Role of Government and Market in Industrialization

Role of Government and Market in Industrialization

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Role of Government and Market in Industrialization

The increase in demand and labor that a growing population supplied were crucial to the development of industrial capitalism; and substantial growth in population undoubtedly took place over the century, from 5.83 million in England and Wales in 1701 to 9.16 million in 1801.

In this course of affairs, although, at home, demand from the poorer classes undoubtedly led to increase in agricultural production and the transport industries which were linked to it,  it was the middle-class demand that merits attention. There was a long history to this development, but it created a market for substantial rather than fine goods, in other words, those suitable for machine production. A rise in income before 1740 and a combination of the rise of middle classes and growth of overseas market after 1740 gave a substantial scope to the market for industrial capitalism.

Large centers of production were controlled by the government. Government orders for munitions were of importance to the iron industry, wool and textile industries. The Navigation Act (initially passed in 1660), and related legislation, were important to the shipbuilding industry since they required that trade with the colonies and carriage of goods from Asia, Africa and America could only be done on English ships. The government followed a protectionist policy of considerable scope (general import duties rising from 10% in 1698 to 15% in 1704 to 20% in 1747, 25% in 1759, 30% in 1779 and 35% in 1782. Most celebrated was the duty on corn imports, established by the Corn Law (initially passed in 1670) by a sliding scale, which varied from 25% of the home price to a minor charge when that price was particularly high.

After the period of spirited growth described above, industrial capitalism in Britain was consolidated in the mid-nineteenth century, partly through participation in the international construction of railways. Other emerging Industrial nations increasingly placed British production under severe competition after the 1870s, which is described as the beginnings of the Great Depression. This “depression” affected both agriculture and industry: the former as a result of the arrival of cheap grain from North America on British markets from the 1870s, and the latter because of competition from newly industrializing nations.

Role of Government and Market in Industrialization, Role of Government and Market in Industrialization, Role of Government and Market in Industrialization, Role of Government and Market in Industrialization
Role of Government and Market in Industrialization, Role of Government and Market in Industrialization

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