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Aug 3, 2012

At last, realism on the industrial revolution

On many occasions we find out on deeper research, that some of the traditional villains of history have in fact been heroes who, rather than being simply predators actually improved the lot of mankind. Generally in the case of individuals who succeeded and made fortunes, that in itself has been held against them.

One such case that has been mentioned here before was John D Rockefeller, the man who saved the whales from extinction and provided the poor with affordable lighting. John formed Standard Oil and through efficiency and research lowered the price of kerosene to the point where the poorest households could afford it and so, put whalers out of business.

It is refreshing therefore to find an articulate supporter of Britain’s industrial revolution, which in the modern era has a bad reputation from it’s many detractors. London’s Olympic opening ceremony was a left wing propaganda fest in which that period of history was depicted by smoking chimneys and the usual imagery of an era where power generation was in its infancy.

Rodney Atkinson, brother of actor Rowan, has stepped up to the plate with a defense of that time:

Rowan Atkinson's amusing turn was one of the highlights of the Olympics opening ceremony, but his brother, Rodney, is not impressed with Danny Boyle’s production. “It had strong strands of the parochial Left,” claims Atkinson, who was annoyed by the ceremony’s “assumption that the industrial revolution was oppressive.”

“The truth was that it emancipated us all and especially the ex-rural workers who suffered heavy labour in cold, rain and heat. They then had, by comparison, much less strenuous, mechanised lives.”

The academic adds: “Obviously, the pseudo-intellectual Left have never worked on a farm, as Rowan and I did when we were young. The Left never understand internationalism and the wealth which arises from free trade among free peoples and cultures. That is Britain’s greatest achievement.”

"Their aim is supra-national, where peoples and cultures are subsumed, as they were in this ceremony, into a 'levelling’ Statist mish-mash, which inevitably leads to failure and conflict.”
The alternative to industrialization was the continuance of the cottage industry economy, where products were produced on a small scale by labour intensive methods at high cost. Prior to this era products, which we take for granted, were only affordable by the very wealthy. With the benefits of mass production, not only was the workforce transformed to better conditions, but were more productive and better off.

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