Sunday, January 31, 2010

The Homebrew Industrial Revolution

The Homebrew Industrial Revolution

Interesting ebook about the history of manufacturing (no, really, it's fascinating!) in which the author makes a reasonable case for proving that the so-called Industrial Revolution was not a natural development but an example of state-subsidised political action in support of the existing economic elites and against the interests of small scale, local and household-based manufacturers and producers.

In particular, the book argues that the idea of a "national market" was essentially an artificial construct in the C19 sustained by the formation of national transport systems (road, rail and telegraph). Furthermore, the book argues that these systems were (and remain) financed by taxation but disproportionately benefited large manufacturers. The true costs, therefore, of mass production for a national (as opposed to local) market were never felt by the large industrialists. If these costs were paid by the factory owners (as opposed to by the taxpayer via the state), the much-heralded economies of scale of the industrial era would have been non existent.

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Kevin Carson said...

Thanks a lot, Al!

Al Shaw said...

You're welcome.

I've been quoting you a lot over on my tumblr page!