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ECON 3R03 Lecture Notes - Industrial Revolution, Mahatma Gandhi, Spinning Wheel

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Jack Leach

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Ghandi, was a terrible economist. He wanted to be self-sufficient. Prosperity lies in NOT being self-
Output at each production facility needs to be quite large.
Independence and self-sufficiency is the path to poverty and not the path to prosperity.
Expansion of the English cotton industry:
● From almost nothing, the British cotton industry grew until it accounted for 16% of all employment
In 1750, France and England were the leading textile producers they were leaders yet they were not
production much every year. Only produced 3 million pounds of cotton yarn annually
At the same time, Bengal produced 85 million pounds of yarn
Competed against England in some markets (Africa), dominated other markets
1 in 6 workers in England worked in the textile industry
● In 1750 every stage of the production of cotton textiles was done by hand
Cleaning the cotton and removing debris
“Carding”: cotton is placed between two handheld cards studded with pins; the cards are pulled
against each other to align the cotton fibres
A length of fibres—a “roving”—was assembled
The roving was spun into yarn
● The coarser yarns were spun on the spinning wheel
● Very fine yarns were made only in India, using the “spindle and whorl”
Yarn woven into cloth on a hand loom
● All of these steps were mechanized during the industrial revolution
● Again, the mechanization was a response to British factor prices: high wage, cheap capital and cheap
Initially, other countries did not follow the British lead because they had cheaper labour, more
expensive capital
Subsequent innovations were “undirected” and reduced the capital cost of mechanization
By 1850 English-style cotton mills were being built even in low-wage countries
The Spinning Wheel
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