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Manufacturing of an automobile by Tesla Tesla auto bots.jpg
Manufacturing of an automobile by Tesla

Manufacturing is the creation or production of goods with the help of equipment, labor, machines, tools, and chemical or biological processing or formulation. It is the essence of secondary sector of the economy. [1] The term may refer to a range of human activity, from handicraft to high-tech, but it is most commonly applied to industrial design, in which raw materials from the primary sector are transformed into finished goods on a large scale. Such goods may be sold to other manufacturers for the production of other more complex products (such as aircraft, household appliances, furniture, sports equipment or automobiles), or distributed via the tertiary industry to end users and consumers (usually through wholesalers, who in turn sell to retailers, who then sell them to individual customers).


Manufacturing engineering, or the manufacturing process, are the steps through which raw materials are transformed into a final product. The manufacturing process begins with the product design, and materials specification from which the product is made. These materials are then modified through manufacturing processes to become the desired part.

Modern manufacturing includes all intermediate processes involved in the production and integration of a product's components. Some industries, such as semiconductor and steel manufacturers, use the term fabrication instead.

The manufacturing sector is closely connected with the engineering and industrial design industries.

Major manufacturing nations and companies

Top 5 manufacturing countries
RankName [2]
2United States

The manufacturing sector has changed, bringing new opportunities and challenges to business pioneers. All the possible largest manufacturing nations in the world have advantages and disadvantages as far as their capacities to take on global manufacturing. Manufacturing will remain the most grounded differential when top manufacturing nations are evaluated on their competitiveness. A new study examination on future worldwide competitiveness, by Deloitte Global and the U.S. Committee on Competitiveness, predicts that the U.S. will displace China as the most competitive manufacturing nation in the world in 2020. The 2016 Global manufacturing competitive index predicts that the best manufacturing nations in the world will stay steady among now and 2020, with some trade of rankings. The Deloitte study requested global CEOs to rank top manufacturing countries regarding current and future manufacturing competitiveness. As per the reports United States is expected to be in the first spot followed by China, Germany, Japan and India. [3] [2]

Examples of major manufacturers in North America include :

Examples in Europe include:

Examples in Asia include:


The Modern English word manufacture is likely derived from the Middle French manufacture ("process of making") which itself originates from the Classical Latin manū ("hand") and Middle French facture ("making"). Alternatively, the English word may have been independently formed from the earlier English manufact ("made by human hands") and facture. [4] Its earliest usage in the English language was recorded in the mid-16th century to refer to the making of products by hand. [5] [6]

History and development

Prehistory and ancient history

Flint stone core for making blades, c. 40000 BP Stone Core for Making Blades - Boqer Tachtit, Negev, circa 40000 BP (detail).jpg
Flint stone core for making blades, c. 40000 BP

Human ancestors have manufactured objects using stone and other tools since long before the emergence of Homo sapiens approximately 200,000 years ago. [7] The earliest methods of stone tool making, known as the Oldowan "industry", date back to at least 2.3 million years ago, [8] with the earliest direct evidence of tool usage found in Ethiopia within the Great Rift Valley, dating back to 2.5 million years ago. [9] To manufacture a stone tool, a "core" of hard stone with specific flaking properties (such as flint) was struck with a hammerstone. This flaking produced sharp edges which could be used as tools, primarily in the form of choppers or scrapers. [10] These tools greatly aided the early humans in their hunter-gatherer lifestyle to form other tools out of softer materials such as bone and wood. [11] The Middle Paleolithic, approximately 300,000 years ago, saw the introduction of the prepared-core technique, where multiple blades could be rapidly formed from a single core stone. [10] Pressure flaking, in which a wood, bone, or antler punch could be used to shape a stone very finely was developed during the Upper Paleolithic, beginning approximately 40,000 years ago. [12] During the Neolithic period, polished stone tools were manufactured from a variety of hard rocks such as flint, jade, jadeite, and greenstone. The polished axes were used alongside other stone tools including projectiles, knives, and scrapers, as well as tools manufactured from organic materials such as wood, bone, and antler. [13]

A late Bronze Age sword or dagger blade Sword bronze age (2nd version).jpg
A late Bronze Age sword or dagger blade

