chapter  IV
19 Pages

Lancashire and the Rise of Japan

In the latter half of the eighteenth century , a small island off the north-western shore of Europe began to carve out for itself a position of predominance in the world market for a commodity - cotton textiles ­ for the production of which it possessed few obvious natural advantages. Yet that offshore island , Britain , not only succeeded in its endeavour, but managed to maintain its supremacy in the face of the development of others arguably better-endowed for the purpose for well over a hundred years . The British position in the world export market for cotton yarn and cloth was not seriously challenged before 1914. But once the challenge materialised , it developed with phenomenal speed. By 1933 , Britain was no longer the leading power in the world trade in cotton goods . She had been supplanted by another small offshore island some 12 ,000 miles to the east , with almost as few natural advantages as herself for the production of cotton textiles : Japan .