Understanding the Industrial Revolution

By Charles More | Go to book overview

Chapter 6

Market size and integration

Up to now market size has been considered primarily in relation to invention, but Adam Smith emphasised the advantages of a large market because of the potential it offered for the division of labour: ‘Smithian growth’. Market size depended on the effective integration of local markets into regional markets, and of these into a national market which in turn could be integrated internationally. All these processes, particularly national and international integration, were heavily influenced by transport change. These topics, and their relationship to the process of industrialisation, form the agenda for this chapter.


Regional development

Discussion of industrial regions is bedevilled by definitional problems since even geographers, who ought to know, cannot agree on what constitutes a region. Here regions will be taken as continuous land areas in which the inputs to economic activities were largely homogeneous and the outputs related to each other in some way. Even with such a definition, however, it is convenient to let convention override it to some extent. Lancashire and Cheshire, Yorkshire and the East Midlands together formed a continuous area in which inputs included waterpower and local coal, and outputs textiles and engineering goods, but conventionally they are treated as separate regions. On the other hand, London had an enormous diversity of outputs but is always regarded as a region. It should also be noted that, with the exception of London, conventional British regions used for statistical aggregation all contain large agricultural areas and thus regional statistics do not indicate the true extent of change in industrialising areas.

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Understanding the Industrial Revolution
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Figures vi
  • Tables vii
  • Preface viii
  • The Scope of the Industrial Revolution 1
  • Models of the Industrial Revolution 9
  • Capital Accumulation 29
  • Labour Supply 51
  • Demand 70
  • Inventors and Entrepreneurs 95
  • Market Size and Integration 113
  • Industrialisation and Living Standards 138
  • Conclusion 158
  • Index 182
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