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Britain and Industrialization

1. Cameron cites textiles, coal, iron, and engineering as Britain's base of industrial prosperity in the early Industrial Revolution (224). But while it is necessary to explain the early industrializers of Continental Europe--notably Belgium, France, and Germany--with reference to Britain's industrial base, it is not sufficient. Specific industries, important as they are, actually speak to something more fundamental.

In Britain as well as in the other three nations, industrial development was a function over the given country's ability to exert productive control over two lines of industrial development: fundamental and versatile raw materials that were implicated in industries down the line and a system of transportation that enabled the raw material to be passed up and down the lines of production and the downline industries to reach diverse industrial markets. In particular, coal and railroads both enabled and shaped the early successes of the Industrial Revolution. As well, in each of the cited countries there emerged a significant consumer market segment in textiles, which implied a well-developed textile-manufacturing industrial market and the means of shipping industrially manufactured goods to their users.

Belgium's industrialization process most closely resembled Britain's, mainly because it had fairly easy access to coal and iron and secondarily because Belgium's government, a monarchy formed in 1830, undertook to develop a goo


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