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Industrialisation Notes

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Country Files Industrialisation

Most frequently referred to in conjunction with revolutions because of the implication of large scale change, but also implies a false homogeneity across Europe in the timing of its advent. Landes claims a key facet = the substitution of machines for human effort, strength and power for the sake of better productivity and self sustaining growth. eg handicraft -> manufacture, embodied in the insitution of the factory. Business class of unprecedented number, new vistas of comfort and prosperity for ordinary citizens - circulation of goods. Faster transport meant wider markets, cheaper material and a more mobile labour force

Tilly claims the IR an 'illusory concept', traditional dates in Britain of 1760-1840 irrelevant in socio economic analysis as industrialisation an ongoing evolving process rather than a turning point in history. Importance of factors which aided its growth along such as population change, changes in the family structure, increasing 'proletarianisation' of society (Tilly a history from below historian).

Gerschenkron's theory of economic backwardness though widely discredited by hisorians in search of more precise formulations, gives a general overview of the nature of industrialisation at this time. Claims that conditions pre-industrialisation a vital bearing on the consequent rate of industrial growth in any given country, the more backward the country, the steeper the rate of industrial incline (eg Germany).

Implications for European balance of power - military strength shifted from sheer numbers and tactics to industrial capacity in the production and mobility of arms

Change in the nature of work, Landes claims reduced workers to mere hands, new discipline, pace set by inanimate objects, part of a cohesive unit starting and stopping in unison according to the clock - 'a new kind of jailer'. Growth of an industrial proletariat rather than artisanal work which would be completed in the home at the pace of the creator.

Subversion of the traditional worker's role to conform with the new means of production. Hopkin dismisses the idea that the demographic changes that occurred at this period can be directly tied in to industrialization, yet it is also clear that much of the population was forced to 'industrialize'. Toynbee claimed that the worker essentially became the 'living tool' as the economy moved away from an agricultural base towards a system that accentuated the gap between the employee and the employer - implication of a forced change. Bairoch too notes how the influx of workers from the rural world into industries located in urban centres increased at least nine-fold through the nineteenth century- direct correlation

Heralded: changes in relations of workers to their bosses and to each other, created a new class - the proletariat. Growth in the labour force, transport a major change in infrastructure, trade of imports and exports not just local production, capital intensive enterprises such as railways, growth of banks. Behavioural dimension/social change: either the sparking of more innovation, or retreat into conservatism/the old ways/religion due to fear.

Industrialisation did not rely on one factor such as resources or railways- a multiplicity of factors converging. Vast differences in systems across countries should be taken into account. Technology used as an answer to local problems, not wholesale imitations of innovations of other countries eg France could not imitate British steam ingenuinty as not rich in reserves of coal. Thus look for fuel saving technology instead and keep new methods side by side with traditional techniques. 'Change begat change' (Bairoch) incentives perhaps too simplistic, only towards the end of the 19th century that competition in industry and in particular, in the colonies led to revision of power balances in Europe and eventually war. After the defeat of Napoleon and the stabilising measures taken at the Congress of Vienna, powers sought stability and self improvement rather than international competition. Timing of industrialisation very circumstantial and varied depending on political systems, fragmentation, obstructionism, resources etc.

Example: railroad network bloomed in Britain, Germany, France but Spain, Italy, Russia too economically backward and politically fragmented to create large networks and Denmark, Norway,Sweden unsuitable terrain for major networks.

Disadvantage of later countries to industrialisation in that market monopolies were already in place and all significant markets captured, latecomers to find niches such as luxury products. Also monopolies over colonies and trade routes.


Pioneer, starts as early as 1750, transformation of social and physical landscape beginning with changes to manufacture of cotton (eg spinning jenny) through to coal and iron industry, steam power. Twelve-fold increase in cotton consumption between 1770 and 1800, thanks in no small part to the role of the spinning jenny and the spinning mule. These devices were far more productive than the spinning wheel Landes claims that the number of yarns one could make from a pound of cotton at least doubled - as well as producing better quality yarn. Trend followed in other industries too.

Significantly higher purchasing power per head in Britain come industrialisation and standard of living than on the continent. English worker ate better and spent less of his income on food than continental European counterpart eg Landes notes English reputation for wearing leather shoes, French for clogs. Openness of the English system in contrast to French tripartite system of aristocracy, bourgeoisie and peuple, Defoe: Englishman's 'expensive, generous, free way of living'. Energetic and open, avenues of social advancement open to the ordinary businessman, high level of technical skill, greater interest in machines - a people 'fascinated by wealth and commerce both collectively and individually', talent more readily going into business and invention. Societies of the continent more traditionalistic.

Cotton mill the symbol of Britain's journey to industrial greatness, followed by steam engine as its primary mover of industry. First used in the Newcastle mining region to pump water out of mine shafts and in turn created Europe's first industrial landscape. Soon engines capable of rotary production and first railway lines in Britain in 1820s. Altered consciousness of man's capabilities, by 1850 10,000 km of rail road (double that of Germany, closest rival)

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