The Industrial Revolution in World History

By Peter N. Stearns | Go to book overview
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12
A New Range of Initiatives: Industrial Revolutions and Rapid Evolution

While dramatic industrial revolutions occurred in parts of East Asia, the expansion of industrial economies included other patterns as well. The integration of parts of southern Europe and Eastern Europe (for example, Romania) with the industrial economies of Western Europe and the Soviet Union, respectively, also multiplied the number of industrialized nations and regions. The process of fanning out showed clearly in Spain. Two Spanish centers (Catalonia in light industry and Bilbao for metallurgy) had industrialized earlier. After 1950 the nation received substantial investment from both the United States and Western Europe and ultimately became a Common Market member. This set the framework for rapid industrialization from the 1970s onward, though Spanish industrial levels continued to lag somewhat. The same pattern emerged in parts of the American South. Before 1900 this region was largely a raw-materials supplier to Europe and the industrial northern states. Then some light industry began to locate in mill towns, drawing on cheap labor. General U.S. industrial expansion during and after World War II created a genuine industrial boom in some southern states, which acquired a label connoting the strong economy--the "New South." Developments of this sort were vitally important, but while they expanded industrial geography, they raised no major new themes. Rather, they extended the process of industrial integration of what had initially been fringe areas of existing industrial regions.

Far more novel and important was the surge of industrial development in new parts of Asia and Latin America. This chapter deals with two major patterns: the rare but important cases of brand-new industrial revolutions and what was becoming a more common pattern of mixed industrial growth, or evolution.

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