The Industrial Revolution and Pax Britannica, 1770 to 1870

  • Andre Gunder Frank


The industrial revolution, first in Britain and later in other metropolitan countries, of course involved far-reaching transformations of the metropolitan economy, polity, society and culture that are beyond our scope. The associated technological revolution and innovation, which has received so much attention, cannot be realistically understood in isolation from this process of capital accumulation and market expansion. ‘Whatever the British advance was due to, it was not scientific and technological superiority’, notes Hobsbawm (47); and it is at least symbolic that, as Williams (102–3) recalls, ‘it was the capital accumulated in the West Indian trade that financed James Watt and the steam engine. Boulton and Watt received advances from Lowe, Vere, Williams and Jennings’, and Boulton wrote Watt, ‘Lowe, Vere and Company may yet be saved, if ye West Indian fleet arrives safe from ye French fleet … as many of their securities depend on it.’


Free Trade Eighteenth Century Capital Accumulation Industrial Revolution Capitalist Development 
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© Andre Gunder Frank 1978

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  • Andre Gunder Frank

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