Tawney Lecture 2014: Industrialisation, global history and the ghost of Rostow

Authors/Speakers/Subjects: Pat Hudson

Published Date: 23 Jun 2014

Duration: 56 minutes, 39 seconds


This year's Tawney Lecture Pat Hudson considers current approaches to understanding industrialisation as a global process. She argues that, in many respects, we have not moved on sufficiently, in our models, conceptions and prejudices, from  W.W. Rostow's Cold War manifesto on the subject first published in 1960 as a liberal counterpoint to the then perceived threat of Communist ideology. However, she traces an aspect of Rostow's thought that we should have taken more seriously: his objection to employing GDP per capita as a measure of the condition or success of an economy and its application as a tool of trans-national comparison. She concludes the lecture by reversing the idea that global development, past and present, should  be viewed in relation to Western yardsticks, instead considering how the British industrial revolution might look when reflected in an Asian mirror.

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