I came across a very interesting television program that was produced for the BBC as part of the Millennium celebration. The series was entitled "The Day the World Took Off". It is a look at the roots of the Industrial Revolution in England and the events over a long history which enabled that revolution to happen. The episodes are available on YouTube and the first can be seen below:
You can watch the other episodes by looking at the links in the sidebar at the right on the YouTube page.
It is still a much debated question as to why the Industrial Revolution began where it did, when it did. Why the Midlands of England? Why the late 1700's and early 1800's? Why was the textile trade the first truly mass production industry? We like to think we understand the events of history and perhaps the historians really do. I am fascinated by the questions as well. But the answer(s) may be rooted in complexity, simultaneity, and even random chance. Still, the series is worth the time to at least ponder one set of ideas about this extraordinary point in time.