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Attempted Escapes From the Periphery in the Nineteenth Century.
Review - A Journal of the Fernand Braudel Center
In the first two-thirds of the nineteenth century, Egypt and Paraguay experienced the rapid growth of modern industry. Between 1815 and 1850, Egypt developed diversified consumer and producer goods industries, supplied by homemade machinery and equipment. Later on, from 1850 to 1865, Paraguay went through strikingly similar developments, even though these changes were less thorough and prolonged. But this was not a "natural" process brought about by the increasing worldwide division of labor. On the contrary, it signified the substitution of a deliberate economic policy for the "invisible hand" of the international market: Both countries pioneered in producing the general outline of a state plan for modernizing a country with no significant industrial bourgeoisie. For that reason, their eventual failures, following devastating foreign military interventions, have given rise to much controversy. Were they due to the unripeness of overall socioeconomic conditions, to some cultural factors, to the deliberate character of the enterprises, to the shortage of time, to the lack of adequate protection against foreign competition, or to western diplomatic and military interventions? All these hypotheses are discussed in order to gauge the historical relevance of these early attempts at state-led industrialization in Egypt and Paraguay, before Meiji Japan or Czarist Russia.
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