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Modern Day Economic Conditions During The Industrial Revolution

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Although modern day economic conditions are vastly different when compared to the economic conditions that the British had while they were industrializing, China most closely resembles Britain as it entered into the industrial revolution. Today, China is one of the fastest growing industrializing economies in the world (GDP growth rate ~8%) and can credit this to their shift from an agrarian economy to an industrial economy, their abundance of natural resources, cheap labor, and rapid urbanization.
A common underpinning for industrialization in 18th century Britain and modern day China is that both took advantage of a large abundance of natural resources. As Gerard Turnbull (Canals, coal and regional growth during the industrial revolution) and Robert Allen have argued, cheap coal served as a competitive advantage for Britain as they entered into the industrial revolution. Britain had an abundance of cheap coal (largely due to lower transportation costs that favored the lowest cost producers) that supported a high wage economy and made macro-inventions and technological advancements more cost effective. In comparison, modern China, has taken their consumption of natural resources to another level, and has become the world’s top consumer of fossil fuels. China was able to keep natural resource costs relatively low over the last few decades in part because the government has prioritized the development of an extensive highway system to connect the natural resource-rich
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