British Society 1680-1880: Dynamism, Containment and Change by Richard Price

By Richard Price

Richard expense deals an intensive new interpretation of recent British historical past. He argues that the interval 1680-1880 was once a different period in British background, a dynamic interval of a lot switch yet which was once eventually contained inside of in actual fact outlined limitations. Professor cost therefore identifies the 19th century because the finish of this era instead of the instant of modernity. Elegantly written and lucidly prepared, this learn can be of price to all students and scholars with an curiosity during this interesting interval.

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Manchester moved from sleepy market town to pulsating industrial center from 1720 to 1800 even if the country as a whole did not. Still, the question is not which category – change or continuity – can present the most ‘‘facts’’ for our inspection. The question is how we position our understanding of the process of this change. It is not enough to point to continuity in the economic structures and leave it at that. œ Õ As Charles Sabel and Jonathan Zeitlin have pointed out, this form of industrial production provides a historical alternative to Fordist-style production which can also be found in twentieth-century economies.

It is worth noting that there is much evidence in Marx for the argument that modern industry was not a dominant economic form during this period. Like most other commentators, Marx read the evidence in a way that did not allow him to extend the period of manufacture much beyond the early nineteenth century. Thus, he spent quite a few pages trying to reconcile the deep interpenetration of his categories of manufacture and modern industry. David Landes, The Unbound Prometheus: Technological Change and Industrial Development in Western Europe 1705 to the Present (Cambridge, 1969).

Similar examples could be easily multiplied. Factories with complicated divisions of labor were common by the 1730s in industries like silk production and calico printing. …œ The rhythm of economic growth in the age of manufacture moved by spasmodic lurches within an overall pattern of gently protracted upward advance. Although per capita income growth jumped signiWcantly in the Wrst two-thirds of the nineteenth century, for example, it had been at a relatively high level compared to other European countries since 1700.

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