The Industrial Revolution and the Colonial Conundrum

Source: EconLog
by Adnan Abbasi

“It is often argued by the classical liberal thinkers that ideas of individual liberty were the driving force behind the Industrial Revolution. Intellectuals like Steven Pinker and Deirdre McCloskey see the revolution in a very linear fashion. They argue that people lived in pitiful conditions before the great industrial revolution came as a knight in shining armor to lift them up. However, the Industrial Revolution also provided newer tools which acted as catalyst for the exponential growth of colonialism, which curtailed individual liberty across the continents. Can we then, as classical liberals/libertarians, claim the credit of the Industrial Revolution, but choose to overlook the loss of liberty in the colonies established by the newly industrialized nations?” (07/31/22)