Explain and critically assess the significance of innovations exploiting abundant resources in the British Industrial Revolution.

1. Explain and critically assess the significance of innovations exploiting abundant resources in the British Industrial Revolution. Hence discuss alternative explanations that have been put forward to account for the changes observed in the Industrial Revolution.
Guidance:
In the first part of your essay you set out briefly what were the abundant resources (esp. coal and iron), going on to identify the key innovations generally associated with the (first) Industrial Revolution whether or not they exploited the abundant resources. Include developments in steam power, including the engineering skills needed in the construction of machines; innovations in textiles manufacture (esp. cotton spinning); and other industries (you choose). You should then be ready to offer the assessment called for in the question, noting aspects of the innovations that may be neglected in seeking to account for the Industrial Revolution (e.g., the role of international trade).
Moving on to the second part of the question, you should identify alternative explanations that have been proposed, including at least the role of Enlightenment ideas as put forward especially by Joel Mokyr. In your discussion, you should acknowledge that there is no single correct explanation, though your assessment may allow that some have more credence than others in view of the available evidence.
Getting started references (See EC120 Reading List for details):
Allen, R.C. The British Industrial Revolution in Global Perspective, ch. 4 and 6.
Crafts, N. Explaining the first Industrial Revolution: two views, European Review of Economic History, vol.15, April 2011, pp. 153168.

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