Pat Hudson
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Slavery, the slave trade and economic growth
A contribution to the debate
in Emancipation and the remaking of the British imperial world
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Acceptance of the arguments opened by Eric Williams and extended by Joseph Inikori about the role of slavery in the precocious industrialisation of Britain has fluctuated among economic historians, often bedevilled by lack of understanding of what precisely Williams did and did not argue. This chapter by Pat Hudson offers a close reading of Williams in the light of current knowledge, and provides an authoritative re-assessment of slavery and the slave-trade within a sophisticated narrative of industrialisation, covering both the era of British colonial slavery and the subsequent decades of British engagement with other salve-economies. Focusing on raw material supply and on the evolution of critical mechanics and institutional frameworks of credit, and insisting on the importance of regional and sectoral analysis, this paper marks the re-incorporation of Williams into the leading edge of work on the Industrial Revolution.

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