Industrialisation (or industrialization) or an industrial revolution (in general, with lowercase letters) is a process of social and economic change whereby a human society is transformed from a pre-industrial to an industrial state. This social and economic change is closely intertwined with technological innovation, particularly the development of large-scale energy production and metallurgy. Industrialisation is also related to some form of philosophical change, or to a different attitude in the perception of nature, though whether these philosophical changes are caused by industrialization or vice-versa is subject to debate.

When capitalised, Industrial Revolution refers to the first known industrial revolution, which took place in Europe during the 18th and 19th centuries. The Second Industrial Revolution describes later, somewhat less dramatic changes which came about with the widespread availability of Electric power and the Internal-combustion engine.

Pre-industrial economies often rely on sustenance standards of living, whereby large portions of the population focus their collective resources on producing only what can be consumed by them, though there have also been quite a few pre-industrial economies with trade and commerce as a significant factor, enjoying wealth far beyond a sustenance standard of living. Famines were frequent in most pre-industrial societies, although some, such as the Netherlands and England of the 17th and 18th centuries were able to escape the famine cycle through increasing trade and commercialization of the agricultural sector.

Many third world countries began industrialisation under the influence of either the United States or the USSR during the Cold War. This effort has been successful in many East Asian countries and less successful in other areas (excluding some late industrializers in Europe that were already progressing fast before the second world war).

The currently prevailing "development paradigm" in the international development community (which means the World Bank, OECD, many United Nations departments and some other such organizations) is poverty reduction, which pays attention to economic growth as such, but does not pay attention to industrialization policies and does not speak about industrialization.

Alvin Toffler calls the industrial society a Second Wave Society.


  • Bernal, John Desmond. Science and Industry in the Nineteenth Century. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1970.
  • Derry, Thomas Kingston and Trevor I. Williams. A Short History of Technology : From the Earliest Times to A.D. 1900. New York : Dover Publications, 1993.
  • Hobsbawm, Eric J.. Industry and Empire : From 1750 to the Present Day . New York : New Press ; Distributed by W.W. Norton,1999.
  • Kranzberg, Melvin and Carroll W. Pursell, Jr. editors. Technology in Western civilization. New York, Oxford University Press, 1967.
  • Landes, David S. The Unbound Prometheus : Technical Change and Industrial Development in Western Europe from 1750 to the Present. 2nd ed.. New York : Cambridge University Press, 2003.

See also

External Links

fr:Industrialisation nl:Industrialisatie


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