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UNIT 19: Global Industrialization

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PERSPECTIVES ON THE PAST

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Transcript of Audio Clip

Jerry H. Bentley, University of Hawai'i

It might sometimes seem from the standard accounts that industrialization began in Europe or even more narrowly in Britain, and only much later spread to North America, Russia, Japan, and other lands. And it's true enough that steam engines and factories and really heavy industrial production first appeared in Britain and Europe. But if you were to take a slightly different angle on things, it would become clear that right from the very beginning industrialization was a global affair. I mean, where did the cotton come from, for example, that fed the early textile factories? Where did the rubber come from that was essential for the production of tires and hoses in the early days of industrialization? You couldn't grow cotton and you couldn't produce rubber in Europe. If you wanted cotton, you had to go and get it from lands like India or Egypt. If you wanted rubber, you had to get it from Central Africa or Southeast Asia. So, it was not only lands like Cuba and Uruguay, mentioned earlier in this program, that got drawn into the industrialization process. Actually, even in the very earliest days of the process, industrialization was not exclusively a European or British affair. Rather it's a business that extended its tentacles to almost all parts of the world.



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