Tag Archives: Sven Beckert

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, Empire of Cotton, global history, historians of capitalism, Sven Beckert | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 33 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, 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, global history, historians of capitalism, Industrial Revolution, Slavery | Tagged , , , , , , , | 17 Comments