From: Rakesh Bhandari (rakeshb@STANFORD.EDU)
Date: Thu Oct 09 2003 - 12:03:18 EDT
Citation: Kevin H. O'Rourke, "Review of Joseph E. Inikori Africans and the Industrial Revolution in England: A Study in International Trade and Economic Development" Economic History Services, Oct 7, 2003, URL : http://www.eh.net/bookreviews/library/0692.shtml Africans and the Industrial Revolution in England: A Study in International Trade and Economic Development Inikori, Joseph E. Published by EH.NET (October 2003) Joseph E. Inikori, Africans and the Industrial Revolution in England: A Study in International Trade and Economic Development. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002. xxi + 576 pp. £55 or $75 (hardcover), ISBN: 0-521-81193-7; £19.95 or $29 (paperback), ISBN: 0-521-01079-9. Reviewed for EH.Net by Kevin H. O'Rourke, Department of Economics, Trinity College Dublin. This is a big book in every sense of the word. Drawing on more than two decades of scholarship in the field, Joseph Inikori (University of Rochester) has written a provocative, occasionally frustrating, and ultimately convincing monograph on one of the classic issues in our field, the causes of the British Industrial Revolution. His argument is that international trade was crucial to the success of that revolution, in particular trade with the Atlantic Basin (Africa, the West Indies, and the Americas); and that Africans on both sides of the Atlantic were central to this process, both as consumers and producers. As he shows, the notion that trade was a driving force behind the Industrial Revolution is hardly a novel argument, but it comes as a welcome contrast to the domestically-focused "west is best" arguments that are so common in the literature nowadays. What is more original is his attempt to quantify the volume of "African-produced" commodities entering the Atlantic trade, using occasionally heroic assumptions. The book is also marked by a constant emphasis on the demand-side consequences of international trade for economic growth, with the link being endogenous technological progress caused by the exigencies of producing for the overseas market.
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