chapter  1
30 Pages

Industry and development

This book is about the drive to industrialise in the lower-income economies of the world. Manufacturing is the capacity to produce goods with labour, materials and inputs produced by others. Simple forms of manufacturing have characterised all organised societies but the application of steam power to production in Britain in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries significantly increased the capacity for production, and since this first Industrial Revolution, economic progress has in many people’s minds been linked with the capacity to produce and trade in manufactured products. Some of today’s lower-income economies (principally China and India) once took a far higher share of world economic activity than they do today, and their current rapid industrial growth is in part a return to this position. Elsewhere, new nations emerged from periods of colonial rule that distorted their economies and arguably held back economic progress. Forty or fifty years ago, politicians and their advisers were unanimous that progress required industry, and a range of policy measures were applied to encourage industrialisation. This book aims to explore the case for industrialisation, the experience with the application of policies to support this process and the links between national activity and the widespread international movement of capital, goods and ideas now termed ‘globalisation’. This chapter sets the scene by introducing terminology and definitions and surveying recent experience. Later chapters pick up the key issues raised here in more detail.