Quotation of the Day…

by Don Boudreaux on December 27, 2014

in Growth, History, Standard of Living

… is from page 111 of the revised (1964) edition of T.S. Ashton‘s superb 1948 volume, The Industrial Revolution: 1760-1830:

If England had remained a nation of cultivators and craftsmen, she could hardly have escaped the same fate [of mass starvation and grinding poverty], and, at best, the weight of a growing population must have pressed down the spring of her spirit.  She was delivered, not by her rulers, but by those who, seeking no doubt their own narrow ends, had the wit and resource to devise new instruments of production and new methods of administering industry.  There are to-day on the plains of India and China men and women, plague-ridden and hungry, living lives little better, to outward appearance, than those of the cattle that toil with them by day and share their places of sleep by night.  Such Asiatic standards, and such unmechanized horrors, are the lot of those who increase their numbers without passing through an industrial revolution.

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