Download Energy and the English Industrial Revolution by E. A. Wrigley PDF

By E. A. Wrigley

The commercial revolution reworked the efficient energy of societies. It did so via greatly expanding the person productiveness, therefore offering entire populations from poverty. during this new account by way of one of many world's stated gurus the valuable factor isn't really easily how the revolution all started yet nonetheless extra why it didn't fast finish. the reply lay within the use of a brand new resource of power. Pre-industrial societies had entry purely to very constrained power offers. so long as mechanical power got here mostly from human or animal muscle and warmth power from wooden, the utmost possible point of productiveness used to be guaranteed to be low. Exploitation of a brand new resource of power within the type of coal supplied an get away direction from the restrictions of an natural economic system but in addition introduced novel hazards. when you consider that this occurred first in England, its adventure has a unique fascination, even though different international locations swiftly swimsuit.

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39. Pimentel, ‘Energy flow in the food system’, pp. 5–6. 10 11 16 Energy and the English Industrial Revolution output per head in many industrial and mining activities. Difference in the draught animal/worker ratio is, therefore, one of the factors which could cause the conventional minimum standard of living to differ significantly in different organic economies. Heat energy like muscle energy depended on plant photosynthesis. Burning wood provided the great bulk of the heat energy consumed. Many industrial processes required large quantities of heat energy.

42 It would have required The phrase ‘ghost acres’ is used to refer to the area outside the boundaries of a given state which enable it to overcome a production limit which would otherwise have inhibited domestic growth. Pomeranz makes much of this concept in seeking to explain European success. Europe, he claims, ‘was able to escape the proto-industrial cul de sac and transfer handicraft workers into modern industries as the technology became available. ’ Pomeranz, The great divergence, p. 264.

This is so for reasons that exemplify the difference between the study of societies and work in many branches of the natural sciences. It is not possible to conduct a series of controlled experiments in which, for example, England is reconstituted as it was in 1600 but then its characteristics are modified to test, say, whether its development would have differed significantly if age at marriage and proportions marrying did not change with changing economic circumstances. This characteristic of analysis in the social sciences limits the confidence with which assertions can be made about the relative importance of a given factor in affecting the pattern of change.

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