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The Tentacles of Progress

Technology Transfer in the Age of Imperialism, 1850-1940

The Tentacles of Progress by Daniel R. Headrick
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In this trenchant examination of a paradox of colonial rule, Daniel Headrick, author of the widely acclaimed Tools of Empire, shows how the massive transfers of technology--including equipment, techniques, and experts--from the European imperial powers to their colonies in Asia and Africa led not to industrialization but to underdevelopment. He argues that colonial rulers dissociated the geographic transfer of technology from its cultural diffusion by allowing only Europeans access to technical educations and discouraging non-European entrepreneurs. Examining the most important technologies--shipping and railways, telegraphs and wireless, urban water supply and sewage disposal, economic botany and plantation agriculture, irrigation, and mining and metallurgy--Headrick provides a new perspective on colonial economic history and reopens the debate on the roots of Asian and African underdevelopment.
Oxford University Press; March 1988
416 pages; ISBN 9780198021780
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Title: The Tentacles of Progress
Author: Daniel R. Headrick