Copper smelting is believed to have originated when the technology of pottery kilns allowed sufficiently high temperatures. [14] The concentration of various elements such as arsenic increase with depth in copper ore deposits and smelting of these ores yields arsenical bronze, which can be sufficiently work hardened to be suitable for manufacturing tools. [14] Bronze is an alloy of copper with tin; the latter being found in relatively few deposits globally caused a long time to elapse before true tin bronze became widespread. During the Bronze Age, bronze was a major improvement over stone as a material for making tools, both because of its mechanical properties like strength and ductility and because it could be cast in molds to make intricately shaped objects. Bronze significantly advanced shipbuilding technology with better tools and bronze nails, which replaced the old method of attaching boards of the hull with cord woven through drilled holes. [15] The Iron Age is conventionally defined by the widespread manufacturing of weapons and tools using iron and steel rather than bronze. [16] Iron smelting is more difficult than tin and copper smelting because smelted iron requires hot-working and can be melted only in specially designed furnaces. The place and time for the discovery of iron smelting is not known, partly because of the difficulty of distinguishing metal extracted from nickel-containing ores from hot-worked meteoritic iron. [17]

During the growth of the ancient civilizations, many ancient technologies resulted from advances in manufacturing. Several of the six classic simple machines were invented in Mesopotamia. [18] Mesopotamians have been credited with the invention of the wheel. The wheel and axle mechanism first appeared with the potter's wheel, invented in Mesopotamia (modern Iraq) during the 5th millennium BC. [19] Egyptian paper made from papyrus, as well as pottery, were mass-produced and exported throughout the Mediterranean basin. Early construction techniques utilized by the Ancient Egyptians made use of bricks composed mainly of clay, sand, silt, and other minerals. [20]

Medieval and early modern

Stocking frame at Ruddington Framework Knitters' Museum Stocking Frame.jpg
Stocking frame at Ruddington Framework Knitters' Museum

The Middle Ages witnessed new inventions, innovations in the ways of managing traditional means of production, and economic growth. Papermaking, a 2nd-century Chinese technology, was carried to the Middle East when a group of Chinese papermakers were captured in the 8th century. [21] Papermaking technology was spread to Europe by the Umayyad conquest of Hispania. [22] A paper mill was established in Sicily in the 12th century. In Europe the fiber to make pulp for making paper was obtained from linen and cotton rags. Lynn Townsend White Jr. credited the spinning wheel with increasing the supply of rags, which led to cheap paper, which was a factor in the development of printing. [23] Due to the casting of cannon, the blast furnace came into widespread use in France in the mid 15th century. The blast furnace had been used in China since the 4th century BC. [14] The stocking frame, which was invented in 1598, increased a knitter's number of knots per minute from 100 to 1000. [24]

First and Second Industrial Revolutions

A Roberts loom in a weaving shed in 1835 Powerloom weaving in 1835.jpg
A Roberts loom in a weaving shed in 1835

The Industrial Revolution was the transition to new manufacturing processes in Europe and the United States from 1760 to the 1830s. [25] This transition included going from hand production methods to machines, new chemical manufacturing and iron production processes, the increasing use of steam power and water power, the development of machine tools and the rise of the mechanized factory system. The Industrial Revolution also led to an unprecedented rise in the rate of population growth. Textiles were the dominant industry of the Industrial Revolution in terms of employment, value of output and capital invested. The textile industry was also the first to use modern production methods. [26] :40 Rapid industrialization first began in Britain, starting with mechanized spinning in the 1780s, [27] with high rates of growth in steam power and iron production occurring after 1800. Mechanized textile production spread from Great Britain to continental Europe and the United States in the early 19th century, with important centres of textiles, iron and coal emerging in Belgium and the United States and later textiles in France. [26]

An economic recession occurred from the late 1830s to the early 1840s when the adoption of the Industrial Revolution's early innovations, such as mechanized spinning and weaving, slowed down and their markets matured. Innovations developed late in the period, such as the increasing adoption of locomotives, steamboats and steamships, hot blast iron smelting and new technologies, such as the electrical telegraph, were widely introduced in the 1840s and 1850s, were not powerful enough to drive high rates of growth. Rapid economic growth began to occur after 1870, springing from a new group of innovations in what has been called the Second Industrial Revolution. These innovations included new steel making processes, mass-production, assembly lines, electrical grid systems, the large-scale manufacture of machine tools and the use of increasingly advanced machinery in steam-powered factories. [26] [28] [29] [30]

Building on improvements in vacuum pumps and materials research, incandescent light bulbs became practical for general use in the late 1870s. This invention had a profound effect on the workplace because factories could now have second and third shift workers. [31] Shoe production was mechanized during the mid 19th century. [32] Mass production of sewing machines and agricultural machinery such as reapers occurred in the mid to late 19th century. [33] The mass production of bicycles started in the 1880s. [33] Steam-powered factories became widespread, although the conversion from water power to steam occurred in England earlier than in the U.S. [34]

