My principal concern in this chapter is to examine the problems and opportunities faced by late industrializers in the global economy. I emphasize the specific conditions faced by late industrializers, stressing the crucial role of global factors in influencing development paths in the Third World, and how these have changed since the rise of the early developers.
These questions are examined in three sections. The first section provides a broad overview of the international division of labour from the period of early European colonial expansion until 1945, and shows how various parts of the periphery were incorporated into the world economy. The second section outlines the changes in the global economy in the period of decolonization since 1945, and documents the move towards industrialization in the Third World. The third section examines some of the theoretical approaches to the character of Third World industrialization. This section shows that there are specific opportunities and constraints faced by late industrializers, and examines debates concerning “dependent” and “independent” industrialization, and the related question of the role of transnational corporations in this process. I criticize both excessively globalist and state-centric accounts of Third World industrialization, which tend to dismiss this process as in some way distorted. Finally, as a precursor to the next chapter I suggest that while any convincing account of processes of late industrialization needs to take account of global factors, this should not be at the expense of analyzing how local factors also influence the process.
European industrialization went hand in hand with the creation of a global capitalist economy. From the early sixteenth century, emerging European nations such as Spain, Portugal, and England expanded their commercial interests through a form of “mercantile imperialism”, which had largely adverse effects in the rest of the world. With the coming of the industrial age in nineteenth-century Europe, new relationships emerged between the nascent