De-Industrialization In India

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During the 18th and 19th century, United Kingdom and parts of the United States experienced the Industrial Revolution. A time when factories flourished, the Industrial Revolution brought about a surge in manufacturing and heavy industry. Regrettably, the same cannot be said for India, which experienced de-industrialization – a process whereby industrial activity in a region is reduced – during the 19th century. The common consensus shared between Indian nationalists is that India’s de-industrialization was a result of British rule which sequentially led to economic stagnation. Enhanced British productivity via factories led to the declination of world textile prices, thus making textile production in India progressively uneconomical (Roy, 2002).…show more content…
Agricultural productivity had already been on the decline as the mighty Mughal empire collapsed. It was in fact a combination of multiple factors that led to the de-industrialization of India. The Mughal empire lasted from the 16th to the mid-18th century. India’s economy under the Mughal empire was primarily agrarian (mainly grain). At its peak, the Mughal empire was prosperous and powerful. Imposing a fair measure of political unity on the greater part of the Indian subcontinent via means of a centralized administration, uniform revenue policies, networks of inland trade fostered by Mughal peace and active encouragement to overseas trade created prosperity (Raychaudhuri, 1983). This however, did not last. By the mid-18th century, the Mughal empire began to crumble. Raychaudhuri (1983) summarizes the state of internal politics during the demise of the Mughal empire: “The imperial governors did not formally deny their allegiance to Delhi, but one after another they had asserted their autonomy” (p.3). All great empires fall from within, and the Mughal empire was no exception. The weak and crumbling empire…show more content…
Among them, 2 of which stands out as the most important catalyst for the declination of India’s economy: the Navigation Acts and the Calico acts. These mercantilist policies were mostly targeted at foreign partners, as there were rather liberal free trade policies in the domestic market. The Navigation act was enacted as a form of protectionist policy; its purpose was to secure British trade for its own merchant marine. Under these laws, all goods imported into Great Britain had to be carried either in British owned ships or ships of the countries from which the good originated from. Additionally, colonial goods needed to be shipped to Britain and then re-exported after (Cameron and Neal, 2016). India, a colony of the British empire, had to abide by these laws, and the decline of Indian shipping ensued. Large British-owned merchant ships took over and the Indian-owned ships dwindled in numbers. Later, technological advances in the form of iron ships and the electric telegraph in the 1860s further boosted the British who, unlike the Indians, had access to the new technologies (Bayly, 1985). The Calico act was another mercantilist policy, established at the request of the woollen industry. It was a response to the increasing popularity of calicoes, which were brightly printed cloths imported from India by the East India Company (Cameron and Neal, 2016). Enacted in the 1700s, the Calico act forbade

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