"According to David Landes, the economics historian, one of the reasons the Industrial Revolution happened first in Britain was that employers in our medieval cities were able to reduce costs by using cheap homeworkers in the suburbs. This gave British manufacturers an edge over their continental rivals (who were hampered by medieval red tape) and hastened the introduction of the factory system (which, of course, then put the homeworkers out of a job).Well worth a browse.
According to O2, the mobile phone company, it is happening again. Thousands of small businesses are abandoning their City offices and reducing costs by using cheap homeworkers in the suburbs. In part, this is the continuation of a trend that has seen more people work from home for lifestyle reasons. On some estimates, the number of people working from home in Britain has doubled in the past ten years."
Thanks to Emma at Enterprise Nation for the alert