This is a class devoted to learning about the momentous changes in economic organization and technology, and the tremendous gains in economic productivity, that took place in Great Britain between 1760 and 1830—a period that has come to be known as the (first) Industrial Revolution. The class addresses several major questions: (1) What changes took place, and in what sense were they "revolutionary"? (2) Why did these changes occur? (3) Why did they first occur in Great Britain, rather than elsewhere? (4) What were the changes economic and social consequences (in particular, can they be said to have improved laborers' living standards)? (5) Why, despite the Industrial Revolution, does so much of the world remain mired in poverty to this day?
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