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Supervision 1: Population Growth and Agriculture during the Industrial Revolution British Economic History, Paper 5, Part I Essay 2 'Agriculture played a fundamental role in British industrialisation.' (a) Explain the main ways in which agriculture can theoretically influence industrialisation. (b) Discuss which of these possible influences is supported by the empirical findings for Britain.
The transformation of a preindustrialized economy into the industrial age causes cataclysmic changes in many sectors. As the agricultural sector is by far the biggest part in any preindustrialized country, industrialization can never be uncoupled from developments in agriculture. One would expect the primary sector to play a fundamental role, either contributing to or maybe hampering technological and economic progress in an economy. So what are the main aspects in which the alteration of agriculture can exert influence on industrialization? Does agriculture play an active role in stimulating the development of a manufacturing sector, or does it merely respond to changes in other sectors of the economy?
All of our examined aspects will be related to an increase in agricultural productivity and its implications. This increase can be achieved by new farming methods, technical innovations, institutional change (especially enclosure) and a market
oriented framework. First of all, we can consider the release of labour. As the agricultural sector becomes more productive, it can produce more output per worker. Therefore, farmers can release labour into other areas; workers who would be 1
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