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The Intellectual Origins of Modern Economic Growth

  • JOEL MOKYR (a1)

The intellectual origins of the Industrial Revolution are traced back to the Baconian program of the seventeenth century, which aimed at expanding the set of useful knowledge and applying natural philosophy to solve technological problems and bring about economic growth. The eighteenth-century Enlightenment in the West carried out this program through a series of institutional developments that both increased the amount of knowledge and its accessibility to those who could make best use of it. Without the Enlightenment, therefore, an Industrial Revolution could not have transformed itself into the sustained economic growth starting in the early nineteenth century.

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