Imperialism and Upheaval: China, Mexico, and Iran
During the late nineteenth century, scientific research and technological development accelerated rapidly within the industrialized nations of the West. The "second" industrial revolution was in full swing and, in many industries, the development of new, more advanced products was occurring at a rapid pace. Massive improvements were achieved in communications and mechanization of production as well as in the manufacture of specialty chemicals, high-quality steel, electric power, oil, gas, and other petroleum derivatives. In addition, new inventions, such as the internal combustion engine and the steam turbine, were coming into their own and beginning to have a profound effect on further new developments that would follow in the new century: the mechanization of labor processes, the automobile, the airplane, and others. These increases in technological development, in turn, led to sharp increases in industrial capacity, output, and productivity. 1 Indeed, the prolific might of the advanced modern industrial state seemed, to many, to be limitless.
Yet these dramatic improvements, particularly in the mass production of products, led to new problems for modern corporations. For example, in the last quarter of the nineteenth century, labor costs began to rise. In addition, new sources of raw materials were needed for sustained growth. Finally, new markets of consumers were also required, as outlets for what was a growing surplus of goods. Eventually, this massive need for new raw materials and new consumers converged to activate an extraordinary and potentially dangerous competition among all of the major powers in the world -- a competition not only for colonial territories but also for political and economic influence around the globe.
The modern multinational industrial corporation was emerging as an important influence on international affairs during this period. These new financial and