2000 years Of World Manufacturing History

Posted in America, Business, China, European History, India, politics by Anuraag Sanghi on June 28, 2012

Till 200 years ago, India was the dominant industrial power in the world. It has regained a place in the Top 10 again in the space of the last fifty years.

Western manufacturing starts its dominant phase after slave-revolts in Hiati and Caribbean. These revolts coupled with the capital-concentration allowed the Industrial Revolution to spread across the West - and later the world.  |  Creative credits embedded. Additional animation at source. |  Click for image.

Western manufacturing starts its dominant phase after slave-revolts in Hiati and Caribbean. These revolts coupled with the capital-concentration allowed the Industrial Revolution to spread across the West – and later the world. | Creative credits embedded. Additional animation at source. | Click for image.

Western Invention of China

Gunpowder or silk, China has long been credited by the modern West as the inventor or innovator. Thin Chinese evidence in the face of overwhelming balance of convenience favoring India has been overlooked – largely the work of one man, China-Champion Needham.

Even with this bias, India emerges as the historical champion in manufacturing. With technology monopolies in gunpowder, sugar, wootz steel, dominance in silk, cotton, textiles, fabrics, India was an unmatched industrial power till 200 years ago. India’s de-centralized manufacturing made it a lead innovator and manufacturer for the longest period in human history – thanks to भारत-तंत्र Bharat-tantra.

Recent DNA analysis of fibre has revealed that Saraswati-Indus Valley urban centres processed silk much before China. India produced 1000% more gunpowder than China.

Yet, China gets the credit.

Mehrgarh Statuette; Courtesy - Wikimedia Commons; Source: Denis Biette

Mehrgarh Statuette; Courtesy – Wikimedia Commons; Source: Denis Biette

Saraswati Plains – Indus Valley Pioneered Silk, Cotton & Copper

On the plains of Saraswati River and in Sindhu River, (Indus Valley as per modern history) there is archaeological evidence that Indians were the first in the world to use silk, cotton, copper and bitumen (tar) – called daamar डामर/अलकतरा in Hindi (also daambar in some parts).

The metallurgical analysis of a copper bead from a Neolithic burial (6th millennium bc ) at Mehrgarh, Pakistan, allowed the recovery of several threads, preserved by mineralization. They were characterized according to new procedure, combining the use of a reflected-light microscope and a scanning electron microscope, and identified as cotton (Gossypium sp.). The Mehrgarh fibres constitute the earliest known example of cotton in the Old World and put the date of the first use of this textile plant back by more than a millennium. Even though it is not possible to ascertain that the fibres came from an already domesticated species, the evidence suggests an early origin, possibly in the Kachi Plain, of one of the Old World cottons. (via ScienceDirect.com – Journal of Archaeological Science – First Evidence of Cotton at Neolithic Mehrgarh, Pakistan: Analysis of Mineralized Fibres from a Copper Bead).

This topic has come to the fore again.

An infographic (on top) by a British publication badly represented the fact that between 1AD-2000 AD, for 1800 years India was either a dominant or a significant manufacturing centre in the world.

This infographic at first glance seems to show Western manufacturing prowess as long-term development – and not a short-term blip in the last 200-years.

Not surprisingly, it coincides with India’s eclipse – now a 200-year old phenomenon.

What does the future look like.

China will rival the US as the country with the biggest potential to develop key technology breakthroughs with a big impact on the business world, according to a survey of more than 650 executives in industries such as computing and electronics.

According to the poll, organised by the KPMG consultancy, Chinese companies and researchers are beginning to develop expertise.

In the study, 30 per cent of the executives asked to give their views said that China will be the single biggest “global hotspot” for innovation within the next four years, with the US in second place attracting 29 per cent of the votes.

India, Japan and South Korea came next in the poll, with 13 per cent, 8 per cent and 5 per cent of the respondents to the survey naming these countries.

The executives who answered questions in the survey work in technology-based businesses around the world, mainly in North America, Europe and the Asia-Pacific region. (via China to rival US tech knowhow, say execs – FT.com).

This survey, overplays India manufacturing prospects and ignores Germany.

More than India, Japan or Korea, it is Germany which is likely to be the Top-3 industrial and innovation power stakes in the next 25-50 years.

While Indian prospects are indeed worthy of mention, it is unlikely that India will provide the concentration of wealth and power to become a global ‘innovation’ leader in the next 25 years.

We can check this ‘prediction 13 years later.

A date in 2025 , then!

13 Responses

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  1. panduranghari said, on June 28, 2012 at 9:30 am

    As a nation we are under represented in the international media who can tell the world about who we are where we come from. The people will only then understand what Bharat as a nation was.

    Should it start with renaming the country ‘Bharat’

    • admin said, on June 28, 2012 at 9:34 am

    • Anuraag Sanghi said, on June 28, 2012 at 9:35 am

      Bharat is good. Aryavart could be an idea.

      Anything – but India or Hindustan!

      • A Fan of Your Blog said, on June 28, 2012 at 2:27 pm

        Are you not falling for maya and propaganda by discussing names here? How does it matter what we call ourselves? Does it change who we are?

        Speaking for myself, names do not excite me. Systems and systemic outputs do. Let’s talk about transformation where we can get back on the path of dharma and high manufacturing output and GDP per capita.

    • neevaN said, on July 5, 2012 at 10:47 am

      That would be a good start

  2. Anuraag Sanghi said, on June 28, 2012 at 9:40 am

  3. anasuya said, on June 28, 2012 at 11:29 am

    fascinating, as always!

  4. A Fan of Your Blog said, on June 28, 2012 at 2:24 pm

    Good stuff. Very well researched and enlightening.

    There are a couple of things that stand in our way to being truly innovative: First is rote learning at a primary and secondary level, which leads into rote learning at the college and university level. Second is hands-on practical learning. Both are related and have to do with infrastructure. Innovation is driven by playfulness, which requires intimacy with an area of knowledge. Please see these links:

    Clearly, we have been there before, so we can get there again. It just needs a few tweaks to how knowledge is gained and assimilated.

    I was impressed with some (not all) findings and recommendations of the Knowledge Commission, chaired by Sam Pitroda.

    Click to access NKC_Innovation.pdf

    From what I have learned subsequently, those findings and recommendations are far from being implemented.

  5. admin said, on July 28, 2012 at 9:27 am

  6. Nobody said, on August 2, 2012 at 9:29 pm

    Vipin Veetil will soon get his PhD in economics, as he is making all the right noises: http://pragati.nationalinterest.in/2012/07/a-lesson-from-500-bc-india/

    “Traders – many of whom came from the vaishya caste – grew wealthy and their economic position came in direct conflict with their position in the Hindu Caste system. … Also Hindu ideas like “ritual pollution” were impractical for an economy where mercantile activities would bring people from different castes in contact with each other. Buddhism resolved this conflict. … The spread of trade, commerce and Buddhism went hand in hand. This process came to an end with the collapse of the Mauryan Empire, breakdown of central government and reassertion of Hinduism with its caste system. … Nehru declared profit “a dirty word” and the Hindu idea of ritual purity was reborn. … India kept its social order largely intact except perhaps in Kerala and West Bengal 🙂 where land was redistributed. … What India needs is an ideological shift – akin to the adoption of Buddhism. … Buddhism meant more trade, more taxes, a more potent army and expansion of the empire. Also Buddhism allowed for the weakening of the more traditional Hindu power groups which could threaten the ruler’s grip.”

  7. Naras said, on August 3, 2012 at 11:26 am

    Remarkable chart, an eye-opener

  8. Nobody said, on August 14, 2012 at 2:53 pm

    How British socialism created poverty and caste inequality

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