This book focuses on the importance of ideological and institutional factors in the rapid development of the British economy during the years between the Glorious Revolution and the Crystal Palace Exhibition. Joel Mokyr shows that we cannot understand the Industrial Revolution without recognizing the importance of the intellectual sea changes of Britain’s Age of Enlightenment.
In a vigorous discussion, Mokyr goes beyond the standard explanations that credit geographical factors, the role of markets, politics, and society to show that the beginnings of modern economic growth in Britain depended a great deal on what key players knew and believed, and how those beliefs affected their economic behavior. He argues that Britain led the rest of Europe into the Industrial Revolution because it was there that the optimal intersection of ideas, culture, institutions, and technology existed to make rapid economic growth achievable. His wide-ranging evidence covers sectors of the British economy often neglected, such as the service industries.
“Mokyr’s book is a splendid achievement.”-Edward Glaeser, The New Republic
“It is impossible to do justice to the subtlety and detail of "The Enlightened Economy"; it is the product of a lifetime of research and thought, and stands as a landmark work of history...its perceptive examination of the birth of economic prosperity holds many arresting insights for our fraught economic times” -Trevor Butterworth, Wall Street Journal