INDUSTRY. The subject of industry is part of the general pattern of economic development in the early modern period. This development had three basic phases: the first, a period of expansion running from the middle of the fifteenth century through to the very end of the sixteenth; the second, a long stagnation during the seventeenth century that lingered well into the eighteenth; the third, an upswing beginning no earlier than 1730 and perhaps as late as 1750.
The first period began with signs of recovery from the long recession associated with the Black Death (1348–1350) and its recurrent visitations. Among the most significant of those signs were population growth and overseas expansion, particularly the influx of precious metals from the New World. The stagnation of the seventeenth century was marked by the disruption of markets in central Europe by the Thirty Years' War (1618–1648), and by the continued decline of the Mediterranean region. Nevertheless, England and Holland enjoyed continuing economic growth during this period, especially in manufactures, which held significant implications for the future. The upturn of the eighteenth century was sustained by the breaking of the vicious circle of uncertainty created by war, famine, and plague in the preindustrial era. The eighteenth century is the only one to which the term industrialization may reasonably be applied, and then perhaps only to the machine tool inventions and eventually the steam power that were beginning to change the processes of production in Britain.
It is also vital to take careful account of fundamental continuities throughout the period in order to keep the scale of industrial activity in proper proportion. An industrial sector did not exist in its own right but was part of a complex network linking the needs of people in different regions. Villagers needed their cobbler, smith, miller, and butcher. The workshops of the towns were much smaller in scale than the industries of the mountains—mining, smelting, and quarrying. Some urban merchants employed and thus controlled large numbers of workers in rural areas. Throughout the following discussion, it is essential to remember that industry cannot be viewed in isolation from the gradual unfolding of commercial and agricultural circumstance or from social and political evolutions, both planned and unplanned, for industry was in part shaped by these and in turn helped to shape them.
In seeking to locate industry in the early modern economy, therefore, several observations must be made. First, whatever the signs of industrial growth, it was the condition of the rural economy that most affected everyday life. Moreover, concentrations of labor on a truly "industrial" scale were to be found not in the cities but in the serf-based manorial estates of the landlords of eastern Europe. Harvest failure was the trigger of social unrest—as was to be proved in 1789 and 1848. Even in the nineteenth century, something like 70 percent of the urban wage was spent for bread. Second, industrial activity must be seen in relation to the predominance of commerce at the international level and to artisan manufacture in urban workshops. Put another way, the possibilities of "mass production" were very limited. The only goods produced mechanically in identical form were coins and printed books. Third, evidence of "industrialization" was patchy and confined to specific regions and cannot be seen as a truly European phenomenon until well into the nineteenth century.
In turn, this means that the idea of "the rise of the bourgeoisie" as a social phenomenon in the early modern period must be used with great caution—if at all. The social structure fundamentally lacked the plasticity that began to manifest itself only in eighteenth-century Britain. Put more directly, society was still essentially composed of estates, and the old feudal vision of the three orders—clergy, nobility, and those who lived by their labor—still prevailed. Those who prayed (oratores) sanctioned the social predominance of those who fought (bellatores), while those who worked (laboratores) owed their masters labor in return for protection and prayer. The overthrow of this model was the aim—very imperfectly achieved—of the revolutionaries of 1789. Even at that late date, there seemed to be little room in the recognizable social hierarchy for the towns, the state, or the women. Status was a question of function or of birth rather than of money. The church was suspicious of profit, and nobles disdained commerce and handicrafts as unworthy. It is essential to be aware of the social matrix as resistant and often overtly hostile to capital and manufacture. This overrides—and in many ways overwhelms—any scattered examples of the confrontation of capital and labor. By this reasoning, any connection between the "Protestant ethic" and the "spirit of capitalism" must be set in the context of a world in which something approaching 90 percent of the population were peasants.
THE ROLE OF THE STATE
There is also a fundamental paradox in the subject. While industrial activity is usually linked to capitalist free enterprise, the concentration of human and material resources on an unprecedented scale in the early modern period was usually the work of the state. The growth of European armies in the period was staggering, and the state's monopoly on the means of destruction is far more noticeable than the ownership of the means of production by a capitalist entrepreneur. In their scale and power, the new militarized states of the early modern era dwarf any industrializing tendencies in manufacture at that time. Louis XIV of France (ruled 1643–1715) had something like 400,000 men under arms in 1700. The unit of manufacturing production, the urban workshop, rarely exceeded a dozen members. When Louis's minister Jean Baptiste Colbert sought in 1673 to reform manufactures with an edict and with policies often described as "mercantilist," armaments and gun foundries began to employ hundreds of workers. Even so, they did not form anything approaching an industrial proletariat. Instead, they were a privileged category of labor subsidized by the state.
The theme of paradox may be extended and strengthened. Too often, and for too long, historians have sought the seeds of the industrial world in the early modern era, and terms such as preindustrial and proto-industrialization imply some sort of primitive rehearsal for the real thing, which is unhelpful. When considering industrial activity before the industrial revolution, it is essential to be aware of two abiding problems: teleology and anachronism. The teleology insists upon the gradual but inevitable development of a capitalist "world system" and a capitalist civilization, ideas that identify the early modern period as marking a "transition from feudalism to capitalism" in the European economy. Instead, industry in the early modern era should be understood in relation to precedents, precocities, false dreams, and blind alleys. The Middle Ages had experienced its own "industrial revolutions": in the smelting of base metals in the later twelfth century, for instance, and in the introduction of the fulling mill in textile manufacture at about the same time. Moreover, the great cloth towns of Flanders and Italy had witnessed, in the later fourteenth century, startlingly "modern" confrontations of the labor force and the bosses as wage laborers and owners of the means of production clashed in conflicts that bore the features of "class war." Anachronism—the application of terminology and concepts inappropriate to the early modern period—is a common fallacy in our own "post-industrial" era. The modern tendency to describe virtually any economic activity as an industry—for example "farming industry," "food industry," "tourism industry," "music industry," or "film industry"—has no relevance to the early modern era and can prove very misleading. In the early modern world, "industry" was a quality, not a sector of the economy. In the Renaissance, an ingegnere was not so much an "engineer" in the modern sense as someone marked out by their ingegno, which meant "talent" or "genius."
