Africans and the Industrial Revolution in England: A Study in International Trade and Economic Development

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.


This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Fri Oct 10 2003 - 00:00:00 EDT