Modern manufacturing

The assembly plant of the Bell Aircraft Corporation in 1944 Airacobra P39 Assembly LOC 02902u.jpg
The assembly plant of the Bell Aircraft Corporation in 1944

Electrification of factories, which had begun gradually in the 1890s after the introduction of the practical DC motor and the AC motor, was fastest between 1900 and 1930. This was aided by the establishment of electric utilities with central stations and the lowering of electricity prices from 1914 to 1917. [35] Electric motors allowed more flexibility in manufacturing and required less maintenance than line shafts and belts. Many factories witnessed a 30% increase in output owing to the increasing shift to electric motors. Electrification enabled modern mass production, and the biggest impact of early mass production was in the manufacturing of everyday items, such as at the Ball Brothers Glass Manufacturing Company, which electrified its mason jar plant in Muncie, Indiana, U.S. around 1900. The new automated process used glass blowing machines to replace 210 craftsman glass blowers and helpers. A small electric truck was now used to handle 150 dozen bottles at a time whereas previously used hand trucks could only carry 6 dozen bottles at a time. Electric mixers replaced men with shovels handling sand and other ingredients that were fed into the glass furnace. An electric overhead crane replaced 36 day laborers for moving heavy loads across the factory. [36]

Mass production was popularized in the late 1910s and 1920s by Henry Ford's Ford Motor Company, [37] which introduced electric motors to the then-well-known technique of chain or sequential production. Ford also bought or designed and built special purpose machine tools and fixtures such as multiple spindle drill presses that could drill every hole on one side of an engine block in one operation and a multiple head milling machine that could simultaneously machine 15 engine blocks held on a single fixture. All of these machine tools were arranged systematically in the production flow and some had special carriages for rolling heavy items into machining positions. Production of the Ford Model T used 32,000 machine tools. [38]

Lean manufacturing (also known as just-in-time manufacturing), was developed in Japan in the 1930s. It is a production method aimed primarily at reducing times within the production system as well as response times from suppliers and to customers. [39] [40] It was introduced in Australia in the 1950s by the British Motor Corporation (Australia) at its Victoria Park plant in Sydney, from where the idea later migrated to Toyota. [41] News spread to western countries from Japan in 1977 in two English-language articles: one referred to the methodology as the "Ohno system", after Taiichi Ohno, who was instrumental in its development within Toyota. [42] The other article, by Toyota authors in an international journal, provided additional details. [43] Finally, those and other publicity were translated into implementations, beginning in 1980 and then quickly multiplying throughout the industry in the United States and other countries. [44]

Manufacturing systems

A shopfloor of Tampella factory in Tampere, Finland in November 1952 Tampella shopfloor.jpg
A shopfloor of Tampella factory in Tampere, Finland in November 1952
Assembly of Section 41 of a Boeing 787 Dreamliner Boeing 787 Section 41 final assembly.jpg
Assembly of Section 41 of a Boeing 787 Dreamliner

Industrial policy

Economics of manufacturing

Emerging technologies have offered new growth methods in advanced manufacturing employment opportunities in the Manufacturing Belt in the United States. Manufacturing provides important material support for national infrastructure and also for national defense.

On the other hand, most manufacturing processes may involve significant social and environmental costs. The clean-up costs of hazardous waste, for example, may outweigh the benefits of a product that creates it. Hazardous materials may expose workers to health risks. These costs are now well known and there is effort to address them by improving efficiency, reducing waste, using industrial symbiosis, and eliminating harmful chemicals.

The negative costs of manufacturing can also be addressed legally. Developed countries regulate manufacturing activity with labor laws and environmental laws. Across the globe, manufacturers can be subject to regulations and pollution taxes to offset the environmental costs of manufacturing activities. Labor unions and craft guilds have played a historic role in the negotiation of worker rights and wages. Environment laws and labor protections that are available in developed nations may not be available in the third world. Tort law and product liability impose additional costs on manufacturing. These are significant dynamics in the ongoing process, occurring over the last few decades, of manufacture-based industries relocating operations to "developing-world" economies where the costs of production are significantly lower than in "developed-world" economies.