With those qualifications in mind, "industry"—meaning a large-scale enterprise concentrating a numerous work force that is dependent on the owner of the means of production—is applicable in the early modern era to three major economic activities: mining, building (including shipbuilding), and textiles. These were not exclusively urban activities: mining and some processes of textile production were carried out in rural areas, and the workforce often consisted of peasants. Indeed, concentrations of peasant labor—as in the case of the millions of serfs in the great manorial estates of central and eastern Europe—often seem to provide the prototype for the exploitation of labor on a truly "industrial" scale. More starkly still, the mines in the New World, where millions of people from the indigenous population were literally worked into the ground at the will of their Spanish lords, set a pattern for factory production that was perhaps reexported to Europe via the plantation.
Both in eastern Europe and in the New World, therefore, large-scale enterprises were run by essentially "feudal" lords. Somewhat surprisingly, in western Europe at the same time, industrial activity involved the state in a central coordinating role. The most precocious example of this pattern is to be found in the Arsenal of Venice, which concentrated resources on a scale impossible for private enterprise. The Arsenal was the largest industrial complex in the preindustrial era. It employed some five thousand workers (some estimates are three times that figure) as carpenters, caulkers, and makers of sails (many of whom were women), rope (in a factory of some one hundred workers), and oars. Rather than being a repressed proletariat, the workers known as the Arsenalotti were highly skilled and were something approaching an "aristocracy of labor." They formed the personal bodyguard of the doge on ceremonial occasions. The shipyards produced more than half the Christian fleet of more than two hundred galleys that defeated the Turks at Lepanto in 1571. Three years later, the workforce demonstrated that they could fit out a galley in the time it took for the Republic's honored guest—on his way to being crowned Henry III of France in 1574—to dine.
Venetian warships protected and advanced the material interests of the republic in a precocious colonial empire run along mercantilist lines in the Middle Ages. However, the first phase of economic expansion in the early modern period, sometimes referred to as the "long" sixteenth century, witnessed significant developments in patterns of demand that had new implications for manufacture. The increase in population was especially marked in towns, and city-dwellers were, in some important ways, the material beneficiaries of the Renaissance and the Reformation.
The mercantile wealth of cities and the new educational opportunities for the laity brought about a considerable increase in demand for inessentials—goods that went beyond the fundamentals of food, clothing, and shelter. There were new delights in household furnishings and the embellishments of the interior: compare the cool and simple lines of an interior in fresco by Giotto from the fourteenth century with the swaggering opulence of a Holbein from the sixteenth. From the fifteenth century onward, tapestries, furniture, tableware, paintings, porcelain, and metal goods were symptoms of changes in material culture, which scholars now see as significant generalized manifestations of the cultural achievements of the Renaissance. In Florence, a wedding chest for the bride or a birth tray for the newborn child might be decorated by Ghirlandaio or Botticelli, and the fireplace or the dining room might be graced with majolica inspired by the designs of Andrea and Luca della Robbia. Candelabra, lanterns, locks, scales, and weights, along with warming pans and scissors, were the specialist wares of Nuremberg. Moreover, as the period unfolded, such developments were not confined to towns. As the power of the state advanced, the country house came to replace the fortress in the lifestyle of the nobility. In terms of demand and manufacture, we might ponder the significance of replacing defensive walls with glass windows.
Whatever the changes in taste and demand, it is essential to bear in mind that the processes of production remained in traditional patterns associated with medieval guilds and the workshops that they regulated. The complexity and rigor of a workshop training ensured passage from apprenticeship to mastery through the submission of a "masterpiece" for examination, using materials inspected by the officers of the guild. This was an assurance of the quality of workmanship. Thus, in Nuremberg, clockmakers had to produce a standing timepiece that struck the quarters and the hours with different rings, with mobile representations of the Sun and Moon along with the date and the positions of the heavenly bodies, as well as a watch that was worn round the neck and operated as an alarm clock. Each master had to be able to practice a trade with his own hands. Handicraft training thereby acted as protection against overconcentration of labor in dependence on a single capitalist. Day laborers worked as "journeymen" within the workshop. Their position was more vulnerable than that of the apprentice, and they could easily join the ranks of the poor in the event of a sudden downturn in demand. In Lyon and in Venice, however, there is plenty of evidence to suggest that journeymen had their own robust organizations and social networks.
The traditional structures of guilds and workshops were not as hostile to technical innovation as once supposed. Nuremberg provides a fascinating case history of technological changes in the production of metal goods and the development of new possibilities in the making of scientific instruments and weaponry, still very much within the traditions of the corporate structures of guilds. However, the printing of books marked the beginning of a revolution in communications that has persisted through the industrial and postindustrial eras. In the workshop of Aldus Manutius (c. 1450–1515) in Venice in the early sixteenth century, artisans rubbed shoulders with great writers such as Erasmus in an extraordinary combination of the refinedly learned and the strictly practical. Manutius's invention of the elegant italic script made possible the pocket edition with important implications for price and accessibility. The revolutionary quality of book production demanded a new organization of labor. Market forces began to intrude on the workshop. In Lyon in the 1560s fierce competition between groups of journeymen drove wages down as each group sought to outdo the other. Their conflicts were exacerbated by religious differences, a feature that sets them firmly in their time, but there was a clear pointer to the future in the recasting of relations between workers and bosses.
