a couple more volumes to come, published by Chicago University Press.
I shall comment further on Bramhill’s Review later.