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Historical Issues Of Deindustrialization In Nineteenth-Century South India

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Chapter Summary

In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries Indian cottons, especially the higher quality varieties, were less expensive than locally made cotton goods in virtually all markets around the globe. Weavers in South India possessed a number of advantages over their counterparts in Britain. Stephen Broadberry and Bishnupriya Gupta take the lowness of Indian silver wages as indicative of the low level of economic development in the subcontinent. The backwardness of eighteenth-century India is supported with the assertion that productivity in the textile sector was lower in India than in Europe. From the late eighteenth century, the basis of competitiveness changed as a consequence of technological and institutional changes in British cotton manufacturing. There were many dimensions to deindustrialization in nineteenth century India. These notes suggest that many of these dimensions have been neglected and the debate on deindustrialization has adopted too narrow a focus on employment and numbers of looms.

Keywords: Bishnupriya Gupta; Britain; deindustrialization; Indian cottons; South India; Stephen Broadberry



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