conclusion that 'the major economic consequence of the enclosure of open field arable in the eighteenth century was to redistribute the existing agricultural income, not to create additional income by raising efficiency'. 41 Ricardo would not have been surprised, and even Young, the arch-advocate of enclosure, hinted at the possibility of redistribution. 'If profit be measured by a percentage on the capital employed, the old system might, at the old rents, exceed the profits of the new; and this is certainly the farmers' view of the comparison.' 42 He nevertheless went on to argue that higher rents reflected efficiency; there was a discrepancy between his data and his ideology. He took high rents as a sign of progress, and emphasized the introduction of new crops such as clover and turnips as a result of the initiative of landlords, who merited their higher rents as the agents of modernization. In fact, parliamentary enclosure was a final step in a long process of change which produced a further small increment of improvement rather than a sudden, revolutionary change in farming and spectacular gains in output. Its most important outcome was to increase the share of income taken by the landed élite; it was part of the creation of a more hierarchical rural society of large landed estates and tenant farmers facing a mass of landless labourers. The rise of the great estates, enclosure, and clearances produced a major change in rural society, but were not crucial to the improvement of yields and output. Perhaps Ricardo and the late nineteenth-century critics of landowners were right: they obtained an unearned increment which could be appropriated through taxation. In the early nineteenth century, the outcome was very different, for landowners instead shifted the burden of taxation to other groups in society, and maintained their higher rents by protection. The redistribution of income, and its maintenance by state policy, had serious political and economic repercussions, leading to radical attacks and demands for parliamentary reform to make policy more accountable, and encouraging a shift from domestic markets to exports.