Catastrophic Gradualism

In 1945, Orwell published an essay in Common Wealth Review titled “Catastrophic Gradualism.” It can be read here. The essay is unusual because Orwell argues against the idea that we can know the future course of history. In 1945, when the essay was written, it was commonly thought that the industrial revolution came about because of the English Reformation. Orwell argues that the English religious reformers had no idea that they were creating the conditions for the future industrial revolution, and had no interest in creating an industrial revolution.