Daniel Headrick examines why the massive transfer of Western technology to European colonies did not spark an industrial revolution in those countries. Rather than spurring economic progress, he argues, the transfer of stock technology between 1850 and 1940 caused the traditional self-sufficient economies of the colonial regions to be stuck in a state of underdevelopment, a legacy which burdens these countries to this day.
This study analyzes why a massive transfer of Western technology to European colonies between 1850 and 1940 did not create an industrial revolution in those countries. It argues that the transfer of technology caused some colonial regions to become locked in a state of underdevelopment.
`Headrick's wide reading of the secondary literatures is evident in his accounts of the global shipping industry and of Hong Kong's water supply and sanitation, in his reading of hydraulic imperialism in Egypt, in his discussion of technical education in West Africa and in his commentary on economic botany and the tropical plantations of Empire ... this is a very valuable book indeed. Some of the most important structures of the global formation between 1850-1940 are very clearly set before us and their interconnections rightly emphasized.' Journal of Historical Geography
"Headrick is a master of his technical information and this book is valualbe as a convenient recorfd of the extension overseas of Western shipping, railways, telecommunications, urban utilities, irrigation, botany, mining, metallurgy and education."--EHR "Headrick's wide reading of the secondary literatures is evident in his accounts of the global shipping industry and of Hong Kong's water supply and sanitation, in his reading of hydraulic imperialism in Egypt, in his discussion of technical education in West Africa and in his commentary on economic botany and the tropical plantations of Empire....This is a very valuable book indeed. Some of the most important structures of the global formation between 1850--1940 are very clearly set before us and their interconnections rightly emphasized."--Journal of Historical Geography "An impressive work of synthesis utilizing materials from British, French, German, and Dutch sources....Anyone interested in technology transfer and imperialism will have to consult this book."--David J. Jeremy, Manchester Polytechnic "In a light, analytical narrative, Headrick has continued the project begun with his (1981) The Tools of Empire....A useful and inexpensive text."--World Development "[A] careful synthesis of a wide range of material....Specialists on the history of imperialism will certainly be grateful to Headrick for enabling them to deal more confidently with themes which have often been treated, in semi-ignorance, in a very general way."--International Journal of African Historical Studies "Well conceived and impressively researched....Has significantly redrawn the lines that will be followed in the continuing general debate on the politics as well as the economics of empire."--The Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History "A most fascinating and useful sequel to Daniel Headrick's previous book, Tools of Empire....Not only will Tentacles of Progress alter the way historians look at change in tropical economies over the past one hundred years, but it will also give important guidance to historians of industrial economies by showing where to look for what sort of impact particular new technologies might have."--Business History Review "Very well written, surprisingly detailed, and quite useful....An excellent overview of the subject....Headrick's study will make a significant addition to the reading list for courses on the historical aspects of economic development, and, incidentally, should also improve the quality of the lectures in many of those same courses."--Journal of Economic Literature "Headrick's thesis has been advanced many times in the past, but few scholars have brought together such wide-ranging and diverse materials to support it. In consequence, it is a book well worth reading."--American Historical Review "[An] interesting and easy-to-read exploration of the 'technological context' of the final century of European rule in the tropical lands of Africa and Asia....[Headrick] has given us a stimulating book of mature and thoughtful scholarship."--Fritz Lehmann, Dalhousie University "Lucid and crisply written...[D]ocuments aspects of western colonial influence so far neglected....He argues persuasively and without ideological stridency."--Joseph J. Corn, IStanford University "This is a beautifully clear exposition--a model of analysis of technology in history. It is plain and clear in its explanation of technology and imaginative in exploring the historical effects of different technologies on European exercise of power overseas. Perhaps most attractive is that Headrick is never simplistically deterministic, but takes great care to explain important, but limited effects of the tool technology."--Diethelm Prowe, Carleton College "Lucid, impressively balanced and tautly argued; precisely the kind of book I have been looking for in order to interest upper division students in the contemporary implications of pre-World War II imperialism."--Todd G. Willy, University of California, Berkeley "A superb addition to the literature on colonization, which puts to rest a number of myths."--Bruce Fetter, University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee "A bold and perceptive study of the most complex aspect of European imperialsim, namely, the colonial economics. The author's periscopic and yet lucid approach makes the theme dynamic and extremely palatable to upper division history students. His conclusions reflect objectivity and brilliance."--Isaiah Aazaria, Albany State College "Headrick does a splendid job of relating a complex and vital area of inquiry."--Charles R. Kent, Lock Haven University "A highly topical and appropriate work in a region often ttttected or confused by jargon and meaningless statistics....Clear, incisive, and to the point."--T.E. Smuck, University of Hawaii "Great case studies....Great material."--Leonor Plum, College of Notre Dame, Baltimore "Will find a secure place in the literature of the history of technology. It deserves to be pondered by every student of economic development."--Isis
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