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16

Several historians/economists hold several factors responsible. I know two works that discuss this in great depth: The Wealth of Nations, Adam Smith. Nation, State and the Industrial Revolution: The Visible Hand, Lars Magnusson. Personally, I believe the following factors played a crucial role: Wars: Britain's isolation from continental Europe meant ...


12

The answer is threefold: 1) Transportation costs: agricultural societies had, since the beginning, been restricted by the amount of food one could produce locally. What 'freed' the British poor from having to work the land (please note I'm not arguing that this was in their favor) was the import of large amount of cheap food, as well as the materials to ...


12

I believe the first "programmable" devices in common industrial use were the big industrial power looms in England in the late 18th and early 19th century. The Jacquard loom in 1801 was the first to use punched-cards for its programming. Way over in Ukraine, Russian Semen Korasakov saw the potential of these cards for information storage and retrieval, and ...


12

The phrasing is a bit unfair, I think (and probably a misquote, as it turns out). The first important international patent agreement didn't exist until 1883, and the United States signed on 4 years later. Before that, all countries were free to discriminate against foreigners in patent applications. Even with that agreement, a person wanting patent ...


11

I'm going to take this a perhaps unexpected direction, Connections-style. Everything else I see in the other answers is IMHO just an effect (although RI Swamp Yankee comes close). What did England have that the rest of Europe didn't that ultimately caused it to become the first center of industrialization? Sheep. England, particularly the Scottish ...


9

Most people in medieval England would have gotten their food from subsistence farming on land rented from a manor and payed for in labour, while during the Industrial revolution most people in England would have lived in cities. The question is if the enclosures was responsible for the supply of labour to factories. The answer is no. Enclosing land was a ...


7

The primary mechanisms that motivated the industrial revolution were automation and efficient utilization of natural resources to generate power to drive automation. There were certainly also social factors, but I'd prefer to focus primarily on the technical, since this seems to offer a clearer path to an answer. The Romans did harness power from gravity ...


5

Wages. Labour was too cheap for an Industrial revolution. Early industrialisation must be profitable in order to be widely adopted and sustainable. With cheap labour the replacement of human labour with machines just isn't profitable. Research and development of early machines is expensive and slow, if there is no pay off, (trey making of money but cheaper ...


5

Besides Britain there were other colonial powers with great empires, Spain and France. They had similar number of colonial possessions. Spain had nearly entire South and Central America, while France had most of Africa. It was much later (after WWII) when France lost most of its possessions in Africa, although in North America they lost their possessions to ...


5

The Dutch actually beat the British to it by almost a century - their problem was a lack of deepwater ports and domestic resources, so the British were able to overtake them in the 18th century. Now, if you want to ask why the Dutch were the first to industrialize, I can recommend "The Baroque Cycle" - historical fiction by Neal Stephenson that covers ...


5

I'm not sure it was military revolution that drives industrial revolution. There are several theories which try to explain the cause of industrial revolution. Barrington Moore, for example, proposed that it was the rise of the merchant class and the fall of feudalism which leads to mass production (which will lead again to three different political systems, ...


5

Europe and East Asia didn't industrialize at the same time. In all of East Asia, probably the first country to Industrialize was Japan, and that didn't happen until the right around the beginning of the 20th century, nearly a century after the process started in Western Europe. So really you have to compare with Europe. The big advantage here was simply ...


4

Paul Kennedy argued in The Rise and Decline of the Great Powers that Europe was criss-crossed by geographic barriers such as rivers and mountain ranges, leading to many different political entities and distinct cultures/nationalities, leading to political and military competition and technological innovation. The large empires of Asia, situated on large ...


4

Remember that "necessity is the mother of invention". The Hawaiians had fresh water, fruits, vegetable, fish and meat and drinking & cutting utensils easily at hand and had no need for heating or warm clothing. They had so much leisure time that they did need means of diversion, so they invented the surf board and underwater swim goggles. They also ...


3

To me it simply looks like it is meant to say "10 pounds sterling per 100". "cent" is short for the Latin word for hundred, "centum", and £ is the symbol for "pounds sterling".


