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Anton Howes on the industrial revolution – now available on video

One of the intellectual highlights of my year has been hearing Anton Howes (whom I first noticed while noticing the Liberty League) expound the idea that the British industrial revolution was, at heart, an ideological event. The industrial revolution happened when it did and where it did because certain people in that place and at that time started thinking differently. To put it in Samizdata-speak, the metacontext changed. Particular people changed it, not just with the industrial stuff that they did, but with what they said and wrote.

I first heard Howes give this talk at my last Friday of the month meeting in July of this year. Happily, Simon Gibbs of Libertarian Home also heard Howes speak that night, and immediately signed him up to do a repeat performance, this time with a video camera running, for Libertarian Home at the Rose and Crown.

And the good news is that the video of this Howes talk at the Rose and Crown is now up and viewable at Libertarian Home. If spending half an hour watching a video does not suit, then you might prefer to read Simon’s extended summary of the talk. The same video is also up at YouTube.

I wrote a bit at my personal blog about that subsequent evening, and there is lots else I want to say about what Howes is saying. But one of the rules of blogging is not to let hard-to-write and consequently not-yet-actually-written pieces interrupt you putting up easier-to-write pieces that you actually can write and do write.

So: Anton Howes is a clever guy. Watch the video. And watch out for him and his work in the future.

3 comments to Anton Howes on the industrial revolution – now available on video

  • […] the end of Deirdre McCloskey’s book Bourgeois Dignity, which was published in 2010. (The Anton Howes talk that I flagged up here recently is pretty much Anton Howes channelling this […]

  • Nick 'nice-guy'Gray

    The people closest to starting the Industrial Revolution would have been the Dutch, except their market wasn’t quite big enough to kick-start the process. The Dutch were also leaders in many areas. If they’d had more people, maybe Dutch would be the world language, and Australia really would be New South Holland!?

  • Paul Marks

    Do not forget the guild system in Holland – which held things back.

    Even the London Guilds were more like social clubs (they still are) – no one would be sent to prison or fined for engaging in a trade without being a member of the guild for that trade.

    That was a vast difference between English law (based on the Common Law nonaggression principle) and the laws of most of “mainland” Europe, where to engage in a trade you had (by law) to be a member of an organisation (for that trade) and abide by its rules in terms of how you produced things.

    The modern web of regulations (“licensing” and so on) means that today, this land is no different from “mainland” Europe (not really).