Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Capitalism and Industrialization: Siblings

The 405 freeway in LA during rush hour
In our recent collective human history, capitalism and industrialization are siblings if not twins. The industrial revolution of England 200 and some years ago led for major thinkers at the time to brainstorm how the factors required by industrialization (land, natural resources, liquid/mobile capital and labor/cheap labor) and the output of capitalism (goods and lots of money aka capital) could be harnessed to create massive and continuous capital growth. These philosophies sort of congealed and became capitalism. Thus, machines, then factories were invented, followed by capitalism as the theory of how to best manage and enhance capital creation (stemming from massive production enabled by industrial machines, which generate capital, which is then invested and speculated with in different markets like the stock exchange). These philosophies have been promoted around the world (through, for example, economic development policy).

By the way, if you haven't read Adam Smith's work, you will be happy to know that you can access the Wealth of Nations online for free.

As I mentioned in my post yesterday on my FREE ALOE VERA giveaway (all-caps = there is SO much aloe and I want to share it), I am working on some projects taking up a LOT of time. One of them is research and grantwriting for the GMO Film Project, for which I am an advisor, researcher, and associate producer (we have some big production goals for this month), and the other is an academic research project I have been working on now for 6 years. I am presenting my results in a conference next month, which will hopefully be filmed to share with you, the public. I am still finishing writing my article based on results, and have to prep for the conference in a couple of weeks...yikes!

So, as I was plodding along, I thought I would try to get insight into the difference between capitalism and industrialization. The first hit of my search capitalism vs. industrialization yielded the blog post entitled "Industrialization vs. Capitalism". The author gave a disclaimer of not being well versed in economic matters, but I thought he made some good points and left some open areas that I could contribute to. I decided to comment on his blog based on my thoughts and research, and thought it would be a good one to share with all of you, particularly since it focuses on issues such as agrarian living, which many people in 'modern' times are turning back to (see So, check out my comment below, and check out the original article HERE. Please feel free to leave/share any thoughts in the comment box.


Nisha Namorando Vida
Founding Director
Local to Global Life Works

I'm writing a paper for publication in an academic journal on this subject. Actually, my work focuses on industrialization and movement away from agrarian society as not being 'advancement/a step up', which I argue is the legacy of colonial mentality. Europe's industrial revolution is really what enabled them to violently conquer much of the world and enabled/required them to find new sources of resources for machines, and consumer markets to buy industrialized goods, while convincing themselves and others that industrialized society was more civilized, advanced and developed than backward indigenous/tribal/rural (aka agrarian) societies. This mentality still exists today, and is what I think needs to be changed en masse.

Anyway, I think your analogy was not far from the truth, but I also think this issue is a very hazy one that can be variously interpreted. It also depends on what school of capitalism you are looking at. But I do think that 'capitalism' and 'industry' can be 'good' depending on how they are managed by humans.

Also, industrialization actually stands in some ways in opposition to free trade/openness of markets because nations need to foster certain industries (for ex. subsidize through government loans, protect through tariffs on imported goods of the same product, etc) both to foster industrialization at home, and to have an industry with which to have a competitive edge. This is especially true of 'developing' economies, though you can still see it to be true in the US, such as of our subsidizing of the agriculture industry (which is as far from 'agrarian life' as you could possibly get).

No comments:

Post a Comment