The Economic Basis of Peace: Linkages between Economic Growth and International Conflict

By William H. Mott IV | Go to book overview

Appendix G: On Protoindustrialization

Drawing on nineteenth-century German and English economic historians, Franklin Mendels formalized a theory of "protoindustrialization" around economic growth as it occurred in eighteenth-century England and France. 1 Economic activity concentrated in growing cities at regional, subnational levels as supplies of labor migrated toward both work and markets; manufacturing and agriculture shared a single unskilled labor force that was the primary engine of growth; the major markets for both agricultural produce and industrial goods were international; technological innovations affected both agriculture and manufacturing. During early protoindustrial growth, Mendels theorized, rapid rates of innovation and change would have little macroeconomic effect beyond a local "spurt" of rapid growth as increasing incomes based on a brief competitive advantage brought population increases that broke the historic balance between labor supply and subsistence wages. After a lag of one-two generations, however, this imbalance would become the labor surplus to drive sustained growth in the Industrial Revolution. Thus the result of Mendels' theory was the need for continuing rapid technological innovation and economic change to sustain a permanent imbalance between labor supply and wages. Self-sustaining growth was only possible after a long period of permanent economic instability and social turmoil.

Mendels did not theorize at the microeconomic level explored by Maxine Berg, and thus missed the powerful effects of these changes on

productivity and output in individual industries, establishing above all a trend of improvement in each sector. But the experience in the eighteenth century was of a secret but gathering force. And the change it made to the economy as a whole, though delayed, was ultimately marked and abrupt. The technological spurt and organizational changes of the eighteenth century did not make their mark on the wider economy until the decades of the 1820s to the 1840s. 2

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The Economic Basis of Peace: Linkages between Economic Growth and International Conflict
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Recent Titles in Contributions in Economics and Economic History ii
  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Preface vii
  • Acknowledgments xi
  • 1 - Introduction 1
  • Notes 6
  • 2 - Historical Perspectives 9
  • Notes 30
  • 3 - Theoretical Approaches 37
  • Notes 97
  • 4 - An Empirical Approach 107
  • Notes 164
  • 5 - A Quandary and a Conjecture 171
  • Notes 188
  • 6 - What It All Means 193
  • Notes 229
  • Appendix A: On Economic Stagnation 237
  • Notes 238
  • Appendix B: On the Three Traditions 239
  • Notes 240
  • Appendix C: On Long Waves 241
  • Notes 243
  • Appendix D: On Foreign Investment 244
  • Note 245
  • Appendix E: On Division of Labor 246
  • Notes 246
  • Appendix F: On Alternative Economies 248
  • Notes 249
  • Appendix G: On Protoindustrialization 251
  • Notes 252
  • Appendix H: On Confidence Levels 253
  • Note 254
  • Appendix I: On Growth Processes 255
  • Notes 256
  • Appendix J: On Static Models 257
  • Appendix K: On Defense of Realism 259
  • Notes 260
  • Appendix L: On Growth Strategies 261
  • Appendix M: On Dualism and Growth 262
  • Notes 265
  • Appendix N: On Lawlike Regularities 267
  • Notes 269
  • Bibliography 271
  • Author Index 289
  • Subject Index 293
  • About the Author 305
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