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Re: Ch. 7: The Turning Point
A fundamental problem of extractive governments is that those in power have a fear of creative destruction. WNF gives us a wonderful example of this with William Lee's invention of the stocking frame in 1589 which could knit textiles many times faster than the traditional methods. Yet he was denied a patent because the powers that be saw it as a negative. They felt that it would put people out of work, create instability and threaten their own position of power.
In England, more quickly than in other countries, events took place that would slowly but steadily erode the power of the monarchy - the Magna Carta, The Peasant's Revolt, the Civil War, the Glorious Revolution, protests against the Corn Laws etc.
In the 1700's, even though only 2% of the population could vote, people were able to influence parliament in other ways. I was surprised to read how common and how effective the petition was. Apparently petitions by competitors were very effective in getting rid of monopolies that were granted by the crown:
"Anybody could petition parliament, and petition they did. Significantly, when people petitioned, Parliament listened. It is this more than anything that reflects the defeat of absolutism"
This was one of a number of critical junctures that worked together to produce the beginning of the Industrial Revolution in England.
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