The spread of manufacturing

Robert (Bob) Allen

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

    Abstract

    The long-run record We speak of the ‘industrial West,’ but before the industrial revolution, most of the world’s manufacturing production took place in China and India. In 1500, the cost of shipping goods between continents was very high, so countries consumed what they produced. Since per capita income was similar across Eurasia, and since China and India each contained about one-quarter of the world’s population, they produced similar proportions of the world’s textiles, ceramics, metals, and other products. The situation was modified slightly in the next two centuries as the voyages of da Gama, Columbus, and Magellan showed that European ships could sail the seven seas, and improvements in their design cut the cost of the voyages, but changes were not substantial enough to seriously modify the late medieval situation, and China and India remained the world’s great manufacturing centers to the eve of the industrial revolution. Other regions of the globe, including the Islamic world, for instance, had important manufacturing industries reflecting the size of their populations. This state of affairs is shown in Figure 2.1, which plots the geographical distribution of world manufacturing output from 1750 to the early twenty-first century. On the eve of the industrial revolution, China and India produced 33 percent and 25 percent of the world’s manufactures. Manufacturing output soared in Britain after 1750 as her share of the world total rose from 2 percent to a peak value of about 23 percent in 1880. Over the same period, the Chinese and Indian shares dropped to 13 percent and 3 percent, respectively. (Their shares kept dropping in the twentieth century, bottoming out at 2 percent each in the 1950s.)

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Title of host publicationThe Cambridge History of Capitalism Volume 2
    Subtitle of host publicationThe Spread of Capitalism: From 1848 to the Present
    PublisherCambridge University Press
    Pages22-46
    Number of pages25
    ISBN (Electronic)9781139095105
    ISBN (Print)9781107019645
    DOIs
    StatePublished - Jan 1 2012

    Fingerprint

    Manufacturing
    China
    India
    Industrial Revolution
    Voyager
    Costs
    Industry
    Late Medieval Period
    Plot
    Proportion
    Islamic World
    Shipping
    1950s
    Ship
    Income
    Cut
    Metals
    Eurasia

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Arts and Humanities(all)

    Cite this

    Allen, R. B. (2012). The spread of manufacturing. In The Cambridge History of Capitalism Volume 2: The Spread of Capitalism: From 1848 to the Present (pp. 22-46). Cambridge University Press. https://doi.org/10.1017/CHO9781139095105.002

    The spread of manufacturing. / Allen, Robert (Bob).

    The Cambridge History of Capitalism Volume 2: The Spread of Capitalism: From 1848 to the Present. Cambridge University Press, 2012. p. 22-46.

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

    Allen, RB 2012, The spread of manufacturing. in The Cambridge History of Capitalism Volume 2: The Spread of Capitalism: From 1848 to the Present. Cambridge University Press, pp. 22-46. https://doi.org/10.1017/CHO9781139095105.002
    Allen RB. The spread of manufacturing. In The Cambridge History of Capitalism Volume 2: The Spread of Capitalism: From 1848 to the Present. Cambridge University Press. 2012. p. 22-46 https://doi.org/10.1017/CHO9781139095105.002
    Allen, Robert (Bob). / The spread of manufacturing. The Cambridge History of Capitalism Volume 2: The Spread of Capitalism: From 1848 to the Present. Cambridge University Press, 2012. pp. 22-46
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