The prevailing view of industrialization has focussed on technology, capital, entrepreneurship and the institutions that enabled them to be deployed. Labour was often equated with other factors of production, and assigned a relatively passive role. Yet it was labour absorption and the improvement of the quality of labour over the course of several centuries that underscored the timing, pace and quality of global industrialization. While science and technology developed in the West and whereas the use of fossil fuels, especially coal and oil, were vital to this process, the more recent history has been underpinned by the development of comparatively resource- and energy-saving technology, without which the diffusion of industrialization would not have been possible. The labour-intensive, resource-saving path, which emerged in East Asia under the influence of Western technology and institutions, and is diffusing across the world, suggests the most realistic route humans could take for a further diffusion of industrialization, which might respond to the rising expectations of living standards without catastrophic environmental degradation.
Gareth Austin is Professor of African and Comparative Economic History and Chair, Department of International History at The Graduate Institute Geneva, Switzerland
Kaoru Sugihara is Professor of Economic History at Kyoto University, Japan
"This volume presents an exciting set of economic explanations of global industrial development that fit the historical evidence far better than standard Anglo- or Euro-centric accounts." - Jeff Horn, Department of History, Manhatten College, in EH.Net
"This collection of high-quality essays will interest a wide cross-section of economic historians and economists. The book offers a perspective on long-term industrial and economic development which is almost breath-taking in its range and simplicity... No longer confined to conference papers and sometimes rather obscure journals, the central ideas contained in this collection will doubtless lead to a great deal of interest and further research." - Porphant Ouyyanont, School of Economics, Sukhothai Thammathirat Open University, Journal of Contemporary Asia
"All in all this edited volume is a successful attempt to bring authorities in economic history in dialogue and discuss and assess use and limitations of LII as a perspective." - M. Erdem Kabadayi, Istanbul Bilgi University
"This book can be expected to lead academic interchanges between economists and historians in order to consider potentia between economists and historians in order to consider potential development on a global scale...they contributed to opening discussions about the possibility to utilize the local point of view into the comparative histories that the discipline of Global History has promoted for 20 years." - Atsuko Munemura, Kansai University
"…this carefully compiled collection not only demonstrates clearly that development paths have diverged considerably in the past, and that successful paths may be based on very different combinations of elements, but also that there are many total or partial failures, while turning points within individual paths have often resulted from non-economic causes." - Marcel van der Linden, International Institute of Social History