A Tall Story? The Standard of Living Debate
Roderick Floud continues our special feature on the Industrial Revolution with a look at the impact of industrialisation on the British people.
Economic history is concerned with the workings of the economy in the past. Its subject matter has often been the institutions and artefacts of production and distribution – factories, banks, ships, machines, fiscal policy or tariffs. But industrial and commercial activity is a means to the end of consumption, and economic growth merely a means to the end of increasing consumption. It is therefore not surprising that the 'longest-running controversy in British economic history' is concerned with the impact of industrialisation and economic growth since 1750 upon the people of Britain.
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