growth of the market for industrial goods. Rents rose, and landowners took an increasing share of the national income--a process which was intensified because they paid lower taxes than other groups in society, and benefited from the high proceeds of office during the Napoleonic wars. The nature of landed society could have been a hindrance to industrialization, rather than a help by providing investment in mines, transport, and commercial agriculture. It is conceivable that the rise of food prices and the fall in per capita consumption could, as Ricardo claimed, have led to a deterioration in the standard of living and a squeeze on industrial profits. The growth of markets for industrial goods was less the result of a release of demand by agricultural change than the result of developments within the industrial sector which allowed an extension of markets at lower prices within the urban-industrial economy and abroad, where there was a greater risk of fluctuations and disruption. The major changes in agricultural productivity occurred in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, within a framework of relatively small-scale yeoman farming, through their greater care of the soil and intensification of the work-rate on the farm. The emergence of the great estates and the process of parliamentary enclosure were not so much means of increasing the productivity of land, as part of the shift in income from the farmer to the great landowners. This discussion clearly leads to a major question: why precisely did British agriculture follow its distinctive route towards consolidation and the demise of the yeoman farmer? The emergence of great estates and the destruction of coincidental use-rights led to a much more polarized rural society, which had immense consequences for the nature of social relations in the countryside. Increasingly, landless labourers faced large landowners and tenant farmers across a gulf produced by the disappearance of small proprietors.