While the printed word is rightly seen as crucial to the spread of the Reformation, one should also bear in mind the significance of the press in spreading new techniques and ideas. Among the most notable works in this category were the De Re Metallica (Concerning metals) of Georgius Agricola (1494–1555), and Vannoccio Biringuccio's (1480–1539) studies of industrial chemistry in Pirotechnia (1540; The art of fireworks). This influential work included studies of gunpowder technology and typecasting, which can still be regarded as the symbols of a new age. Other works spread knowledge of precision instruments: one thinks here of Galileo's writings on telescopes.
PATTERNS OF PRODUCTION
However, most such treatises were not strictly instructional manuals but aimed to flatter their princely dedicatees. There is no simple causal connection to be made between the new ideas of the seventeenth century and changing patterns of production. Indeed, it should be emphasized that the scientific revolution of the seventeenth century occurred in a period of economic stagnation and had little immediate impact on production processes. Moreover, in some places, traditional structures took on a new social and political significance. Guilds were organizations that could offer young, unattached males (a group vulnerable to natural decrease) shelter, training, and work. That work might be shared, a further safeguard against abject poverty. In Nuremberg in 1556, eleven workshops of cloth shearers deposited their profits with the Sworn Master who divided up the total "in such a way that the highest producer and the lowest producer get each an appropriate share." In seventeenth-century Leiden, guild structures remained buoyant and vital during the city's growth from twelve thousand people in 1582 to seventy thousand by 1660. By that time, its workshops were producing 130,000 pieces of cloth per year. The provision of work and forms of social insurance took considerable pressure off the limited welfare available from the city authorities. Within the age of economic stagnation, demand for luxuries continued to expand. A vast concentration of labor and materials produced Versailles for Louis XIV, and Christopher Wren (1632–1723) was to remark that scarcely a surface could be found in the palace that did not support some decorative object. The extraordinary project, far from looking forward to a new age, looks back to the two thousand or so workers on site for the building of the new St. Peter's in Rome in the mid-sixteenth century. Versailles itself was to become a symbol of the ancien régime.
At a much more humdrum level, many of the most important changes in patterns of production in the seventeenth century are summarized by the term proto-industrialization. This is a term to be used with caution, since its explicit sense of being a rehearsal for industrialization "proper" is strongly tinged with the teleology mentioned above. However, it is a concept that takes careful account of new forms of the organization of production associated especially with "putting out" or the "domestic system" in the manufacture of cloth. This is helpful to an understanding of early modern industrial activity because it seeks to trace economic change over the broad long term rather than in relation to technological invention. The new organization of production took shape roughly in the following manner. As economic conditions tightened, merchants sought ways to avoid the overheads—particularly high wages—that guilds jealously protected in towns. Instead merchants offered work—especially spinning and weaving—to people who worked at home in rural areas, where such work was a welcome source of supplementary income. The decline of certain urban centers was sometimes startling. In 1612 Augsburg had more than three thousand master weavers, but barely four hundred by 1720. However, there were clear logistical limitations to putting out work in this way. Quality was difficult to control (a serious disadvantage when compared with urban workshops and guild regulation), pilfering was widespread, and the coordination of the delivery of raw materials and the collection of finished products over relatively long distances was slow and difficult.
Nevertheless, "putting out" was an important underpinning of the production of the so-called "new draperies" in England and the United Provinces. These cloths were light kerseys and worsteds that proved much cheaper than the heavier traditional broadcloths and enabled northern merchants to penetrate the markets of the Levant, to the detriment of centers such as Venice. In fact, Venetian broadcloths remained competitively priced throughout the seventeenth century—but for the tax that the government imposed upon them. That said, during the early modern period, the Venetian economy experienced a huge shift (which its guild system seems to have fostered) from manufacture to retail and services. In terms of production, the balance of economic predominance moved to the north.
The emergent capitalism of seventeenth-century Amsterdam was tied to the extension of the vast serf estates in all the lands that might send grain to Gdańsk (Danzig) in the willing barges of the Dutch. Having thrown off the yoke of the Spanish monarchy in 1648, the Dutch developed the most enterprising, tolerant, "bourgeois" society of the early modern era. And—within the context of their times—they were great industrialists. Peter I the Great of Russia (ruled 1682–1725) visited Amsterdam to find out how to build his ships. Leiden was one of Europe's leading centers of textile production. Dutch entrepreneurs organized the exploitation of the copper mines and iron foundries of Sweden. Dutch printing presses produced some of the seminal works of the scientific revolution and the Enlightenment, and Dutch telescopes and maps furthered overseas commercial interests.
However, the interiors painted by the great Dutch artists show a cultivated taste for comfort—clothing, drapes, tiles, wall hangings, musical instruments, furniture and glass—that only the highest standards of manufacture could sustain. Workshops continued to depend on the appropriate guild's stipulations for training, and the units of production remained small: a workforce as large as fifty people in a glassworks was quite exceptional. In some ways, then, the expansion of the Dutch economy in the seventeenth century may be seen as the culmination of the "material Renaissance" rather than a foreshadowing of the industrial world. The United Provinces played no significant role in the launching of the industrial revolution. The chief reason for this appears to be environmental accident. The Dutch had plenty of peat, but no coal, and peat cannot generate sufficient heat to smelt iron. In England, by contrast, albeit from a very small initial base, domestic coal output rose by 1,400 percent between 1560 and 1690. This was the basis of what is sometimes known as "carboniferous capitalism."
THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY
Many more statistics and data are available from the eighteenth century than from the preceding period. It is important, therefore, not to exaggerate the nature and scale of change in the era because in reviewing the evidence we may not always be comparing like with like. Yet some cautious generalizations are possible. First, wars became more disciplined, and a clearer distinction developed between military and civilian spheres. Climatic conditions marked a distinct improvement over the "Little Ice Age" of the seventeenth century, making for fewer disastrous harvests. Plague made its last visitation (though no one could have known that it would not return). The chances of survival were greater, and the resultant population expansion known as the "vital revolution" has continued into modern times. There were new concentrations of demand for products, and again the political dimension is essential here since urban growth was particularly marked in the case of capital cities. Following its foundation in 1703, St. Petersburg grew to 220,000 people by 1789, Berlin grew from 8,000 people to 180,000, Paris had more than 500,000 inhabitants by the late eighteenth century, and by then perhaps 900,000 people lived in London. Such expansion dramatically increased the available labor force, and challenged guild monopolies (which were often limited in jurisdiction to the area within the old city walls). Considerable improvements were made in communication and distribution between such centers, too, brought about in Britain in particular by vast programs of canal building and road construction. The broader potential of expansion was boosted by the underpinning of state banks—in England in 1694, Scotland 1695, Prussia 1765, and France 1776.
However, the new concentrations of labor in the same workplace provide the most potent signs of industrialization. Whether we cite the two thousand people who worked for the Wilkinson foundry at Bersham, or the 300,000 workers in the mines and forges of the Urals, such numbers are considerably higher than what was usual in the earlier part of our period. However, it is in textile production that the reorganization through concentration was most marked. Nowhere was it especially sudden, and it is important to acknowledge its beginnings in the seventeenth century in regions such as northeastern France, Westphalia, Silesia, Saxony, Flanders, and the West Riding of Yorkshire in England. The rural dimension of production remained highly significant. Even in the 1780s, 73 percent of all the looms in Picardy in France were located in rural areas. In 1748 in Silesia, 81 percent of all the linen produced was made in the countryside. By mid-century in Sedan, twenty-five merchants were employing around 15,000 people. In 1765, one Prussian Manufaktur employed more than 750 workers in the same place. In Abbeville, after Anne Robert Jacques Turgot's abolition of France's old corporations in 1776, the Van Robais Company had ten thousand employees in domestic industry, but also eighteen hundred working under one roof.
Striking evidence can be found of dramatic increases in textile production. French cloth production rose 126 percent between 1700 and 1785, and Scottish linen production increased sevenfold between 1730 and the end of the century. While the production of English woolen cloth doubled, it soon became clear that cotton would be king. Britain imported a million pounds of it in 1700, and 15 million in 1780, a figure that had doubled to 30 million by 1789. Cotton cloth was to be the first sizeable industry of the industrial revolution, depending as it did on mechanical inventions, notably James Hargreaves's spinning jenny (c. 1764; patented 1770), Richard Arkwright's waterframe (patented 1769), and Samuel Crompton's mule-jenny (1779). However, the china factories of Dresden prove that new patterns of production were not entirely confined to textiles in Britain, and signs of the development of industrial regions can be found not just in the north of England, but also in Biscay and in Catalonia.
Soaring production was accompanied by falling prices. It is appropriate to quote Adam Smith, who remarked in Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations (1776) on the price of a watch, for it seems to symbolize a reshaping of the relationship between time and money. At the beginning of the early modern period, merchants were still hemmed in by church teaching—and laws—on usury. Traditionally, time belonged to God, and to make money over time was to appropriate what belonged to God. Such action was an expression of pride, the capital sin of Lucifer. By the last quarter of the eighteenth century, trade and manufacture, with the profit and prosperity they generated, were celebrated as an expression of humanity's control over the world and its resources. This in turn was the result of the scientific revolution of the seventeenth century with its new emphasis on direct observation and material demonstration. In the Enlightenment of the eighteenth century, these ideas began to find more extensive application. Smith wrote, "the diminution of price has, in the course of the present century, been most remarkable in those manufactures of which the materials are the coarser metals. A better movement of a watch, that about the middle of the last century would have been bought for 20 pounds, may now perhaps be had for 20 shillings."
This confidence in the direction of things seemed to be reflected in the physical environment. Apothecaries' shops and candlemakers continued in their traditional ways in Shropshire, but they now stood in the shadow of a coal mine and close to Europe's first iron bridge—which gave its name to the town (Ironbridge). However, as the new era of mechanical progress opened, abrupt changes in the workplace and in the natural landscape made the new mills—at least to Luddites and saboteurs—look dark and satanic.
See also Agriculture ; Capitalism ; Commerce and Markets ; Feudalism ; Guilds ; Industrial Revolution ; Laborers ; Mercantilism ; Peasantry ; Proto-Industry ; Scientific Revolution .
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Throughout the world there are various types of pollution that interfere with the quality of life for all living creatures and with the natural functioning of the earth's ecological systems. Although some environmental pollution is a result of natural causes (such as methane emissions from cattle and toxic materials expelled from volcanoes), most pollution is caused by human activities.
