Class 10 History

Pace of Globalisation in the Nineteenth Century (1815–1914)

Making of a Global World

The world had changed dramatically during the nineteenth century. There were changes in social, political, economic and technological factors in much complex ways during this period. The changes altered the external relations beyond recognition.

Economists identify three types of flows within international economic exchanges. These are as follows: Flow of trade, Flow of labor and Flow of capital.

Increase in Scale of Globalization

Food is among the most important things needed for life. Let us see how various changes in food production facilitated globalization across the world.

Traditionally, countries liked to be self sufficient in food. But self sufficiency in food meant a low quality of life for the people of Britain. Quality food in sufficient quantity was not available in Britain.

Corn Law

During eighteenth century in Britain, there was exponential increase in demand for food because of huge growth in population. The government introduced the Corn Laws (to restrict import of corn) under pressure from the landed group. Restriction on imports resulted in steep hike in food prices in Britain. After that, the industrialists and urban dwellers forced the government to abolish the Corn Laws.

Effects of abolition of Corn Laws:

Abolition of Corn Laws resulted in cheaper imports giving tough competition to the British farm produce. Farmers left vast areas of land uncultivated because farming no longer remained profitable. Facing the problem of unemployment, people migrated to cities in search of work. Many people also migrated overseas.

As the food prices fell in Britain, demand increased. People’s income had also increased because of industrialization. Increased demand resulted in increased import of food items into Britain. Large tracts of land were cleared in Eastern Europe, America, Russia and Australia to cater to this demand.

Railway lines were laid to connect farming hubs to the ports, so that food-grains could be supplied to the ports. New habitations started coming up in agricultural hubs because of influx of workers. To facilitate these activities, capital flowed from financial centers (such as London).

The demand for workforce resulted in large scale migration of people to Americas and Australia. About 50 million people from Europe migrated to Americas and Australia during the nineteenth century. About 150 million people migrated all over the world during this period.

The example of Corn Laws shows how movement of goods, capital and people increased the scale of globalization. Thus, a global agricultural economy had taken shape by 1890s.

Role of Technology

Technology definitely played an important role in globalizing the world economy during this period. Some of the major technological innovations were the railways, steamship and telegraph. Railways helped in connecting the hinterland to the ports. Steamships helped in transporting goods in bulk across the Atlantic. Telegraph helped in speeding up the communication and thus facilitated better economic transaction.

Trade in Meat

Trade in meat shows a very good example of benefit of technology on the life of common people. Till 1870s, live animals were shipped from America to Europe. Shipping live animals had its own problems. Live animals took more space and many animals either died or became sick during the transit. Due to this, meat remained a luxury item for most of the Europeans.

Refrigeration Technology

Arrival of refrigeration technology changed the picture. Now, animals could be slaughtered in America and meat could be shipped to Europe. This helped in better utilization of space in the ships. This also helped in better availability of meat for the Europeans. Prices of meat products fell as a result. Now, even the common people could afford to eat meat on a regular basis.

Better availability of food promoted social peace within the countries. People of Britain were now more receptive to imperial ambitions of the country.