The great changes in eighteenth-century agriculture, the introduction of new farming techniques, the consolidation and rearrangement of fanns, enclosures, and the movement towards greater regional specialization, which are often known as the agrarian revolution, proceeded somewhat jerkily in surges of activity separated by periods of pause. About 1790 such a surge was gathering momentum and, carried through the war period with some ups and downs, it ushered in the last age ofenclosure. It was once the fashion when discussing agricultural progress to stress the importance of the efforts of a handful of great improving landlords and the interest in agricultural pursuits which their own enthusiasm engendered. It is now more usual to lay emphasis on the general economic and demographic causes of agrarian change: the rise in population which increased the market; the changes in consumer habits and in standards of living which, for example, increased the demand for wheaten bread, meat and livestock products; the transport improvements which made possible a move away from regional self-sufficiency towards regional specialization; and the shifts in prices and in the availability of capital which presented both the opportunities for making changes in farming methods and costs, and the means of implementing them. A run of bad harvests and high prices, holding out tempting visions of the profits to be made by bringing more land into more productive use, or a fall in the rate of interest paid by the government, meaning that funds were more plentiful or that lending to the state had become less attractive than other employments for savings, were more effective in producing a spate of enclosure acts than the efforts of progressive individuals preaching or practising the virtues of an enlightened system of agriculture.