• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Why did the UK lose its lead in industrial development and trade in the later half of the 19th century?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

`Why did the UK lose its lead in industrial development and trade in the later half of the 19th century? The UK came to world primacy following the industrial revolution. As Dutch supremacy decreased British trade in all world markets increased allowing them to contest in the Far East with Portugal, Spain and Holland. They became the pioneers of colonisation taking control of Australia, New Zealand and the West Indies, adding to the Empire market. British innovations also led the way, there was a patent increase of 2000% between 1766 - 1825 leading to changes such as the building of canals which reached a peak of 'canal mania'(Kindleberger, 96) in 1793 and the Railways boom which led to Britain becoming the 'workshop of the world'(Chambers, 1961) in 1850. Britain's rise to economic primacy had come in part due to exploitation of opportunity and self sufficiency but the change to free trade may have been 'the decisive event'(Gamble,1981), in British decline. Free trade opened up markets to goods which Britain could produce cheaper and better than other nations. There was no immediate effect as British wealth grew on the new imports of raw materials for British industry and the population grew to a level which required food imports to sustain it. This instigated an increase in food imports from Scandinavia and an associated increase in its shipping industries following navigation law removals. ...read more.

Middle

World War 1 saw Britain spending 25 - 30 per cent of its gross national product on the war effort putting strain on the national economy. The return to the gold standard in 1926 saw the value of the pound raised against the dollar which led to the virtual collapse of British export industries like coal and shipbuilding well before the great depression. British decline can also be attributed to its huge decline in the manufactures industry as 'manufacturing is the key to the modernisation of the economy' (Eatwell, 1982). Manufactures provide 'unlimited scope for technical change' (Eatwell, 1982) as change leads to development which should again lead to change but in all sectors such as agriculture and services. Manufacturing industry should be able to 'satisfy the demands of the consumers at home' as well as being able to 'sell enough of its products abroad to pay for the nations import requirement' (Coates, 1994). During the industrial revolution British industry strode ahead as bottlenecks were overcome by British invention, however as the nineteenth century drew to a close British entrepreneurs 'waited for them to be solved by someone else' (Kindleberger, 1996) as 'institutions will adapt when it is cheap and easy, not when it is expensive and difficult' (Kindleberger, 1996). British heavy industries began to fall behind after 1870, between 1871 and 1885 British percentage growth in manufacture was 0.6 compared to 1.7 in Germany and 2.7 in the US. ...read more.

Conclusion

The industrial revolution set Britain ahead as the first industrial nation but this also provides a disadvantage, as technology spread other countries began to industrialise and modernise more than Britain as it was cheaper to use the most modern technology from the start not to replace and renovate. This lead to better and cheaper products being produced abroad so that '"made in Germany" proved to be a mark of quality' (Kindelberger, 1996). France and Germany established financial systems to stimulate industry and so began to increase their share of world exports at British expense. Britain also lost out as other countries imposed tariffs to block British goods which cut Britain out of the fast growing European and U.S markets. British industry soon started to lack the innovation that had driven the industrial revolution and change became slow as the US and Germany pushed forward in industrial innovation and new technology like chemical dyes. The Boer war saw Britain secure its Indian trade routes but at a cost as the empire took its toll on British finances. The First World War saw Britain slipping out of economic primacy as its export industries crumbled following a return to the gold standard, further sterling devaluations would see Britain fall behind further after the Second World War. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level UK, European & Global Economics section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level UK, European & Global Economics essays

  1. Why was Britain the First Industrial Nation?

    The railways also enforced national organisation, for example clocks had to be the same all around the country, otherwise train schedules wouldn't of been able to exist. An additional reason why Britain became the first industrial nation was the government it possessed.

  2. A study of Patent system in India in the light of Patent Cooperation Treaty.

    The International Search Authority contains a list of documents which helps the inventors to know various prior art present in other countries. And this all happen only by filing one application, it's really an amazing phenomena. Another advantage of PCT filing is that the inventor can file an International Application

  1. Flower Industry in Netherlands

    of area under cultivation, however, china and India are the leading countries, which have 60,000 and 34,000 hectares respectively. With only 8,000 hectares under cultivation though, Netherlands generates incredible values and production by extremely high yield per hectare. * Climate In general, the climate in Netherlands is moderate.

  2. What are the main determinants of industrial location?

    However, as regions integrate more and more as can be seen in the EU, the process becomes reversed: Trade costs become relatively small so firms are less willing to pay the higher core wages, and a reverse flow of industry to peripheral regions occurs.

  1. Why has GDP growth been so slow in Somalia?

    Economic Causes of Civil Conflict and their Implications for Policy. Available: http://users.ox.ac.uk/~econpco/research/pdfs/EconomicCausesofCivilConflict-ImplicationsforPolicy.pdf 42 Central Intelligence Agency. (2011). Africa: Somalia. Available: https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/so.html 43 Paul Collier. (2006). Economic Causes of Civil Conflict and their Implications for Policy. Available: http://users.ox.ac.uk/~econpco/research/pdfs/EconomicCausesofCivilConflict-ImplicationsforPolicy.pdf 44 Jeff Haynes.

  2. European background to the scramble for Africa (1850 to 1900)

    stream concluding treaties with the chiefs on behalf of the International African Association. De Brazza spent the next eighteen months exploring the hinterland of the Gabon, and returned to France in June 1882. The ratification by the French chambers in the following November of the treaties with Makoko (described by Stanley as worthless pieces of paper)

  1. Where does the World Trade Organisation fit in the overall scheme of international public ...

    The freedom to engage in international transactions is an integral part of a wider economic freedom to produce and consume, guaranteed by the legal protection of persons and property. c) Openness, institutions, growth, poverty reduction: the lessons of history Ultimately, the practical case for free trade, and for free markets

  2. Free essay

    does uk housing market warrant government intervention

    This process will ultimately be reversed - usually by a sudden change in expectations with respect to more fundamental variables There tends to be asymmetry in response, in that upward changes lead to further changes in price and rapid increases in the numbers of transactions.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work