What is Industrialization?

Definition: Industrialization is a progressive transformation of an economic system from rudimentary productive methods to more complex manufacturing processes. It is a systematic change that aims to reshape the productive forces of a given country.

What Does Industrialization Mean?

Industrialization emerged in the 18th century through what was known then as the Industrial Revolution, a movement that started in Great Britain and had a global impact later. This process of transformation consisted in the application of recently developed technologies to manufacturing processes. This translated into higher levels of automation, productivity and quality that helped the economic system transition from being fundamentally agricultural to having new industries like steel, textile, transportation, housing or chemicals. Many individuals were implementing new techniques to manufacture new products that flooded the market quickly.

The introduction of new machineries that substituted activities previously made by workers reduced the resources employed to produce goods and that caused output levels to sky rocket. This was the beginning of the economy as we know it today. This process lead to the professionalization of the work force, since many of the tasks performed in the past were now substituted by automated machines. Workers were forced to develop new skills that proved useful for administrative tasks and machinery management.

Example

A hypothetic example of this concept would be the following. Pakistan is a country located in South Asia that currently has a population of over 199 million people. Since the 1970s, after several political events took place, the country’s leaders developed an economic program that aimed to industrialize the country, to move from an agricultural system to an industrial system. The State started offering loans and incentives to newly-formed industries that wanted to invest in machinery and industrial equipment, and new technologies were brought to the country to increase the pace of this movement.

The economic reform reduced the rate of unemployment from 35% to 7% in 5 years. Also, the country’s GDP grew 254% in that same period. On the other hand, the country started to export some of its output, and became a respected global player in many industry fields. All these new developments were part of an industrialization process encouraged by the newly elected President.