Human Industrial Activities
In the United States, as is the case in most industrialized nations, the greatest source of pollution is the industrial community. According to the 2000 Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), over 2.95 million metric tons (6.5 billion pounds) of toxic chemicals from about 2,000 industrial facilities are annually released into the environment, including nearly 45,360 metric tons (100 million pounds) of recognized carcinogens.
Human contamination of the earth's atmosphere has existed since humans first began to use fire for heating, cooking, and agriculture, approximately one-half million years ago. The mining and smelting of ores that accompanied the transition from the Stone Age to the Metal Age (roughly 5,000 years ago) resulted in wastes that spread potentially toxic elements such as lead, mercury, and nickel throughout the environment. Professor Clair Patterson, a geochemist at the California Institute of Technology, has stated that samples detected in Greenland ice cores at depths just over one kilometer (about 0.6 mile) show small but significant levels of lead present throughout the last eight thousand years. In 1994 scientists reporting in the journal Science (September 23, 1994) concurred with Patterson, saying, "Analysis of the Greenland ice core covering the period from 3,000 to 500 years ago—the Greek, Roman, Medieval and Renaissance times—shows that lead is present at concentrations four times as great as natural values from about 2,500 to 1,700 years ago (500 b.c.e. to c.e. 300)."
During the Industrial Revolution of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, pollution became a major problem with the introduction of the steam engine and a series of technological advances that led to the production of goods shifting from homes and small factories to large industrial factories. The invention of more productive processes to manufacture cotton textiles contributed greatly to the number of mills located in England, and later in the northeastern United States. The steam engine allowed capitalists to transfer their manufacturing plants away from naturally flowing waters (outside the city) to areas inside and around cities where more abundant labor was available. Pollution increased because of the more concentrated conditions within the industrializing cities and because of the use of artificially produced power (such as coal) that replaced the natural power of fast-running rivers.
Evidence of pollution during the early Industrial Revolution in England and the European continent is widespread. South Wales, located in southwestern England, was described by Adam Markham in A Brief History of Pollution (1994) as a "veritable witches cauldron of industrial pollution." Samples of hair from historical figures such as Isaac Newton and Napoleon Bonaparte show the presence of antimony and mercury at toxic levels not normally found in human hair.
An industry is a collection of companies that operate in a related set of goods or services, which are eventually sold to purchasers. In any country, numerous industries work together to produce the necessary goods and services needed and desired for its people. By convention, industries are divided into three groups:
- Primary industries are involved in the collection, utilizing, and harvesting of resources directly produced by physical processes (e.g., mining and smelting).
- Secondary industries deal with manufacturing as they take raw materials, convert them in various ways, and produce tangible goods (e.g., automobile factories).
- Tertiary industries produce services for individuals and groups (e.g., advertising).
These three groups are distinctive regarding the amount of pollution produced in their operations. Some sectors (such as tourism) have a close relationship with the environment, whereas others have adopted a particularly proactive environmental response (such as the automobile industry with regard to recycling old cars) and still others continue to have a noticeable detrimental impact on the environment (such as the automobile industry with regard to exhaust emissions). Since the largest impact from pollution (and associated waste products) is produced within the secondary industries, this sector will be the topic of discussion in this article. Most economists commonly refer to the secondary industries (the manufacturing sector) as "industry," whereas the primary industries are usually referred to as the agricultural and mining sector, and the tertiary industries as the service sector.
The public is becoming increasingly aware of the interactions and conflicts between industry and the environment. Events such as the 1989 oil spill from the tanker Exxon Valdez off Prince William Sound in Alaska—one of the most publicized and studied environmental tragedies—have highlighted the growing significance of maintaining a healthy environment while improving how corporations operate. Business responses to environmental influences fall within a wide spectrum of actions and inactions. On one side are businesses that attempt to decrease any negative impacts their activities have on the environment. For example, the 3M Corporation's Product Responsibility Program encourages its employees and business units to think from "cradleto-the-grave" with respect to their products. On the other hand, some businesses have continued to pollute the environment while professing to be environmentally conscious. For example, Royal Dutch/Shell has spent millions of dollars to create the impression that it is an environmentally responsible oil company. According to Jack Doyle, author of the book Riding the Dragon: Royal Dutch Shell and the Fossil Fire (2003), the company actively continues its efforts to suppress governmental articles that report on its environmental malfeasance.
Common Industrial Polluters
Many of the largest polluters come from the chemical, pesticide, oil refining, petrochemical, metal smelting, iron and steel, and food processing industries. All are major users of energy that produce large amounts of waste products and pollution. Other industries have less potential impact but are still considered highly problematic when it comes to pollution. These industries include the textile, leather tanning, paint, plastics, pharmaceutical, and paper and pulp industries. Industries that are often outside the traditional manufacturing sector—but nevertheless contribute to environmental degradation—include the construction industry, to name but one example.
Profit-principle Balancing Act
For industry, the bottom line is profits. In 1998 the chairman of The Royal Dutch/Shell Group of Companies, Mark Moody-Stuart, stated, "We believe that without principles, no company deserves profit. Without profits, no company can sustain principles." Alasdair Blair and David Hitchcock, authors of Environment and Business (2001), respond to this statement by noting the following about the remarks of the Shell chairman: He acknowledges the fact that profits without principles is immoral but, on the other hand, realizes that no company can afford to possess principles which go counter to profits.
There is an inevitable balancing act that must be played out by companies each and every day with respect to "principle" and "profit." No company can operate on purely proenvironmental decisions, nor can a company run solely on the basis of maximum profits. In the end, a company must choose a course of action that is somewhere in between the two extremes.
