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The Machinery Question and the Making of Political Economy 1815-1848 - Maxine Berg

The Machinery Question and the Making of Political Economy 1815-1848

Paperback Published: 5th April 1982
ISBN: 9780521287593
Number Of Pages: 392

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For those who lived through it, Britain's Industrial Revolution was experienced as the Machinery Question. It was far from clear to contemporaries whether the first forms of mechanized factory production heralded an inevitable economic revolution, or were but one course among several which might be modified or eventually rejected altogether, Opinion about the necessity or beneficence of machines was profoundly divided at all levels of society; the often acrimonious debate that arose reverberated through economic, political, cultural and intellectual life. Crucially important for the development of this debate, because it was the source of the very terms of discussion, was the new discipline of Political Economy. The major contention of this book is that the Machinery Question was also the making of Political Economy. Dr Berg argues that technical change was one of the foremost theoretical concerns of Ricardo and his successors, and the foundation for their distinctly optimistic view of the future. She shows how the Machinery Question fostered the social conditions in which the status of Political Economy as a discipline was established, and concludes that by the 1840s the divisions over machinery were firmly embedded in the great rival creeds of the future, liberalism and socialism. The book will interest teachers and students of British social and economic history, the history of economic thought and the history of science and technology.

Industry Reviews

Taken from the hardback review: 'Maxine Berg has written a quite brilliant study of an issue which was not only the largest factor determining the early pattern of development of political economy in this country, but also formed the basis of some of the great political arguments of the first half of the nineteenth century.' S. B. Saul in The Times Higher Education Supplement

The machinery question
The age of machinery
The progress of the machine
The advent of political economy
The political economy of machinery
Ricardo's chapter
Political economy and the division of labour
Political economy and capital
A science of machinery
The scientific movement
The order of the factory
The politics of machinery
The export of machinery
The handloom weavers
The social critics of machinery
Social Reformers
Epilogue: Beyond machinery
Engels and mill
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780521287593
ISBN-10: 0521287596
Audience: Tertiary; University or College
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 392
Published: 5th April 1982
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 22.86 x 15.24  x 2.21
Weight (kg): 0.57