THE SPREAD OF INDUSTRIALIZATION OUTSIDE ENGLAND

The spread of industrialization in Europe, outside England was witnessed in the first half of the nineteenth century. The industrial revolution after Britain spreaded to the countries like Belgium, Germany, France, U.S. etc. The British government initially prohibited the export of machinery, manufacturing technology, skilled workers to the other countries. But the technologies were spreaded by the newly appointed British officers due to lucrative offers offered to them. Smuggling the secrets to other countries was another mode through which industrialization spread outside England. Thus, by the middle of the nineteenth century industrialization spread to countries outside England.

After England, the first country of Europe to witness industrialization was Belgium. The favourable condition in Belgium for industrialization was, geographical proximity to Britain, traditional industry of textiles was flourishing, availability of coal and iron ore and establishment of constitutional monarchy under the king.

France and Germany also witnessed the industrialization in the nineteenth century. The progress of industrialization in these countries was slow in the beginning because, France witnessed a long period of political instability and Germany wasn’t unified till 1871.

Outside Europe industrialization was first witnessed in U.S. After the independence from British colonialism, the industrialization begins but shortage of labour and capital made the progress slow. After the American civil war 1861-1865 the industrialization begins at a faster rate. By 1890s the industrial development in America was faster than any other country. By 1859 mineral oil was discovered in Pennsylvania and in the 1870s in Ohio and Texas. Finally beginning of the 20th century i.e. at the time of the first world war the industrial production of America amounted to 35% of the total world’s output.

The industrial revolution spreaded outside Europe in the Asian countries as well. One of the first Asian nation to witness industrialization was Japan. The Japanese industrial revolution started after the establishment of the new government under the emperor Meiji in 1868. In this context Japanese industrialization had many features which were different from the industrialization of the west such as,

  • The western industries was based on scientific inventions and the discoveries. The west had to develop all the technologies on its own, Japanese started from where the west had already reached in that time. The Japanese scientists used reverse engineering to meet the need of most of the technologies.
  • The industrial region of the west were rich in both coal and iron but Japan on the other hand was poor in these resources and was mainly dependent on import. Therefore, the Japanese heavy industries and machineries were established close to the coast.
  • The western countries had seen agricultural revolution and commercial revolution before industrial revolution. However, this wasn’t the case with Japan.
  • Investment came from colonies and was invested by the large land holders and businessman. However, Japan couldn’t rely on colonies for industrialization.
  • The state played a very important role in the Japanese industrialization. Whereas, in the west it was private sector. The government in Japan built railways, constructed roads and inaugurated land reform program to prepare the country for economic growth and development. It started a new western based education system. The government sent thousands of students to U.S.A. and Europe and hired more than 3000 western scholars to teach modern science, maths,  technology and foreign language in Japan.

Like Japan the industrialization took place in Russia in the second half of the nineteenth century. The defeat of Russia in the Crimean war 1853-56 exposed the empire’s lack of development and urgent need for industrialization. In this context, the Russian monarch Alexander II started the program of reforms in the Russian political and economic system for the promotion of growth with industrialization. In 1870s the Russian government initiated several large scale infrastructure projects. Particularly the construction of Railways. The 1880s saw the emergence of ‘Sergei Witte’, a qualified ecenomists with proven track record of achievement in the Tsarist Bureaucracy. In 1889 Witte was placed in charge of the Russian railway system, where he supervised the planning and construction of France Siberian Railway. By 1892 Britain was ministered for transport, communication and finance. Recognizing the need for capital investment Witte made it easier for the foreigners to invest in the Russian industrial sector. The existing barriers were removed. The foreign investors and companies were offered incentives, if they invested in certain industrial and manufacturing sectors.

By late 1890s the government reforms had a visible impact on the Russian economy. By 1900 the Russian Empire was the fourth largest producer of steel. The Russian industrial sector had progressed more in a decade than it had in the previous century. Its development was so rapid that the economic historians have called it ‘The Great Spurt’.