Why was Britain first?
The Industrial Revolution was one of the most significant turning points in human history. It not only introduced new technologies but also changed everyday life, brought the agricultural as well as the industrial industry forward and improved living standards. It first started in Britain and spreaded then over other countries in Europe and overseas. But why did it actually start in Britain in first place? What is it that differentiates Britain from other countries and made it become an outrider?
One of the very important preconditions, which Britain had, was its geographical advantage. As an island Britain was only reached by sea in former centuries and was therefore much easier to defend. Great Britain was the only country in Europe not affected by the Napoleonic War and therefore didn’t suffer financial or economic breakdown. In addition Britain is surrounded by water externally as well as within the country which allowed them a much easier distribution of goods. Travelling by water was quicker as well as cheaper than travelling by land. But Britain also possessed a large domestic market, which differentiated Britain from other countries such as France where the market was split up regionally and where tariffs and tolls posed a problem.
In addition, the new introduced enclosure system in agriculture and the selective breeding led to a higher productivity, which finally caused a rearrangement in the sectors. Inventions in agricultural technology led to a higher capital-intensive production and unleashed workforce, which was forced to pour into the cities where the main part of the industry took place. Only the higher productivity in agriculture allowed this change as now the population employed in agriculture provided the food for the townspeople. Basically there was a switch from the agricultural to the industrial sector, both in people employed and total revenue.
Another important advantage that Britain differentiated from...
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