The Enlightened Revolution

“A modern Wal-Mart would have been a place of incalculable riches to Charlemagne.”

“As befits a scholar of human knowledge, Mokyr’s overarching thesis is about the power of ideas. His grand idea is that the practical, avaricious inventors of the industrial revolution owed much to the academic, but worldly, philosophers of the Enlightenment.”

Writing for the New Republic, Edward Glaser reviews Joel Mokyr’s The Enlightened Economy: An Economic History of Britain, 1700-1850 in Thinkers and Tinkerers:

“It is easy to envision the massive mills of Manchester and think that the Industrial Revolution was all about scale and machines. But there was more. At its core, this economic and technological revolution was created by connected groups of smart people who stole each others’ ideas and implemented them. I tend to think that the chain of interrelated insights that brought us industrialization could have happened in other countries and at other times, but there is every reason to think that the Enlightenment had readied England’s intellectual soil for industrial innovation. Not least because it persuades readers of the plausibility of such an unlikely and colorful causation, Mokyr’s book is a splendid achievement.”

Published in: on June 24, 2010 at 11:43 am  Leave a Comment  

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