Category Archives: cotton textiles

Labour repression & the Indo-Japanese divergence

There used to be more research and debate on the negative effects of labour resistance on economic development, but that topic has been crowded out by the intense focus on inequality of recent years. There now prevails a quiet presumption … Continue reading

Posted in cotton, cotton textiles, India, Japan, labour, Lancashire, New England textiles, strikes | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

The Calico Acts: Was British cotton made possible by infant industry protection from Indian competition?

Many “global historians” argue that the British cotton industry was the product of (unintentional) infant industry protection from Indian competition in the 18th century. The various Calico Acts created an import-substitution industry by banning Indian cloths and reserving the home market for British producers. This … Continue reading

Posted in cotton, cotton textiles, import substitution industrialization, industrial policy, Industrial Revolution, Infant industry argument, protectionism, trade & development | Tagged , , , , , , | 14 Comments

The Napoleonic blockade & the infant industry argument: caveats, limitations, reservations

Some caveats and reservations about the Napoleonic blockade paper on the infant industry argument that’s making waves. My caveat: protection persisted for decades after the blockade and may have helped keep the French cotton industry backward relative to Britain.

Posted in cotton, cotton textiles, France, import substitution industrialization, industrial policy, Industrial Revolution, Infant industry argument, protectionism, trade & development | Tagged , , , , , , | 14 Comments

Tariff Protection of British cotton 1774-1820s

British Tariff Protection after 1774: Competition, Innovation, & Misallocation, plus a note on Weaving This is an addendum to a post about the Calico Acts, which had prohibited within Britain the consumption of cotton cloths both foreign and domestic. But even after … Continue reading

Posted in cotton, cotton textiles, industrial policy, Industrial Revolution, Infant industry argument, international trade, protectionism, trade & development | 1 Comment

Sven Beckert’s Empire of Cotton: A Reductionist Summary

Historian Sven Beckert’s widely acclaimed book, Empire of Cotton: A New History of Global Capitalism, is a good agrarian, business, and labour history of a single commodity. But as economic history it’s not so good.

Posted in cotton, cotton textiles, Empire of Cotton, global history, historians of capitalism, Sven Beckert | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 37 Comments

McCloskey: Cotton wasn’t crucial to the Industrial Revolution

I (mostly) copy-and-paste Deirdre McCloskey’s argument that cotton was not crucial to the Industrial Revolution in Britain. I also have a very brief rant about historians’ erasure of Robert Fogel from historiographic memory.

Posted in cotton, cotton textiles, great divergence, historians of capitalism, Industrial Revolution, Slavery | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 27 Comments

Was slavery necessary for the Industrial Revolution ?

Did western industrialisation require American slave cotton ? What coal and sugar might tell us. (Short answer: It’s reasonable and plausible to argue slavery accelerated the industrial revolution, but not enabled it. It’s profoundly unreasonable to say the IR could not have happened … Continue reading

Posted in cotton, cotton textiles, global history, historians of capitalism, Industrial Revolution, Slavery | Tagged , , , , , , , | 18 Comments