Industrialization and Development: A Comparative Analysis

By Ray Kiely | Go to book overview

Chapter One

Introduction: defining industrialization and development

This book addresses three principal questions: first, what is the relationship between industrialization and development?; second, who or what are the agents that promote industrialization?; and third, what is the relationship between late industrialization and the global economy? These questions are examined through a case study approach, which seeks to draw out the common features, and the contrasts between, various industrialization processes. The work can therefore be regarded as an attempt to construct a “post-impasse” historical sociology of development, as recommended by (among others) Nicos Mouzelis (1988). 1 A previous knowledge of the debates around the impasse in development sociology is not, however, a requirement for understanding the arguments in this book.

Industrialization can be defmed in three ways (Hewitt et al. 1992a:3-6): first, as “the production of all material goods not grown directly on the land”, or second, as the economic sector comprising mining, manufacturing and energy. Most interesting for our purposes is the third definition, which sees industry as “a particular way of organizing production and assumes there is a constant process of technical and social change which continually increases society's capacity to produce a wide range of goods” (Hewitt et al. 1992a:6). In this definition, industrialization is regarded as a total process, impacting on society through an unprecedented increase in goods and services.

For this reason, it is often assumed that there is a close link between industrialization and development. Development theory in the 1950s and 1960s often implicitly defined development as an increase in Gross National Product, and assumed that the increase in wealth associated with industrialization would trickle down to the bulk of the population. Writers such as Seers (cf. Chapter Two) have questioned this view, without necessarily rejecting the idea that industrialization is necessary for development. Definitions of development now often include attention to basic needs such as decent health-care, education, income for all, and environmental sustainability. For instance, the Human Development Index (HDI) measures development according to life expectancy, educational attainment and real GDP per capita (UNDP 1995:12).

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