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Forum Post: The Enclosure Acts and the Industrial Revolution

Posted 2 years ago on March 8, 2012, 7:23 p.m. EST by darrenlobo (204)
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

“Enclosure” refers to the consolidation of land, usually for the stated purpose of making it more productive. The British Enclosure Acts removed the prior rights of local people to rural land they had often used for generations. As compensation, the displaced people were commonly offered alternative land of smaller scope and inferior quality, sometimes with no access to water or wood. The lands seized by the acts were then consolidated into individual and privately owned farms, with large, politically connected farmers receiving the best land. Often, small landowners could not afford the legal and other associated costs of enclosure and so were forced out.

http://www.fff.org/comment/com1203h.asp

6 Comments

6 Comments


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[-] 1 points by beautifulworld (20467) 2 years ago

I don't know anything about the author, but Wendy McElroy is taking an extremely libertarian view of the enclosures blaming the government for the outcome. I bet she's a libertarian.

The enclosures in England, according to most historians, are a precursor to capitalism and many rest the marking point of the beginning of capitalism on the enclosures.

[-] 1 points by darrenlobo (204) 2 years ago

Yes, Wendy is a libertarian. She makes the point that enclosures were around for centuries before the capitalist era.

Anyway, capitalism is about private trade not govt action.

[-] 1 points by RedSkyMorning (220) 2 years ago

A good historical overview. Industrialization was ugly, causing a lot of homelessness and forcing workers into the awful conditions of factories. Many countries are going through this process today, but attempting to go through it faster, causing more harm to families. communities and the environment.

[-] 1 points by darrenlobo (204) 2 years ago

The point of the article is that the problem wasn't industrialization but govt action.

[-] 1 points by RedSkyMorning (220) 2 years ago

Ok, I didn't read it. But how is that different than what I said? The closing of the commons was a result of industrialization. The change of power from the feudal lords to the middle class industrialists caused it, not so much "government policy." The king in England had little power by the 19th century after the Glorious Revolution.

[-] 1 points by darrenlobo (204) 2 years ago

LOL Thanks for the honesty.