All of daviskedrosky's Comments + Replies

To Increase Progress, Increase Desire

Ha, I wish. Maybe a children's illustrated encyclopedia. 

Market expansion is definitely an interesting area for research here. Foreign trade shares in the economy were small, but in certain key sectors (i.e. textiles) it was pretty significant. But again, it's important to unravel whether these markets can be considered A) additional demand or B) won by higher-quality / lower-cost production. That's the story of the "New Draperies" in the 17th c. and cottons from the 18th. 

Anton and I have chatted about this a lot, and I agree with most of this. ... (read more)

To Increase Progress, Increase Desire

Yes, producers have always had the incentive to innovate, and yes, they have always tried to do so (even slave economies were "capitalist"). Only in certain institutional, cultural, and geographical contexts can they be successful. I also think base levels of scientific knowledge are critical (but Anton may disagree in some cases).

As for demand, I refer you to Mokyr's classic piece: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2119351.

So, sort of. Everything is endogenous. Desmet and Parente argue that market expansion leads to longer firm production runs in differentiated... (read more)

1jasoncrawford2moThanks for the Mokyr ref, had not read that one yet. You are truly an encyclopedia of the econ history literature! Yes, I'm wondering about the market expansion too. Foreign trade does seem to be a part of it? Related, see this from Anton Howes which I thought was very interesting (emphasis added): https://antonhowes.substack.com/p/age-of-invention-capital-grains [https://antonhowes.substack.com/p/age-of-invention-capital-grains] General note: I find it remarkable how many major developments seem to ultimately trace back to either (1) the Age of Discovery or (2) the printing press. And I find it a remarkable coincidence how those basically happened at the same time.
To Increase Progress, Increase Desire

Historian's perspective: the Industrial Revolution was primarily a supply-side phenomenon. Demand may have helped to geographically focus the concentration of new sectors, but technological change occurred because of the desire of producers to make things better and at lower cost, not because idiot peasants realized that cotton clothes were comfortable. Other factors—science, bourgeois/Protestant ethic, coal/raw materials, skills—are also supply side. 

Neither necessity nor desire is the mother of invention!

1Max Olson2moCompletely agree, and thank you for that perspective. It's a bit of a "chicken vs. egg" problem in that sense, and it's hard to think of anything that is completely supply or demand driven. It does seem like it's more supply driven in general, although I'm happy to put attention on the demand side because I think it's being neglected.
1jasoncrawford2moAgree with that last point. Both necessity and desire were around since the dawn of humanity. They didn't create an Industrial Revolution by themselves. (But you could argue that by the same token, producers also always had the desire to lower their costs / increase quality. It's not just desire, but opportunity.) Also, wasn't there some significant demand-side stuff going on? Wasn't there a general increase in wealth and consumption levels just before the IR, that was maybe significant in helping to create markets for more/better goods produced by the new manufacturing technology?