Last week, I wrote about Jason Hickel’s romantic idea that people in the past “lived well” with little or no monetary income. I noted that prior to the Industrial Revolution, clothing was immensely expensive and uncomfortable. The cotton mills changed all that. As a French historian noted in 1846, “Machine production…brings within the reach of the poor a world of useful objects, even luxurious and artistic objects, which they could never reach before.” Today, I wish to turn to pollution. It is well known that industrialization helped to pollute the environment, but that does not mean that air and water were clean before factories and mills came along! Compared to today, our ancestors had to endure horrific environmental conditions.
Source: SOTT FOCUS: Pollution in Pre-Industrial Europe