Tawney Lecture 2009 - Why was the Industrial Revolution British?

Authors/Speakers/Subjects: Bob Allen

Published Date: 01 Jan 2009

Duration: 66 minutes, 08 seconds


Britain had a unique wage and price structure in the eighteenth century, and that structure is the key to explaining the inventions of the industrial revolution. British wages were very high by international standards, and energy was very cheap. This configuration led British firms to invent technologies that substituted capital and energy for labour. High wages also increased the supply of technology by enabling Brits to acquire education and training.  Britain’s wage and price structure was the result of the country’s success in international trade, and that owed much to mercantilism and imperialism.

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