The industrial revolution as an energy revolution

Smith and Ricardo as growth pessimists

They thought regarding three basic factors of production, i.e. land, labour, and capital. The latter two were with the capacity of indefinite expansion in principle however the first was not. The region of land that could be utilized for production was limited, yet its output was basic – not only to the way to obtain food but of virtually all the recycleables which entered into material production. This is self-evidently true of animal and vegetable recycleables – wool, cotton, leather, timber, etc. Nonetheless it was also true of most mineral production because the smelting of ores required much heat which was obtained from wood and charcoal. Expanding material production meant finding a greater level of produce from the land but that subsequently meant either taking into cultivation land of inferior quality, or using existing land more intensively, or both. This necessarily meant at some time that returns both to capital and labour would fall. In a nutshell, the very procedure for growth ensured that it might not be continued indefinitely. This is a basic characteristic of most “organic” economies, those that were universal prior to the industrial revolution. Adam Smith summarised the problem the following: