3 comments on “Ashkenazi and the Industrial Revolution

  1. The Ashkenazi Jews had nothing to do with the early stages of the Industrial revolution: nothing to do with with people like Boulton and Watt.
    The timing is wrong.

  2. > This isn’t a complete explanation of the industrial revolution – for one thing, it doesn’t explain why England developed faster than France.

    And as you say, it is dependent on the timing being right; when the IR should be identified as starting is an old argument. Clark in _A Farewell to Alms_ identifies a number of different starting points; apparently as late as 1860 has been seriously suggested.

    Also, the Ashkenazi are a really small group and not famous for their involvement in steam or shipping or other areas identified with industrialization, and the IR was a massive worldwide shift, so the imbalance makes me skeptical. It’d be a lot more plausible numerically if the shift started with Protestants or just Calvinists.

  3. Suggested reading and considered an old classic:

    A somewhat more interesting question for me on closely related matter:
    Hasn’t southern slavery in the United States been passed off as by most historians “pre-modern” or “pre-industrial”, when in reality it survived precisely because of the industrial modernity of Eli Whitney’s cotton gin ?
    And didn’t slavery in the antebellum United States actually provide surplus investment capital to spur industrial growth ?
    That’s why so many of our historic American industrial giants like the railroads and shipping companies employed slave labor.
    And why the first US insurance companies (many headquartered in the north) underwrote and often ensured losses from the slave trade.

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