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This article responds to Humphries’s critique of Allen’s assessment of the high wage economy of eighteenth-century Britain and its importance for explaining the industrial revolution. New evidence is presented to show that women and children participated in the high wage economy. It is also shown that the high wage economy provides a good explanation of why the industrial revolution happened in the eighteenth century by showing that increases of women’s wages around 1700 greatly increased the profitability of using spinning machinery. The relationship between the high wage economy of the eighteenth century and the inequality and poverty in Britain in the nineteenth century is explored.