Evolution of Industrial Perspectives and Pollution
Pollution first became a persistent problem during the Industrial Revolution. The introduction of the factory system, the substitution of hand labor by machine labor (which led to dramatic rises in productivity), the application of power (mainly coal) to industrial processes, and the use of the railroad—all helped to accelerate the pollution problem. Early small-scale industries resulted in local concentrations of air and water pollution and land contamination. The area of London, England, is an obvious example of a locality steeped in considerable pollution. The manufacturing industries of the nineteenth century mostly involved the processing of natural materials such as cotton, leather, and other natural fibers along with the mining and fabrication of metal products.
As the scale of operations grew in the latter half of the nineteenth century, the amounts of pollution and land despoliation and the area over which it took place dramatically increased. The railroads paralleled this expansion. As the rails expanded westward from the New England states, pollution followed in Chicago, Illinois; St. Louis, Missouri; and Detroit, Michigan; and later in Houston, Texas; Denver, Colorado; and Los Angeles, California (to name a few of the states affected). The twentieth century saw the rapid development of industries based on the chemical manufacturing of such items as dyes, plastics, and pharmaceuticals. Oil replaced coal as industry's primary power and energy source. The same era witnessed drastic changes in the structure, nature, and organization of factories as they quickly converted to mass production techniques to keep up with demand. By the close of the twentieth century, companies had advanced from plant-wide organizations to worldwide operations. Throughout the twentieth century, the advancement of technology allowed large corporations to dominate the industrial landscape, and to have a most drastic effect on the environment. To counter some negative environmental impact, the final decade of the twentieth century saw a positive shift in emphasis from "end-of-pipe" controls on releases into the environment to the elimination of potential pollution at its source ("beginning of pipe"). Rather than trying to "fix" a problem that had already occurred, industry began to "eliminate" the problem before it occurred.
Environmentalism. During the Industrial Revolution, companies were virtually consumed with production and profits. There was little time for or concern with the effects of pollution. Companies were by and large concerned with the means of production rather than the effect of production on the environment. Once the wealth generated by the mass production of goods slowly drifted down to common workers, more questions were raised about the air and water pollution being generated by factories. Environmental changes did occur gradually in the next hundred years. But it was the 1960s that saw the greatest increase in environmental concerns raised by the public. Business was perceived as the enemy, and the mass environmental movement brought on by a rejection of social and political traditions of the past forced many changes to the indifference previously displayed by business toward the environment.
The pressures on companies to reduce pollution have varied over time with societal expectations and attitudes. For example, air pollution was a concern in the 1850s when English companies emitted noxious pollutants from their chimneys. In England beginning in 1863, legislation was passed, the socalled Alkali Acts, which eventually improved atmospheric conditions. However, companies continued to emit smoke as a result of coal burning. This problem continued to worsen, and smog became an increasing concern in the mid-twentieth-century skies over London. Public concern was generated after health problems were linked to such soot emissions, and passage of the British Clean Air Act of the 1950s was the result. Today, power stations in England are under pressure to fit scrubbers to their emission systems to reduce atmospheric sulfur emissions.
Environmental Business Costs
Environmental advancements have been made over the past 150 years regarding industrial behavior. In the past, companies had been able to regard the air, land, and water as free goods. Often, companies saw the pollution they generated as something they could externalize. That is, since air, land, and water pollution usually affects areas that businesses do not own, then it was not their responsibility to address and consequently there was no need to increase costs in order to limit their wastes. Industrial polluters then passed on the environmental costs of their operations, instead of incorporating them into their own cost structure. Today, the attitude is completely different: The originator is responsible, on both a legal and moral basis, for the spread of pollutants into the air, land, and water, and must shoulder the cost of any required cleanup.
Environmental costs are a legitimate and justifiable part of doing business, but as with any cost, it is desirable to minimize these costs as much as possible. Environmental costs may be brought into a company as an internal cost for these reasons:
- Compliance with regulations or anticipation of future regulations: Directed by national or state requirements, all companies must obey laws enacted by governments. For example, coal-burning factories install desulfurization equipment when mandated by the government.
- Image building or eco-efficiency: Even though no laws apply, companies might voluntarily use environmentally safe processes when seen as not living up to social norms. For example, Shell Oil towed its faulty Brent Spar oil platform to shore after public protest against its planned disposal on the seafloor.
- Sustainable development initiatives: Companies might add environmental policies when potential savings could be realized in the long term. This concept is basic to the guidelines established by the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, which sees sustainable development as an essential part of its pollution-prevention philosophy.
- Voluntary cleanup programs: Companies often volunteer to clean up pollution as a result of pressures from politicians, the public, and the government. Many companies would rather pay the extra cost to clean up, rather than fight the problem in court and risk bad publicity in the media.
- Initiatives to attain international certification: Often, in order to expand to overseas markets, companies must strengthen their regulatory standards to achieve certification throughout all trading countries. For instance, a company that wishes to trade internationally must meet the rules enacted by the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), which is the principal international group whose rules govern the majority of international trade.
Unchanged Industry Behavior
Sometimes, polluting companies have not succumbed to social, political, and governmental pressures. Several companies have denied responsibility for pollution even when faced with strong evidence to the contrary. Other companies, after admitting responsibility, promise strong action, but deliver nothing. Still other companies have performed admirably when it comes to being environmentally friendly. However, industry, for the most part, is only responding to the general demand for a higher material standard of living—that is, giving consumers what they want. If products continue to take priority over pollution control, then the fault must be one shared between the consumer and the producer.
