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Offshoring and employment

One of the books I’m reading at the moment is Defoe’s Tour through England and Wales, published 1724. He comments:

… the wonderful extent of the Norwich manufacture, or stuff-weaving trade, by which so many thousands of families are maintained … indeed felt a very sensible decay, and the cries of the poor began to be very loud, when the wearing of painted (Indian) calicoes were grown to such a height in England, as was seen about two or three years ago; but an Act of Parliament having been obtained, tho’ not without great struggle, in the years 1720 and 1721, for prohibiting the use and wearing of calico’s, the stuff trade revived incredibly; and as I pass’d this part of the country in the year 1723, the manufacturers assured me, that there was not in all the eastern and middle part of Norfolk, any hand, unemploy’d, if they would work; and that the very children after four or five years of age, could every one earn their own bread.

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