Unless you’re me... Economic history is rarely that exciting.
But right now it really is. And the wonders of twitter and the internet mean we can watch a debate play out in real time.
So please excuse a mini thread (especially from an interested amateur rather than a participant)
Right now, there’s a very active debate on the origins of industrial revolution.
Why should we care? Firstly because the IR was probably “the key event” in human history.
It’s when - for many - life stopped being nasty, brutish and short.
Amongst economists & economic historians, the leading theory (although by far from the only one!) as to why the IR happened when (and crucially *where* ) it did has been Bob Allen’s High Wage Economy (HWE) theory. The book version is here: amazon.co.uk/Industrial-Rev…
The one tweet version: “Britain had unusually high wages compared to much of Europe (a legacy of more colonial trade) and easy access to coal. High wages and cheap energy made the introduction of labour saving technology profitable in Britain when it wouldn’t have been elsewhere”
Even those who haven’t accepted Allen’s theory entirely have seen it as important. Nick Crafts has provided one version of an Allen/Mokyr synthesis. wrap.warwick.ac.uk/44710/1/WRAP_C…
Perhaps Allen explains the demand for innovation & Mokyr it’s supply?