- Oct 2011
That is where you are wrong. Yes, Britain had advantage in being insular. It also had advantage in terrain - Spain and Portugal are too mountainous for easy industrialization. But colonies had little to do with incentive to industrialize. It would have happened, colonies or no colonies.What "headway"? They had enough development to go colonise which is something I don't deny, but not more so than Spain and Portugal. The point is that they, well just Britain really, would not have industrialised had they decided not to colonise. Britain did have an advantage over Spain, France, etc., and that is that it is insular which allowed it to escape the ravages of continental European wars.
I am making sense, it is just that you are too caught up in your own mental image to understand what I am saying.First you say that Spain and Portugal are or were poorer and/or more undeveloped than Northern Europe, yet they were capable of creating colonial empires, even though you keep saying this is impossible for poor or undeveloped countries. You then amended this by saying that they squandered their wealth in colonies, but apparently, colonies didn't squander the wealth of Britain and Germany. You're not making any sense. Also, you should read your first article:
1) Spain and Portugal ended up poorer and more undeveloped than Northern Europe whereas your idea that colonization helped development should have precluded that. They were not poorer and more undeveloped at the time they created their colonial empires; they ended up that way afterwards.
2) Colonies did not squander wealth of Britain and Germany because they found no easy wealth in them. Germany was a latecomer to colonization game, and first British colonies were minor compared to Spanish ones, and were trading outposts besides. So both countries could industrialize without distraction of colonies.
Do you have any proof for that? You are also ignoring that in 18th and 19th centuries Britain underwent British agricultural revolution. This led to massive population growth, which itself is a prerequirement for industrialization as it provides excess labour force, but it also provides incentive for colonization."Conventional wisdom has long seen Germany’s productivity catch-up on Britain as a process that took place well before World War I, mainly in manufacturing. Superior use of R & D, large-scale plants, and cartelization were held to have been the major causes. More recent research, however, has revealed a surprisingly stable pattern of German performance with respect to Britain. Using productivity benchmarks for census years in Britain and Germany, Broadberry and Fremdling  have argued that there was no decisive productivity advantage for Germany over Britain in manufacturing until World War II [in other words, not in the 19th century like you claimed]."
You also missed this in your third article: "In 1800 [that is, when industrialisation was still starting], Europe controlled 35 percent of the world's land surface".The only thing that can be conceded to you is that countries no longer need colonies once there was the sufficient industrial technology, but that still doesn't change how said technology first developed in Britain needed colonialism. The British would not have been able to initially mass produce steam engines and similar machines without colonies, even if they much later, well into the 19th century and I would say only around the time Engels published his book on the conditions of the English working class in factories, developed more efficient ways to do that without depending as much on colonies.
In other words, you are confusing correlation for causation.
Now, colonies may have provided easier access to raw materials. But they were not the only way of acquiring such materials, which would be required for your theory to hold water.
No. But population growth would have led to industrialization.Economic development and industrialisation aren't the same thing, the latter being an element of the former or a type of it. No one disputes here that Europe or the US after independence had significant economic development, but that development would not have led to industrialisation without colonies.
You are assuming Spain had any headstart to begin with, which I have seen not a shred of evidence for. Also, Succession War only had any impact because it reinforced already existing Spanish tendencies towards centralized control.I already addressed the thing about Spain and you keeping the same argument shows you're not reading. Spain lost its headstart because of the War of the Spanish Succession as I already said; see below as well. By that time Britain was hardly small and owned most of the 13 colonies (read: almost 1 million square kilometres), vast swaths of India, parts of Canada and all of the British Isles of course. And no, the Ottomans did not have the exact same amount of plunder. That is an offensive false equivalence. There's nothing like the amounts of gold and silver extracted from the Americas, the Ottomans had nothing like the mines of Zacatecas and Potosí, nor did they have the vast amounts of Brazilwood dye plantations, nor did they stole land from the native population to make room for Turkic settlers (except maybe in Constantinople but Constantinople is just one city) like Spaniards and other Europeans did in the Americas, nor did they deforest almost entire woods in their conquered lands to build massive galleons and treasure fleets. The Ottomans exploited their conquered population and brutalised it, but not anymore than any prior Mediterranean empire that came before them (one can argue that the Roman Empire was in fact more brutal than the Ottomans), whereas European colonialism was a whole different new level entirely.