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  The process whereby industrial activity comes to play a dominant role in the economy of a nation or region. Industrialization may take place spontaneously or as a result of some process of development planning. Manufacturing (literally, making by hand) has always been a necessary human activity, ever since the first fashioning of a plough or spear from the branch of a tree. The advantages of division of labour eventually created specialist producers of particular types of commodities.

Industrialization as a spontaneous activity refers to the augmentation or replacement of small-scale production for either personal use or a limited local market by a type of activity characterized by a much larger scale of productive unit and by mechanization. Such a change can be stimulated by the growth of the market to such an extent that the preexisting system of manufacturing cannot maintain an adequate supply; but other necessary conditions exist, such as the accumulation of capital in quantities required for investment in large plants and the development of a technology appropriate to the task.

The process of industrialization under capitalism involved important changes in the social relations of production. In the early stages of the development of manufacturing industry, apprentices may have been bound to masters in a manner that constrained their mobility and their freedom to sell their labour as they chose. As large-scale industry grew, it was important to have a supply of labour capable of responding to market forces, and this contributed to the breakdown of existing patterns of employment and increased labour mobility.

Industrialization is often considered to be the panacea for the problems of poverty in the underdeveloped world. The process is constrained not only by the shortage of capital but also by the predominance of the role of primary producers assigned to underdeveloped countries in the international division of labour. Industrialization depends to a large extent on the infusion of capital, technology and business organization from outside, and carries the risk of dependency. The advent of modern industry may destroy existing manufacturing activity and exacerbate inequality by reinforcing a distinction between those employed in the traditional sector and those in the modern. Planned industrialization forms an important element in the development strategy of most Third World countries. An indigenous process of industrialization under socialist central planning may avoid many of the problems associated with externally induced industrialization, but at the price of limiting access to outside capital and know-how.

Industrialization is no longer regarded as universally beneficial. In addition to some of the negative side-effects observed in the underdeveloped world, there are the ecological implications of indiscriminate resource exploitation and unrestrained pollution of land, sea and air. The continued \'advance\' of industrialization also requires sources of energy, the availability or safety of which are no longer assured. Furthermore, as service activities come to dominate many national economies, this sector is viewed as an alternative to industrialization as a source of employment creation. (See also deindustrialization; protoindustrialization.) (DMS)



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