Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE (www.oxfordhandbooks.com). © Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 26 June 2019

Abstract and Keywords

During the eighteenth century Europeans embarked on a revolutionary phase of economic growth and social change, the full environmental costs of which are only just beginning to be recognized. Breaking free from an essentially subsistence economy to embrace the market and long-distance trade, they led the world into sustained economic growth. This has allowed the unprecedented phenomenon of long-term population increase in tandem with a rising standard of living; previously one type of gain had always been at the other's expense, as never before had it been possible to expand an economy fast enough to accommodate both. The causes of this shift into sustained (if ultimately unsustainable) economic growth are still debated, but there can be no doubt that the fundamental driver has been technological change. This article explores the nature of those new technologies and reasons why Europeans began to invest (literally and metaphorically) in technical innovation.

Keywords: economic growth, social change, technological change, Europeans, long-distance trade, technical innovation, new technologies

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.