3

No. As EP Thompson admirably demonstrates in Making of the English Working Class, the proletariat was already in existence in Britain and Ireland at the peak of the enclosures in a "pre-factory" system. As Engels and Marx demonstrate, and as reaffirmed in the Italian influenced Autonomist tradition, the purpose of the factory was to smash pre-existing ...


3

More people. Europe in the era of the Romans has an estimated population of 30 million people, which increased to 100 million people in 1800 and now to 700 million people. You do not produce goods just for fun. You must also have people who need to buy the products so you make a profit from producing goods. And if you invent machines to work for you, you ...


3

IMHO availability of cheap slave labour made mechanization unnecessary and scarcity of educated mechanics would make attempts of automation prohibitively expensive. We can see that not only in ancient times but also well into modern age in the places or industries where manual labour was much cheaper than the cost of automation and that stalled development ...


3

There the sustained pre-industrial productivity growth is the great surprise, particularly since it concerned a major sector of the economy and reached back perhaps four centuries before the onset of the industrial revolution. The rates of total factor productivity growth were substantially higher than the 0.1 per cent or less that characterized ...


3

It all started with a fairly simple change in the way that crops were managed and produced in England. In the late 1700's farmers began to realize that rather than leaving their fields fallow after a harvest, they could plant beans or other products that resulted in restoring the fertility of the soil. Then as they began to rotate their crops in different ...


3

The industrial revolution occurred as a result of scientific advances in Europe. Specifically the Steam Engine and related Manufacturing Technology. However the Industrial Revolution began specifically in Britain, since wages in Britain were significantly higher than on the continent. This disparity increased the incentive for British businessmen (vs ...


3

I can't believe no one mentioned The Search for Modern China by Jonathan Spence. It is a rather long book and covers a longer time period than asked for by the OP. He is a very good writer who can synthesize the story and the main idea behind historical events. His writing is very easy to read yet also academic. It is the book to have if you want a general ...


2

Here are some I can recommend, and I had a couple of these in my history classes so they might seem to be a bit more than you like but they are not bad reads even for non-history types. They are not difficult to get into even if you are not a historian, although modern Chinese history especially in the warlord era is complex so it does take a little bit of ...


2

The knowledge necessary to build the machines that backed the industrial revolution (notably, steam engines) had been around for quite a while before that (ancient Greeks were fully aware of how to use steam to move things); but it had never been used widely for a variety of reasons: Slaves were available to work for free (or at a very small cost); so, why ...


2

Religious tolerance Without the United Kingdoms tolerance to views and opinions that elsewhere would have been considered heresy (like much of Catholic Europe and the Islamic and Muslim kingdoms found elsewhere) innovation, invention, science and original thought could not have happened. It is specifically this tolerance to original thought that allowed ...


2

Saudi Arabia encompasses large deserts, and industrial goods have a low "value to weight" ratio. The goods that are likely to be shipped across such deserts have a high value relative to their weight, such as cinnamin, silk, and precious metals. At the time of the Industrial Revolution (in Europe), most people of Saudi Arabia were still nomadic. People who ...


2

I'll pose two alternate answers: Nothingness and Isaac Newton. The industrial revolution occurred about 100 years after Newton. Without Newton or Leibniz (or someone of equal caliber), no calculus. Without calculus, no industrial revolution. Without a proper zero, no calculus. Neither the Greeks nor the Romans could have had an industrial revolution. Their ...


1

Having been motivated by this question to do more research, I perused the OED for per centum and related entries. There it is made clear that the use of the (pseudo-Latin legalese) phrase per centum (or it's abbreviation per cent) is meant to be translated literally, as per hundred. Therefore the phrase inquired upon, £10 per cent, should be read as £10 per ...


1

Since it wasn't brought up, I'll offer an alternative view that was only recently voiced in Science (see here): wheat and rice as main staple food shaped the culture and boundaries of the societies. NB: this isn't about the United Kingdom in particular, but about the "Western world" as opposed to Asian empires of the time. The question that came up was ...



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