Greg Clark argues that eighteenth and early nineteenth century England would have urbanized and "industrialized" even in the absence of the revolutions in spinning, weaving, and ironworking: <http://delong.typepad.com/teaching_spring_2006/2008/03/the-industriali.html>

More hyper-industrial-revolution revisionism from Greg Clark: <http://delong.typepad.com/teaching_spring_2006/2008/03/what-was-the-in.html>:
"[I]f we want to locate the Industrial Revolution as the beginning of the era of sustained productivity growth then the [sixteenth-century] Dutch have as good a case as the British. If we want to locate it in the era of very widespread productivity growth affecting large sectors of the economy, then the US in the after the 1870s is the best candidate....
"[...]
"[T]he conclusion is that there was little productivity growth in the Industrial Revolution era beyond that explained by the technological revolution in textiles... the accident that textiles were exported on a large scale by 1800, explained by the need to import large quantities of food and raw materials given English population growth after 1760, accounts for a substantial fraction of the gains in productivity. The Industrial Revolution becomes very narrow. It can then be interpreted as just another isolated technological advance [like printing or very long-distance trade that] European economies had been witnessing since at least the fifteenth century..."



From Greg Clark (2001), "The Secret History of the Industrial Revolution":
The modest productivity growth rates of the Industrial Revolution owed mostly to productivity gains in one sector, textile manufacture. It was accidents of demand, demography, and trade that allowed innovations in this sector to have a much bigger impact than previous innovations of similar magnitude in terms of [aggregate economy-wide] productivity gains.... The southern two thirds of England saw almost no growth in output per capita or productivity growth in the Industrial Revolution.... Other places in Europe in the years 1200 to 1760 saw similar episodes of productivity growth that were as substantial as those in England from 1760 to 1860. Thus between 1550 and 1650 the Netherlands saw significant productivity advance.
The appearance that the Industrial Revolution in England represented a decisive break from the past is largely a product of the unusual demographic experience... demographic growth would have spurred industrialization absent any productivity advance... by driving up land rentals and creating urbanization... [spurring] enclosure of common lands, improvements in transportation, the expansion of coal mining, and perhaps also the fall in interest rates...
[...]
The aggregate productivity growth rate is just the sum of the productivity growth rates of individual sectors weighted by their share in national outputs.... The cotton textile industry experienced very rapid productivity growth in the Industrial Revolution era.... The estimated total factor productivity in spinning and weaving cotton cloth increased 22 fold from the 1770s to the 1860s, implying an annual productivity growth rate of 3.1% per year... cotton, and the associated industries of linen (assumed to have the same productivity growth as cottons) and woolens to overall TFP growth... of 0.26% out of 0.40%. Thus nearly two thirds of the productivity growth rate can be explained by essentially one set of innovations, and by industries that employed less than 10% of the labor force in 1851. The great mass of the economy, including agriculture, construction, services, and most manufacturing saw very little productivity increase. The gains in income per capita were thus the result of a lucky technological advance in one area....
Even with a textile revolution the effects of productivity growth in textiles on the TFP of the whole economy crucially depended on the ability of Britain to export these products on a large scale. Even though the share of cottons and woolens was never large, this share was only attained because of very substantial exports of cotton and woolen goods. Thus by the 1860s at least two thirds of English cotton goods output was exported, and about one third of woolens. These exports were traded in world markets for foods and raw materials demanded by England’s rapidly growing population. Had these industries produced only for the home market then the productivity growth rate from 1765 to 1865 would have dropped by a third....
[T]his ability to export textiles was a purely adventitious thing. Textile products were tradable, and the growing population of Britain required large imports of food and raw materials which had to be paid for by manufacturing exports....
[T]he effects of individual technical advances on aggregate productivity depend crucially on such accidental factors as the size of the sector affected and the price elasticity of demand. The nature of technological advance is generally that some new idea leads to a long period of productivity advance in an industry as the consequences of the new technique are played out. If demand is price inelastic then reductions in prices created by the early phase of a technological advance will limit or even reduce the share of expenditure on the good, so reducing the general productivity gains from further advances. Advances in cotton textiles in the Industrial Revolution had big impacts because textiles were a substantial share of expenditure by the 1760s and demand was price elastic....
Suppose that prior to the Industrial Revolution innovations were occurring randomly across various sectors of the economy - innovations such as guns, spectacles, books, clocks, painting, new building techniques, improvements in shipping and navigation – but that just by chance all these innovations occurred in areas of small expenditure and/or low price elasticities of demand. Then the technological dynamism of the economy would not show up in terms of output per capita or in measured productivity.
Thus... consider the introduction of the printed book by Gutenberg in 1445, again in the period where we can find no evidence of aggregate productivity growth, at least in England.... Output per worker increased by roughly 30 fold from manuscript production in the fourteenth century till the early nineteenth century... greater than the productivity advances achieved in the cotton textile industry over the Industrial Revolution period, though it took place over a much longer period. But the impact of these productivity gains in printing on the economy as a whole was unmeasurably small because the share of the economy devoted to printing always remained small... in 1851 only 0.8% of the population was employed in the paper making and printing businesses....
Another dramatic change in the years before 1600 was improvements in shipping and navigation which allowed access to the East by an all sea route. This was reflected in a dramatic fall in the sixteenth century in the price of eastern spices.... The price of pepper relative to English farm output prices fell to about one fifth its earlier level between 1570 and 1660. Yet again though this decline represented a host of technical and organization changes the economic impact was negligible given the dietary habits of the English....
if we want to locate the Industrial Revolution as the beginning of the era of sustained productivity growth then the [sixteenth-century] Dutch have as good a case as the British. If we want to locate it in the era of very widespread productivity growth affecting large sectors of the economy, then the US in the after the 1870s is the best candidate....
[...]
[T]he conclusion is that there was little productivity growth in the Industrial Revolution era beyond that explained by the technological revolution in textiles... the accident that textiles were exported on a large scale by 1800, explained by the need to import large quantities of food and raw materials given English population growth after 1760, accounts for a substantial fraction of the gains in productivity. The Industrial Revolution becomes very narrow. It can then be interpreted as just another isolated technological advance as European economies had been witnessing since at least the fifteenth century...