Market-Supporting Institutions, Gild Organisations, and the Industrial Revolution: A Comparative View



This article investigates the conditions for the emergence of the agents of the Industrial Revolution by comparing the market-supporting institutions in pre-modern England and China. Market-supporting institutions in pre-modern England supported group mobility and expansion of laws, which permitted the forthcoming of new entrepreneurs critical for launching industrial ventures. By contrast, market-supporting institutions in pre-modern China, although supporting individual mobility, led to stable social stratification and stagnancy in law development, which did not provide appropriate conditions for the emergence of industrial entrepreneurs.