Throughout modern history, individuals and small groups have agitated against various types of pollution. The advent of U.S. and English conservation societies, beginning with the Industrial Revolution, brought to the forefront new environmental issues. There are presently thousands of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) that exist in virtually all the world's free-speech countries, including international organizations such as Green-peace, Friends of the Earth, and the Sierra Club, to small local organizations that fight to control the pollution of their waters and lands.
However big or small, environmental groups help to publicize industries that pollute. In every case, industry has important decisions to make regarding how it conducts business. It may pollute the environment, but the very pollution that it expels may one day bring an end to its profits. The balancing act that industry now faces with regard to pollution and profits is difficult, at best.
The industrialization of the world has had a profound effect on its people and environment. Industry has not always performed admirably with respect to its responsibility for the pollution it expels into the ecosystem. Nonetheless, with current governmental regulations, the efforts of individuals and environmental groups, and the realization by leaders of industry, themselves, that a healthy environment is good for business and profits, the industrial community is more effectively balancing profits with its environmental responsibility to the general satisfaction of most people.
see also Laws and Regulations, International; Laws and Regulations, United States; Lifestyle; Mass Media.
Allenby, Braden R., and Richards, Deanna J., eds. (2001). The Greening of Industrial Ecosystems. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.
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William Arthur Atkins & Philip Koth
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Atkins, William Arthur; Koth, Philip. "Industry." Pollution A to Z. 2004. Retrieved September 28, 2016 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-3408100126.html
Limitations. Seventeenth-century manufacturing meant the production of articles or material by physical labor or mechanical labor. Industry during the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries was limited. Low population, few urban markets, undeveloped inland transportation, scarce labor and capital, and the Navigation Acts prevented extensive development. Colonists
preferred to commit energy and capital to agricultural endeavors and downplayed consumerism. The manufacturing that did occur relied on simple tools in modest settings. Most colonial artisans toiled in workshops attached to their homes. The family was the primary unit of production, with the master craftsman assisted by his wife, children, and an occasional apprentice. These dispersed shops were located primarily in New England and Pennsylvania, where staple crops did not dominate the export economy. In contrast to the staple crops that were essential to the extended empire, colonial manufacturing was important to scattered local settlements.
Leader. Philadelphia was the leading manufacturing center during the colonial period, followed by New England. In spite of the focus on agriculture a range of small industries developed, especially in alcohol and leather. With increased access to West Indian molasses in 1717, sixty-three distilleries ran full-time in Massachusetts. Beer was the beverage of choice until the Scots-Irish introduced distilled spirits. As late as 1721 Pennsylvania shipped beer as far south as Charleston. Eventually the production of New England rum surpassed that of beer and cider. Nearly every farmer on the frontier had a still. Tanning proved a profitable venture, providing leather to shoemakers, saddlers, and harness makers in larger towns and villages. Pennsylvania, supplying most of the tanned leather and shoes for southern trade, was first among colonies in leather production.
Shipbuilding. The Navigation Act of 1651 limited colonial commerce to English and colonial vessels and stimulated colonial shipbuilding. As shipbuilding became the leading industry in Massachusetts in 1660, Edward Johnson noted, “Many a fair ship had her framing and finishing here, besides lesser vessels, barques, and ketches; many a Master, beside common Seamen, had their first learning in this colony.” Pennsylvania also developed a thriving shipbuilding trade, and its ships earned a reputation for speed and beauty.
Textiles and Other Industries. By 1750 inhabitants of Pennsylvania were making nine-tenths of their own cloth from materials produced on their own farms. They produced mostly wool but also worked with flax to make linen. Their industry affected the larger economy by giving employment to dyers, fullers, cardmakers, combmakers, spinners, and weavers. On a much smaller scale artisans produced bricks and tiles, pottery, clocks, silver, pewter, and gold artifacts.
Mills and Furnaces. Gristmills and sawmills emerged as the first industries that required a separate facility. They employed a larger workforce, required more substantial investment in plant and equipment, and depended in large part on water power. They supplied flour and lumber for both local and foreign trade. Other such structures housed ironworks, glassworks, paper mills, and powder mills. Small iron forges and furnaces multiplied in Pennsylvania because of abundant ore and water power. By 1750 Pennsylvania had taken first place in the manufacture of iron.
Fishing. The town of Marblehead, Massachusetts, protested against an export tax in 1669 because “Fish is the only great stapple which the Country produceth for forraine parts and is so benefitiall for making returns for what wee need.” New England fishing fed the West Indies and Mediterranean countries. Codfish in those northern waters were unsurpassed for salting and drying. New Englanders produced three grades of fish for export. Dun fish, buried to dry and mellow, was the highest grade that merchants exported to Spain, Portugal, and France. The middling grade was easy to transport, keep, and prepare. It was the favorite winter food of colonial farmers. Merchants exported the third, and lowest, grade to the West Indies along with pickled mackerel and bass. The real profit was in distribution, not production. Merchants such as Thomas Hancock earned more money by distributing dried fish and other New England manufactured goods than by simply selling them at home. They split their exports roughly into thirds: foodstuffs, fish, and wood products.
Whaling. A resourceful Christopher Hussey fitted a vessel in 1715 to hunt sperm whales and tow them back to a Nantucket port. Ships sailing out of Cape Cod, Nantucket, and Martha’s Vineyard sought whales that swam freely in the northern waters of the Atlantic. Whales were a valuable commodity that provided raw materials for the colonies to process and sell to domestic and overseas markets: ambergris for perfume, whalebone for stays and stiffeners, oil for lamps, and spermaceti for candles.
