Myths of Industrial Capitalism — The Industrial Revolution
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Along with the emergence and development of the political institutions of modernity which, as discussed in the previous chapter, are forever associated with the revolution in France in 1789, there is another revolution which it is believed transformed the organization of economic activities in the world, namely, the Industrial Revolution. The traditional century of the industrial revolution, from 1750 to 1850, is seen as producing ‘a radical shift in the structure of the economy, in the composition of total output, and in the distribution of employment’ thus creating a qualitatively different type of economy (Hartwell 1965: 181). This is not simply one of a number of discontinuities in the historical record, but one which, as Hartwell argues, established ‘the great discontinuity of modern history’ (1971: 57), that between tradition and modernity. Industrialization is not only seen to bring about the modern world, but is regarded by many theorists as constitutive of it; as Krishan Kumar writes, for example, ‘[t]o become modern was to go through the process of industrialization’ (1978: 111); and not to go through it was, in some sense, to have failed.
KeywordsEighteenth Century Industrial Revolution Industrial Society Commercial Society Industrial Capitalism
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