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Speaking of Private Roads…..

Here’s economic historian David Landes on one reason why the industrial revolution began in Great Britain:

At the same time [17th and 18th centuries], the British were making major gains in land and water transport. New turnpike roads and canals, intended primarily to serve industry and mining, opened the way to valuable resources, linked production to markets, facilitated the division of labor. Other European countries were trying to do the same, but nowhere were these improvements so widespread and effective as in Britain. For a simple reason: nowhere else were roads and canals typically the work of private enterprise, hence responsive to need (rather than to prestige and military concerns) and profitable to users…. These roads (and canals) hastened growth and specialization.

From David S. Landes, The Wealth and Poverty of Nations (1998), pages 214-215.


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