Chapter 3. A New Revolution?

The first Industrial Revolution, which straddled the 18th and 19th centuries, was brought about by the introduction of machines into the production cycle—in particular the flying shuttle, which mechanized weaving, and steam power, which replaced human and animal muscle with a tireless engine.

This revolution changed everything. Living standards and education rose for millions of people. Global empires not only became possible but also, for the first time, practical. The earth’s atmosphere saw its highest carbon dioxide levels in 800,000 years. Language changed, as words like job and work acquired their current-day meanings. Even the way we viewed time changed: before the Industrial Revolution the average person usually ...

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