History of industrialisation Main article: Pre-industrial society A Watt steam engine, the steam engine fuelled primarily by coal that propelled the Industrial Revolution in the United Kingdom and the world.  Most pre-industrial economies had standards of living not much above subsistence, among that the majority of the population were focused on producing their means of survival. For example, in medieval Europe, 80% of the labour force was employed in subsistence agriculture.
Some pre-industrial economies, such as classical Athens, had trade and commerce as significant factors, so native Greeks could enjoy wealth far beyond a sustenance standard of living through the use of slavery. Famines were frequent in most pre-industrial societies, although some, such as the Netherlands and England of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, the Italian city states of the fifteenth century, the medieval Islamic Caliphate, and the ancient Greek and Roman civilisations were able to escape the famine cycle through increasing trade and commercialisation of the agricultural sector.
It is estimated that during the seventeenth century Netherlands imported nearly 70% of its grain supply and in the fifth century BC Athens imported three quarters of its total food supply.  Industrialisation through innovation in manufacturing processes first started with the Industrial Revolution in the north-west and Midlands of England in the eighteenth century.  It spread to Europe and North America in the nineteenth  Industrial revolution in Europe Main article: Industrial Revolution Aplerbecker Hutte, an industrialised area of Dortmund, Germany around 1910.
The old town can be seen beyond and some remaining agricultural land is in the foreground In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the United Kingdom experienced a massive increase in agricultural productivity known as the British Agricultural Revolution, which enabled an unprecedented population growth, freeing a significant percentage of the workforce from farming, and helping to drive the Industrial Revolution. Due to the limited amount of arable land and the overwhelming efficiency of mechanised farming, the increased population could not be dedicated to agriculture.
New agricultural techniques allowed a single peasant to feed more workers than previously; however, these techniques also increased the demand for machines and other hardwares, which had traditionally been provided by the urban artisans. Artisans, collectively called bourgeoisie, employed rural exodus workers to increase their output and meet the country’s needs. The growth of their business coupled with the lack of experience of the new workers pushed a rationalisation and standardisation of the duties the in workshops, thus leading to a division of labour, that is, a primitive form of Fordism.
The process of creating a good was divided into simple tasks, each one of them being gradually mechanised in order to boost productivity and thus increase income. The accumulation of capital allowed investments in the conception and application of new technologies, enabling the industrialisation process to continue to evolve. The industrialisation process formed a class of industrial workers who had more money to spend than their agricultural cousins. They spent this on items such as tobacco and sugar, creating new mass markets that stimulated more investment as merchants sought to exploit them. 12] The mechanisation of production spread to the countries surrounding England geographically in Europe such as France and and to British settler colonies, helping to make those areas the wealthiest, and shaping what is now known as the Western world. The Crystal Palace Great Exhibition. The United Kingdom was the first country in the world to industrialise.  Some economic historians argue that the possession of so-called ‘exploitation colonies’ eased the accumulation of capital to the countries that possessed them, speeding up their development.
The consequence was that the subject country integrated a bigger economic system in a subaltern position, emulating the countryside, which demands manufactured goods and offers raw materials, while the colonial power stressed its urban posture, providing goods and importing food. A classical example of this mechanism is said to be the triangular trade, which involved England, southern United States and western Africa. Critics argue that this polarity still affects the world, and has deeply retarded industrialisation of what is now known as the Third World.
Some have stressed the importance of natural or financial resources that Britain received from its many overseas colonies or that profits from the British slave trade between Africa and the Caribbean helped fuel industrial investment.  Early industrialisation in other countries After the Convention of Kanagawa issued by Commodore Matthew C. Perry forced Japan to open the ports of Shimoda and Hakodate to American trade, the Japanese government realised that drastic reforms were necessary to stave off Western influence. The Tokugawa shogunate abolished the feudal system.
The government instituted military reforms to modernise the Japanese army and also constructed the base for industrialisation. In the 1870s, the Meiji government vigorously promoted technological and industrial development that eventually changed Japan to a powerful modern country. In a similar way, Russia suffered during the Allied intervention in the Russian Civil War. The Soviet Union’s centrally controlled economy decided to invest a big part of its resources to enhance its industrial production and infrastructures to assure its survival, thus becoming a world superpower. 13] During the Cold war, the other European socialist countries, organised under the Comecon framework, followed the same developing scheme, albeit with a less emphasis on heavy industry. Southern European countries such as Spain or Italy saw a moderate industrialisation during the 1950s-1970s, caused by a healthy integration of the European economy, though their level of development, as well as those of Socialist European Countries, do not match the more advanced standards of other European countries like Germany.   The Third World Main article: Third World
A similar state-led developing programme was pursued in virtually all the Third World countries during the Cold War, including the socialist ones, but especially in Sub-Saharan Africa after the decolonisation period.  The primary scope of those projects was to achieve self-sufficiency through the local production of previously imported goods, the mechanisation of agriculture and the spread of education and health care. However, all those experiences failed bitterly due to a lack of realism: most countries did not have a pre-industrial bourgeoisie able to carry on a capitalistic development or even a stable and peaceful state.
Those aborted experiences left huge debts toward western countries and fuelled public corruption.  Petrol-producing countries Oil-rich countries saw similar failures in their economic choices. An EIA report stated that OPEC member nations were projected to earn a net amount of $1. 251 trillion in 2008 from their oil exports.  Because oil is both important and expensive, regions that had big reserves of oil had huge liquidity incomes. However, this was rarely followed by economic development.
Experience shows that local elites were unable to re-invest the petrodollars obtained through oil export, and currency is wasted in luxury goods.  This is particularly evident in the Persian Gulf states, where the per capita income is comparable to those of western nations, but where no industrialisation has started. Apart from two little countries (Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates), Arab states have not diversified their economies, and no replacement for the upcoming end of oil reserves is envisaged. 18]  Industrialisation in Asia Apart from Japan, where industrialisation began in the late 19th century, a different pattern of industrialisation followed in East Asia. One of the fastest rates of industrialisation occurred in the late 20th century across four countries known as the Asian tigers thanks to the existence of stable governments and well structured societies, strategic locations, heavy foreign investments, a low cost skilled and motivated workforce, a competitive exchange rate, and low custom duties.
In the case of South Korea, the largest of the four Asian tigers, a very fast paced industrialisation took place as it quickly moved away from the manufacturing of value added goods in the 1950s and 60s into the more advanced steel, shipbuilding and automobile industry in the 1970s and 80s, focusing on the high-tech and service industry in the 1990s and 2000s. As a result, South Korea became a major economic power. This starting model was afterwards successfully copied in other larger Eastern and Southern Asian countries, including communist ones.
The success of this phenomenon led to a huge wave of offshoring – i. e. , Western factories or Tertiary Sector corporations choosing to move their activities to countries where the workforce was less expensive and less collectively organised. China and India, while roughly following this development pattern, made adaptations in line with their own histories and cultures, their major size and importance in the world, and the geo-political ambitions of their governments (etc. . Currently, China’s government is actively investing in expanding its own infrastructures and securing the required energy and raw materials supply channels, is supporting its exports by financing the United States balance payment deficit through the purchase of US treasury bonds, and is strengthening its military in order to endorse a major geopolitical role.
Meanwhile, India’s government is investing in economic sectors such as bioengineering, nuclear technology, pharmaceutics, informatics, and technologically-oriented higher education, exceeding its needs, with the goal of creating several specialisation poles able to conquer foreign markets. Both China and India, particularly the Chinese, have also started to make significant investments in other developing countries, making them significant players in today’s world economy.