British textile manufacturing was restructured during the period 1780-1840, in that it was made more efficient by the development of larger scale and more mechanized enterprises. These technological transformations in industry gave Britain an advantage over other core states, particularly after 1780 (Wallerstein 1989:57-86).
The British modernization of the textile industry from 1780 to 1840 was made possible by greater access to colonial markets. From 1750 to 1850, new zones were incorporated into the periphery of the world-economy, thus expanding access to raw materials for manufacturing and to markets for manufactured goods. This expansion of raw materials and markets was so extensive that it facilitated not only the further industrial development of Britain, but also the industrial development of Western Europe, particularly France, Belgium, western "Germany," and Switzerland (Wallerstein 1989:125).
The regions incorporated into the world-economy during the period 1750-1850 included the Indian subcontinent, the Ottoman Empire, the Russian Empire and West Africa (Wallerstein 1989:129). The process of peripheralization involved four main changes in these regions.
(1) The four regions were converted into exporters of raw materials through the expansion of cash crop agriculture. The period saw dramatic increases in the export of indigo, raw silk, opium and cotton from India; of mohair yarn, raw silk, and cotton from the Ottoman Empire; of hemp, flax and wheat from Russia; and of slaves, palm oil and peanuts from West Africa. Most of the products exported from the four regions functioned as raw materials for manufacturing in Western Europe or as products of food consumption in Western Europe, although the Indian opium and cotton headed for China and the West African slaves brought to the West Indies had different functions (Wallerstein 1989:137-49, Frank 1979:88-90).
(2) Systems of coerced labor were established. In the four regions incorporated during the period 1750-1850, cash crop production was not attractive to agricultural workers, since it took time away from the subsistence production necessary for survival. As a result, the workers had to be forced, directly or indirectly, to engage in cash crop production. The mechanisms of coercion, taking a variety of economic and legal forms, occurred in all four regions (Wallerstein 1989:157-66).
(3) Manufacturing was reduced or eliminated in the four regions. India was one of the world's major centers of cotton textile production prior to 1800, but by 1840, Indian textile manufacturing had virtually disappeared as a result of British colonial economic policies, with a tariff structure that favored British manufactures. Colonial economic policies destroyed not only Indian textile industry, but also its iron and steel industries. Similarly, the manufacturing export capacity of the Ottoman Empire greatly declined from the 1780s to the 1850s as a result of a French duty on Ottoman imports of manufactured cotton cloth and British competitive advantage through mechanization of its textile production. Also, the British imposed on the Ottoman Empire a commercial accord that functioned to destroy manufacturing in Egypt and Syria in the latter half of the 19th century. Russia also suffered a significant decline in iron manufacturing. But Russia was able to resist to some extent British efforts to promote her de-industrialization by virtue of tariff protection for its industry accompanied by a strong domestic market and a strong military. In West Africa, cotton and iron manufacturing were able to compete at first with British manufacturing, but West African manufacturing was undermined by cheap British imports during the early nineteenth century (Wallerstein 1989:149-52).
(4) The peripheralization of the four regions included the creation of large-scale economic units, resulting in the concentration of economic power. In the four regions, there emerged either low-wage plantations or large estates with small-scale producers trapped by debt peonage (Wallerstein 1989:152-57).
Thus, the peripheralization of the four regions converted them into producers of raw materials for export, utilizing forced labor, facilitating the concentration of economic and political power and the creation of an elite class with an economic interest in the perpetuation of the core-peripheral relation. The process of peripheralization reduced the standard of living of the majority, as resources of land and labor were used for the purpose of producing raw materials that were sent to Western Europe. On the other hand, the peripheralization of these regions functioned to the advantage of Western Europe, in that it provided cheap raw materials for its manufacturing and markets for its manufactured goods. At the same time, the expansion of production and commerce facilitated by the peripheralization of the four regions enabled the world-economy to overcome its stagnation and to enter into a period of unprecedented expansion that was both geographical and economic.
Frank, Andre Gunder. 1979. Dependent Accumulation and Underdevelopment. New York: Monthly Review Press.
Wallerstein, Immanuel. 1989. The Modern World System, Vol. III. New York: Academic Press.
Key words: Third World, revolution, colonialism, neocolonialism, imperialism, democracy, national liberation, sovereignty, self-determination, socialism, Marxism, Leninism, Cuba, Latin America, world-system, world-economy, development, underdevelopment, capitalism, peripheralization, Wallerstein, Andre Gunder Frank