You're reading Great Transformations, a newsletter about economic history and the origins of historical development. I'm interested in how pre-industrial societies made the transition toward modern economic growth, and why some have been much more successful than others.

As a subscriber, you can expect regular essays on various topics in global economic history, especially and unabashedly on Britain—the holy land of industrialization. I'm an economic historian by trade, which means a quantitative perspective on the past, a focus on material outcomes, and an embrace of models and data. But I'll do my best to keep the research intelligible—if it wasn't fun at some level, I wouldn't be doing this—and embrace the beauty and mystery of the historical narrative. Think Fernand Braudel, but bad.

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Nope. But I hope you’ll consider a paid subscription nonetheless. To do the kind of research that I want to do, and that you want to see, takes funding and time. Big grant-giving institutions don’t always want the same kinds of output that we do, and lack the incentive to finance all the questions that we want to answer. Think of yourself like a Tuscan duke of old, giving patronage to itinerant artists and scientists whose work you value. A small donation from you totally scales up—if only ten percent of you sign up, I could make my entire research budget every year.

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Irregular essays on the economic history of the early modern world.


Student and economic historian at the University of California, Berkeley. You can support my writing here https://www.buymeacoffee.com/daviskedrosky