Jack P. Greene and J. R. Pole, Colonial British America: Essays in the New History of the Early Modern Era (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1984);
Stephen Innes, ed., Work and Labor in Early America (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1988);
James T. Lemon, The Best Poor Man’s Country: A Geographical Study of Early Southeastern Pennsylvania (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1972);
Marcus Rediker, Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea: Merchant Seamen, Pirates, and the Anglo-American Maritime World, 1700-1750 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1987).
"Industry." American Eras. 1997. Encyclopedia.com. (September 28, 2016). http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-2536600233.html
"Industry." American Eras. 1997. Retrieved September 28, 2016 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-2536600233.html
Industry refers to the organization of the economy around a particular set of products or related activities. For practical purposes, researchers may wish to compare the structures of different product or country markets either simultaneously or over a defined time period. To meet this need, government statistical agencies have developed standardized systems for classifying the activities of firms into industries. The NACE classification system, which is a French acronym for General Industrial Classification for Economic activities within European Communities, is used in the European Union, while in the United States, Canada, and Mexico, the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS, pronounced “nakes”) is used. These systems broadly classify business establishments according to their primary activity.
Unlike standard microeconomic analysis, the study of industrial organization takes as its starting point the view that markets are less than perfect. “Actually existing capitalism” does not operate according to price competition alone, but promotes a variety of business strategies. These are affected by the way that markets for industries are “embedded” in a particular institutional climate. There are also barriers to entry in markets that can result in minimizing the full force of competition.
The study of industrial organization focuses on the link between market structure and business conduct in determining market performance. Market structure can vary from conditions of near full competition to oligopolies with high barriers to entry. A key feature of any particular market is the degree of concentration in a small number of firms. The level of concentration can be measured by a Lorenz curve that plots the cumulative percentage of market output against the cumulative percentage of firms from smallest to largest. The market structure can affect business conduct in terms of pricing, research and development, or branding strategies. Finally, this leads to measures of business performance in terms of dynamic or product efficiency, profitability, or growth. Writers from the early Harvard school placed primary emphasis on market structure, whereas those from the Chicago school have attempted to use traditional price theory in their analysis of industrial performance.
The historical pattern by which particular countries industrialized can also have an important influence on the structure of its industries. In Europe, for example, the reliance of Britain on the markets of its empire inclined firms toward labor-intensive, simple, and cheap products. This led to a weakness in manufacturing after World War II (1939–1945), and today Britain has one of the highest rates of deindustrialization in the world. By contrast, the late industrialization of Germany, combined with a close interaction with the banks, led to an emphasis on technological sophistication and cost containment, which led to greater success for German manufacturing.
Industrial development can also be affected by different modes of regulation, defined as complexes of institutions, norms, and regulating networks that affect the behavior of firms. Among these complexes are the structure of bargaining over the wage-effort contract, the institutional compromises at the level of the state, the relationship between industry and finance, and the international trade regime. The mode of regulation can evolve though sociopolitical conflict, which eventually has an impact on industry.
SEE ALSO Agricultural Industry; Automobile Industry; Aviation Industry; Banana Industry; Banking Industry; Bauxite Industry; Cattle Industry; Coffee Industry; Copper Industry; Cotton Industry; Diamond Industry; Drug Traffic; Energy Industry; Entertainment Industry; Film Industry; Fishing Industry; Flower Industry; Gold Industry; Industrialization; Infant Industry; Insurance Industry; Microelectronics Industry; Mining Industry; Peanut Industry; Petroleum Industry; Pharmaceutical Industry; Prison Industry; Railway Industry; Recording Industry; Shipping Industry; Silver Industry; Slavery Industry; Sports Industry; Steel Industry; Sugar Industry; Tea Industry; Telecommunications Industry; Tobacco Industry; Tourism Industry; Transportation Industry; Vanilla Industry; Weapons Industry
Baumol, William J., John C. Panzar, and Robert D. Willig. 1982. Contestable Markets and the Theory of Industry Structure. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich.
Davies, S., B. Lyons, H. Dixon, and P. Geroski, eds. 1988. Economics of Industrial Organisation. Harlow, U.K.: Longman.
Pickering, J. F. 1974. Industrial Structure and Market Conduct. London: Martin Robertson.
Scherer, Frederic M. 1970. Industrial Market Structure and Economic Performance. Chicago: Rand McNally.
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- the branch of chemistry that deals with the industrial use and application of organic substances. —chemurgic, chemurgical , adj.
- Rare. useful arts, as agriculture, commerce, and manufacturing.
- the science and technology of applying radiation and x rays to industrial use. See also 343. RADIO .
- the application of automated machinery to tasks traditionally done by hand, as in the manufacturing industry.
- a believer in the doctrines of John Alexander Dowie who founded Zion City, Illinois, in 1901, as an industrial community for his followers.
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"Industry." -Ologies and -Isms. 1986. Retrieved September 28, 2016 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-2505200232.html
in·dus·try / ˈindəstrē/ • n. (pl. -tries) 1. economic activity concerned with the processing of raw materials and manufacture of goods in factories: the competitiveness of American industry. ∎ a particular form or branch of economic or commercial activity: the car industry | the tourist industry. ∎ inf. an activity or domain in which a great deal of time or effort is expended: the Shakespeare industry. 2. hard work: the kitchen became a hive of industry.
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So industrious †skilful, ingenious; painstaking, hardworking. XVI. industrial XVI (isolated exx. before XIX); hence industrialism XIX.
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