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Lecture 2: Slow Growth and Poverty in the North Atlantic, 1800-1870 For Tuesday September 1, 2009 J. Bradford DeLong Professor of Economics, U.C. Berkeley Research Associate, NBER This Draft: July 28, 2009 From “The Owdham Weyver”:1 I’m a poor cotton weaver, as many a one knows, I’ve nowt to eat i’ the house an’ I’ve worn outo my cloas You’d hardly give sixpence for all I have on, My clugs they are brossen and stockings I’ve none, You’d think it wur hard to be sent into th’ world, To clem and do th’ best ’ot you con. Our church parson kept telling us long, We should have better times if we’d hold our tongues, I’ve houden my tongue till I can hardly draw breath, I think i’ my heart he means to clem me to death; I know he lives weel by backbiting the de’il, But he never picked o’er in his life… 6.1: Back to the Past: 1870 Take the WABAC machine back in time to 1870. Why 1870? One reason is that we have to start sometime—an economic history of the twentieth century does not properly begin with East African Plains Apes evolving language back on the veldt. More important is that the years around 1870 are a sea change, because they do contain inflection points in three important aspects of material life: communication (with implications for finance and organization); transportation (with implications not just for 1

Econ 115: Lecture 2: Slow Growth and Poverty in the North Atlantic, 1800-1870 (September 1, 200)

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