In the long view of history, technological advancement unleashed by the Industrial Revolution has come to be seen as a net positive for economic development and everyone’s well-being, even those workers who initially lost their jobs. There’s reason to wonder, however, if this “second machine age” may be different.
“We need to qualify the fairy tale we like to tell about capitalism and free labor,” argues Harvard historian Sven Beckert, author of the new book, “Empire of Cotton.” In part two of his essay on Making Sen$e, he explores slavery’s and cotton’s role in the development of modern capitalism in the U.S. and elsewhere. Continue reading
There’s nothing to rule out the possibility that the economically successful of the modern world are actually genetically different from the people who are not successful, economic historian Gregory Clark tells Paul Solman in part four of their never-before published conversation about his 2007 book, “A Farewell to Alms.” Continue reading
England’s economic success, beginning with the takeoff of the Industrial Revolution, can be explained by the “survival of the richest,” argues economic historian Gregory Clark in the third installment of his never-before published interview with Paul Solman about his 2007 book “A Farewell to Alms.” Continue reading
Why did the Industrial Revolution happen in England, setting them economically apart from the rest of the world? Contrary to popular economic theory, economic historian Gregory Clark says the existence of market and political institutions had nothing to do with it. Instead, the English were open to success because they evolved to be more material-driven, more envious and more patient. Continue reading