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Arnold Toynbee 1884_lectures on the Industrial Revolution in England

Arnold Toynbee 1884_lectures on the Industrial Revolution in England

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Published by: luiz carvalho on Apr 21, 2011
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Lectures on TheIndustrial Revolutionin England
Arnold Toynbee
I IntroductoryThe subject of these lectures is the industrial and AgrarianRevolution at the end of the eighteenth and beginning of thenineteenth centuries. The course is divided into three parts. Thefirst deals with Adam Smith and the England of his time. It willdescribe England on the eve of the Industrial Revolution, and thesystem of regulation and protection of industry as it existed in1760. It will give also an outline of Adam Smith's hook, its aimsand character, and especially his theory of free trade. Thesecond part will group itself round the work of Malthus, whodealt not so much with the causes of wealth as with the causes of poverty, with the distribution of wealth rather than with itsproduction. It will describe England in the midst of theindustrial Revolution, and will inquire into the problem of pauperism and the subjects connected with it. The third part willhe associated with the name of Ricardo, and will deal withEngland at the time of the Peace. It will discuss the doctrine of rent and wages together with certain theories of economicprogress, and will cover the questions of currency, so muchagitated at that period, and the history of the commercial andfinancial changes which followed the Peace.I have chosen the subject because it was in this period thatmodern Political Economy took its rise. It has been a weakness of the science, as pursued in England, that it has been too muchdissociated from History. Adam Smith and Malthus, indeed, hadhistorical minds; but the form of modern text-books is due toRicardo, whose mind was entirely unhistorical. Yet there is adouble advantage in combining the two studies. In the first placePolitical Economy is better understood by this means. Abstractpropositions are seen in a new light when studied in relation tothe facts which were before the writer at the time when heformulated them. So regarded they are at once more vivid and lesslikely to mislead. Ricardo becomes painfully interesting when heread the history of his time. And, in the second place, Historyalso is better understood when studied in connection withPolitical Economy; for the latter not only teaches us in readingHistory to look out for the right kind of facts, but enables us
to explain many phenomena like those attending the introductionof enclosures and machinery, or the effects of different systemsof currency, which without its assistance would remainunintelligible. The careful deductive reasoning, too, whichPolitical Economy teaches is of great importance to thehistorian, and the habits of mind acquired from it are even morevaluable than the knowledge of principles which it gives,especially to students of facts, who might otherwise beoverwhelmed by the mass of their materials.Of late years, however, there has been a steady sustainedattack upon the abstract Deductive Method of Political Economypursued by Ricardo and Mill, and an attempt to set up historicalinvestigation in its place as the only true method of economicinquiry. This attack rests on a misconception of the function of the Deductive Method. The best exposition of the place of Abstract Political Economy is to be found in Bagehot's EconomicStudies. Bagehot points out that this abstract science holds goodonly upon certain assumptions, but though the assumptions areoften not entirely correct, the results may yet be approximatelytrue. Thus the economists, firstly, regard only one part of man'snature, and treat him simply as a money-making animal; secondly,they disregard the influence of custom, and only take account of competition. Certain laws are laid down under these assumptions;as, for instance, that the rate of wages always tends to anequality, the permanent difference obtaining in variousemployments being only sufficient to balance the favourable orunfavourable circumstances attending each of them-a law which isonly true after a certain stage of civilisation and in so far asthe acquisition of wealth is the sole object of men. Suchhypothetical laws, though leading only to rough conclusions, areyet useful in giving us a point of view from which to observe andindicate the existence of strong over-mastering tendencies.Advocates of the Historical Method, like Mr Cliffe Leslie,therefore, go too far when they condemn the Deductive Method asradically false. There is no real opposition between the two. Theapparent opposition is due to a wrong use of deduction; to aneglect on the part of those employing it to examine closelytheir assumptions and to bring their conclusions to the test of 

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