An Introduction to the Industrial Revolution

What was the industrial revolution? According to Dr. Stephen Davies, it was an extraordinarily innovative period in history that generated the highest living standards the world had ever seen. For instance, over the course of the 19th century, average per capita income in the United Kingdom rose by a factor of six. To put this in perspective, prior to the industrial revolution, it typically took 300-400 years for the standard of living to rise by a factor of 0.5. Why did this explosion of human flourishing take place? Dr. Stephen Davies claims that people began to embrace an engineering culture along with a respect for trade and business. It was this synergy of trade and engineering that led to a revolution in production and business organization.


  1. Matt Wavle

    What a huge jump in lifestyle.  By a factor of Six!  I’d love to see that happen today!

  2. russellherbst

    good point

  3. Hunter Markson

    I remember hearing a lecture on how the proportion of Lawyers to Engineers in a country is strongly correlated with a country’s economic growth

  4. Lukas Koube

    yeah, the book Bourgeois Dignity by deirdre mccloskey is about this very idea….somewhere along the way making money was seen as a good and noble thing….this is what allowed wealth to compound and catapulted Europe into the industrial revolution… fact: china had more manufacturing capacity than europe for most of human history, but they valued other endeavors….with all the haters today, it would be interesting to hear if mccloskey thinks we have lost the Bourgeois Dignity….

Leave a Reply