Poverty, Progress, and Population by E. A. Wrigley

By E. A. Wrigley

E.A. Wrigley, the top historian of business England, exposes the inadequacy of what was approved knowledge relating to England's commercial revolution and indicates what he believes should still exchange it. He examines the problems from 3 viewpoints: financial development; the transformation of the urban-rural stability; and demographic switch within the 17th and eighteenth centuries. moreover, he exhibits why England's early glossy economic climate and society grew speedier and extra dynamically than its continental acquaintances.

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See, for example, the chapter ‘How the commerce of towns contributed to the improvement of the country’ in A. Smith, Wealth of nations; also ch. 10 below. Tawney, Religion and the rise of capitalism, pp. 70–1. 38 The wellsprings of growth upon the set of values of the observer. But the peasant society of which Goldsmith wrote, though having all the virtues which he claimed for it, could never have been a suitable launch pad for a society seeking to break free from the constraints of an organic economy.

It is not yet possible to attempt a convincing estimate of the comparable situation in Elizabethan times, but it is unlikely that England enjoyed any advantage over her neighbours in this regard in the sixteenth century. 1750 did not imply that the rate of growth of national product per head for a century or more before 1750 was as high as, or higher than, it was in the century next following. This turns the spotlight on agriculture, whose centrality to all organic economies is clear by definition.

98. , I, p. 99. , I, pp. 100, 102. , I, p. 106. , I, p. 108. The quest for the industrial revolution 27 is a convenient introduction to two further issues which deserve discussion in attempting to cover the range of matters relevant to the reconsideration of the industrial revolution: capitalism and the nature of the limits to growth in a pre-industrial world. Smith was a keen advocate of the market as a vehicle for the efficient allocation of resources and for the identification of opportunities for growth.

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