Three Industrial Revolutions

There were three industrial revolutions. All peaked in invention in the 60s-80s, and there will likely be a fourth one in the 21st century.

The first was based on coal, rail, steamboats, etc. This was the era of the beginning of modern economic growth and the “rise of the West” over the rest”. The peak of it all was the peak of Anglo-American population concentration around rail lines, ports, and coal fields during the later 1920s.

The second was based on petroleum and power lines and was fundamentally equalizing. It resulted in the rise of the Second World and the various Middle Income countries (Japan, Mexico, the U.S. South, Puerto Rico, South Italy, etc.). South Korea, India, China, etc. were latecomers, but were still part of the same process.

The third was that in communications and computer technologies and primarily benefited Africa and Silicon Valley.

WWII took place between the peak of the first (thus Germany being poorer than Britain and Britain being Europe’s leading economy), but on the cusp of the spread of the fruits of the second (thus the growing importance of the automobile, electricity, and the aeroplane). The fall of the USSR took place after the maturation of the second and in the late phase of the third. We are undergoing the spread of the fruits of the third.

Author: pithom

An atheist with an interest in the history of the ancient Near East. Author of the Against Jebel al-Lawz Wordpress blog.

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