The Workshop of the World; British Economic History from 1820 to 1880

The Workshop of the World; British Economic History from 1820 to 1880

The Workshop of the World; British Economic History from 1820 to 1880

The Workshop of the World; British Economic History from 1820 to 1880

Excerpt

The period during which Britain can be described as the workshop of the world is open to a variety of definitions. In this book it is taken to lie roughly between the financial crisis of 1825 and the onset of what is known as the Great Depression in 1873, or in round figures, between 1820 and 1880. That is not to imply that by the last quarter of the century British economic supremacy was at an end; on the contrary, in some important respects it grew to a new peak of grandeur. It rested on the world-wide services Britain provided through her shipping and credit agencies and the mutually advantageous relations she had established with her dependent empire. By these means she was able to meet the gap between her exports and the imports which poured into her free market and thus to provide funds for the lubrication of the wheels of the world's commerce; but she no longer held a virtual monopoly of the supply of manufactured goods, and two vital components of her export trade consisted of raw materials: the products of her coal mines and the re-exported products of Australian ranches. Britain as the pioneer of the world industrial revolution had given place to Britain the world's banker, trader and collier . . .

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