"The Industrial Revolution is one of the most celebrated watersheds in human history.
It is no longer regarded as the abrupt discontinuity that its name suggests, for it was the result
of an economic expansion that started in the sixteenth century. Nevertheless, the eighteenth
century does represent a decisive break in the history of technology and the economy. The
famous inventions–the spinning jenny, the steam engine, coke smelting, and so forth–deserve
their renown, for they mark the start of a process that has carried the West, at least, to the
mass prosperity of the twenty-first century. The purpose of this essay is to explain why they
were invented in Britain, in the eighteenth century..."