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Samizdata quote of the day

Oh no. I’ve accidentally stayed up way too late reading about the 1560s attempt to set up copper mining and smelting works in Cumbria using German experts.

Anton Howes, historian of the origins of the Industrial Revolution.

The above is the first of a series of tweets. Read them all here. Howes was asked what exactly he’d been reading. Answer: This book.

I signed up to the Anton Howes Age of Invention newsletter a while back, and am always pleased when another installment shows up in my incoming emails.

4 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • Mr Ed

    A fascinating and pleasant Twitter feed, what a change. It even refers to the number of dead horses in Normandy after D-Day, he didn’t realise that for Germany it was the Pferd World War.

    Coming back OT, it is remarkable that anything got started at that time, if only he had found some Romans’ descendants who’d kept the best of their culture intact, perhaps in some obscure valley in the Apennines, they might have got further. It is remarkable how the problems chime with the present day.

  • Paul Marks

    I would argue the opposite of this case.

    I think that England in the late 16th century was more economically advanced than Spain, because the English government was LESS powerful relative to Civil Society.

    It is quite true that the state under Elizabeth was trying to become more dominant over society – but he had really no great Civil Service (unlike the Continental Powers – such as Spain), and Parliament still functioned as an economic check upon the government.

    I do not believe that such things as the iron industry in Sussex (the source of the cannons that fired three times more quickly than the Spanish ones in 1588) was the result of wise state intervention.

    Indeed the various regulations imposed near the end of the reign of Elizabeth may well have HELD BACK general economic development in those areas that the regulations were enforced.

    T.S. Ashton and others pointed out that it was no coincidence that the industrial revolution of the 18th century came in areas, such as Lancashire and the West Riding of Yorkshire, that were not really under the economic regulations that London tried to impose.

  • Patrick Crozier

    Fascinating thread.

  • bobby b

    If this sort of stuff interests you, and you have some spare time, read Neal Stephenson’s three-book set The Baroque Cycle.