Foreigners traveled to Britain to learn manufacturing , and British entrepreneurs and workers began to set up operations abroad. In 1764, the French dispatched a scientist to study British metallurgy, and once returned, the new methods were employed, developing one of France's great iron manufacturing firms, the de Wendel company. The economic legislation effective in Britain, was emulated in such countries as France, helping to pave the way for industrialisation in Western Europe. Such legislation introduced in early nineteenth century included the abolition of guilds in the neighbouring territories of France, Belgium and Germany. French restrictions on the movement of labor and technical innovation were removed, as well as internal trade barriers. Commercial law was regularised. (Stearns, 1993: 41-42)
The appeal of the industrialised nation was prevalent in the minds of the populace. Cipolla et. al. (1976: 98) writes, "the quickening pace of technological change began to provide glimpses of abundance which could make dreams of affluence possible". Many Romanticists accuse the Industrial Revolution of corrupting the human mind and environment. The latter can be proven, though the former is disputable. If generations before the Industrial Revolution all sought for prosperity, many limitations prevented their 'ascension'. Deane (in Snooks, 1994: 3) asserts, "it is fair to say that before the second half of the eighteenth century people had no reason to expect [economic] growth". The Industrial Revolution made it possible for the whole populace to have higher standards of living. Average consumption rose dramatically, a 45-72% increase between the years 1820-1850, having remained unchanged between 1760 and 1820. (Snooks, 1994: 12) A greater percentage of an increased income was spent on personal services, luxuries, education, entertainment, travel, and on other forms of "conspicuous consumption". Table 3 illustrates the amount of expenditure on these goods and services relating to income.
Ernest Engel (in Cipolla et. al, 1976: 115) was right when saying "the proportion of income spent on foods falls as income rises". With the advent of this 'middle class' mentality settling in the masses, and the Industrial Age serving the people, Gaia suffered in humanity's self-interest.
Back to Industrial Revolution