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Critical Review: Thomas S. Ashton's "The Industrial Revolution" Essay

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Thomas S. Ashton’s The Industrial Revolution (1760–1830) looks at the early developments of Industrial Revolution during the eighteenth and nineteenth century. Ashton illustrates throughout his book the way in which the Industrialization occurred in England. Ashton meticulously looks over English’s political, economical and social elements that allowed England to Industrialize. Throughout the six chapters Ashton provides the reader with convincing evidence and makes sure England is credited in being the first to experience the phenomena of the Industrial Revolution. Ashton argues that the combination of private initiative, deregulation and free trade allowed the Industrial Revolution to flourish. Another economic scholar Ha- Joon Chang argues that free trade theory is flawed and countries that experienced an economic boom had strong government interference. Both scholars present their arguments with strong stattiscal evidence.
The book, organized into six chapters demonstrates a complex understanding of economic, social and political elements that existed in late eighteenth century England. In the first chapter, Ashton shows building blocs that were in place to initially help spur the Industry in England. He points to the social changes that occurred in England. He analyzes population growth from 1760-1830, he argues, the average standard of living increased drastically. Which conciendentially occurred during the same time entrepreneurs and private banks and individuals were pursing venture. Ashton also point to the limited government interference and private property laws that allowed for Enclosures to occur. The Enclosure acts according to Ashton had a pivotal reaction in England. It released people from the land, fo...


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...ch List criticized Britain for preaching free trade to other countries, while having achieved its economic supremacy through high tariff and extensive subsidies.”
Ashton and Chang represent different economic philosophies and at it basic is government interference in business. Ashton argues the deregulation spurred the Industrialization. He sought to establish that Britain is ideal model of protecting property rights and limited government interference. Whereas Ha -Joon Chang argues the British government through high tariff and extensive subsidies helped them gain economic supremacy.



Works Cited

Ha-Joon Chang, Bad Samaritans: The Myth of Free Trade and the Secret History of Capitalism (: Bloomsbury Press, 2008), 20.

Ha-Joon Chang, Bad Samaritans: The Myth of Free Trade and the Secret History of Capitalism (Bloomsbury Press, 2008), 25.



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