2.b.14 – How did we arrive to industrial revolution?

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February 1, 2010 — Riccardo Sabellotti - Giacinto Sabellotti

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How did we arrive to industrial revolution?

The agricultural revolution was developed following the end of glaciation, i.e. a climate change: the industrial revolution took place instead following a set of propitious historical, political and economic circumstances; there was no change in the climate or in the ecosystem, but a normal evolution of human society; the conditions that led to the industrial revolution have been, after all, a product of human culture.
In 1700 A.C. the British Empire, the greatest of all time, was in full expansion and its trade routes reached every continent; England was powerful, rich and a huge quantity of goods poured into its cities. This situation had already occurred several times with other empires such as Mongolian, Roman or Persian, but now the empire territories were made of colonies mainly situated in the wild territories, where the agricultural civilization was uncommon or absent; it followed that large quantities of raw materials were mainly imported from these territories, that were then worked at the home country; the finished product could then be sold throughout the great European market. Previously, in the Roman Empire, there was already a commercial network extended throughout Europe, Roma was very rich, but had no reason to import only raw materials, or to work them to sell them to the rest of the Empire. The colonial economy , both English and European, had a productive system dramatically different than in the past: European states, particularly the small and powerful England, were the centers for the processing of goods imported and exported worldwide.
It is important to note that the materials were not only worked for meeting local needs, but also those of the entire European market and of the same colonies; to carry out this huge amount of work required changes in the working organization: from small groups of artisans. larger assemblies of workers followed, working in vast farmhouses called factories, within which there were one or more workers doing a single stage of processing and only one, and then pass the product to another group for the next step: this way, series production was born.
It is likely that this technique is not entirely new, but was never applied on such a large scale; working in series gave the possibility to produce on equal time, a much higher number of pieces than the artisans could; in previous times, in the limited local market, this whole production would remain unsold.

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