Manufacturing has unique health and safety challenges and has been recognized by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) as a priority industry sector in the National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA) to identify and provide intervention strategies regarding occupational health and safety issues. [45] [46]

Manufacturing and investment

Capacity utilization in manufacturing in the FRG and in the USA KapaAuslUSABRDEngl.png
Capacity utilization in manufacturing in the FRG and in the USA

Surveys and analyses of trends and issues in manufacturing and investment around the world focus on such things as:

In addition to general overviews, researchers have examined the features and factors affecting particular key aspects of manufacturing development. They have compared production and investment in a range of Western and non-Western countries and presented case studies of growth and performance in important individual industries and market-economic sectors. [47] [48]

On June 26, 2009, Jeff Immelt, the CEO of General Electric, called for the United States to increase its manufacturing base employment to 20% of the workforce, commenting that the U.S. has outsourced too much in some areas and can no longer rely on the financial sector and consumer spending to drive demand. [49] Further, while U.S. manufacturing performs well compared to the rest of the U.S. economy, research shows that it performs poorly compared to manufacturing in other high-wage countries. [50] A total of 3.2 million – one in six U.S. manufacturing jobs – have disappeared between 2000 and 2007. [51] In the UK, EEF the manufacturers organisation has led calls for the UK economy to be rebalanced to rely less on financial services and has actively promoted the manufacturing agenda.

List of countries by manufacturing output

These are the top 50 countries by total value of manufacturing output in US dollars for its noted year according to World Bank. [52]

List of countries by manufacturing output
RankCountry or regionMillions of $USYear
  World 13,739,2512019
1Flag of the People's Republic of China.svg  China 3,853,8082020
2Flag of the United States.svg  United States 2,269,2002020
3Flag of Japan.svg  Japan 1,027,9672018
4Flag of Germany.svg  Germany 678,2922020
5Flag of South Korea.svg  South Korea 406,7562020
6Flag of India.svg  India 339,9832020
7Flag of Italy.svg  Italy 280,4362020
8Flag of France.svg  France 241,7152020
9Flag of the United Kingdom.svg  United Kingdom 227,1442020
10Flag of Indonesia.svg  Indonesia 210,3962020
11Flag of Russia.svg  Russia 196,6492020
12Flag of Mexico.svg  Mexico 185,0802020
13Flag of Canada (Pantone).svg  Canada 159,7242017
14Flag of Ireland.svg  Ireland 153,3112020
15Flag of Spain.svg  Spain 143,0522020
16Flag of Brazil.svg  Brazil 141,1492020
17Flag of Turkey.svg  Turkey 135,5962020
18Flag of Switzerland.svg   Switzerland 133,7662020
19Flag of Thailand.svg  Thailand 126,5962020
20Flag of the Netherlands.svg  Netherlands 99,9402020
21Flag of Poland.svg  Poland 99,1462019
22Flag of Saudi Arabia.svg  Saudi Arabia 90,7742020
23Flag of Australia (converted).svg  Australia 76,1232020
24Flag of Malaysia.svg  Malaysia 75,1012020
25Flag of Singapore.svg  Singapore 69,8202020
26Flag of Austria.svg  Austria 67,8812020
27Flag of Sweden.svg  Sweden 67,1462020
28Flag of the Philippines.svg  Philippines 63,8832020
29Flag of Belgium (civil).svg  Belgium 63,2262020
30Flag of Egypt.svg  Egypt 58,7902020
31Flag of Venezuela.svg  Venezuela 58,2372014
32Flag of Bangladesh.svg  Bangladesh 57,2832019
33Flag of Nigeria.svg  Nigeria 54,7602020
34Flag of the Czech Republic.svg  Czech Republic 53,1892020
35Flag of Argentina.svg  Argentina 53,0942020
36Flag of Puerto Rico.svg  Puerto Rico 49,7572020
37Flag of Denmark.svg  Denmark 47,7622020
38Flag of Vietnam.svg  Vietnam 45,2732020
39Flag of Israel.svg  Israel 42,9062019
40Flag of Algeria.svg  Algeria 40,7962019
41Flag of Romania.svg  Romania 38,4042020
42Flag of Iran.svg  Iran 38,1742019
43Flag of Finland.svg  Finland 37,5202020
44Flag of the United Arab Emirates.svg  United Arab Emirates 36,7272019
45Flag of South Africa.svg  South Africa 34,8042020
46Flag of Pakistan.svg  Pakistan 30,4522020
47Flag of Colombia.svg  Colombia 29,8942020
48Flag of Peru.svg  Peru 29,7012019
49Flag of Hungary.svg  Hungary 27,9562020
50Flag of Portugal.svg  Portugal 27,4082020

Manufacturing processes


See also

Related Research Articles

Industrial Revolution Period of rapid technological change (1760–1830)

The Industrial Revolution was the transition to new manufacturing processes in Great Britain, continental Europe, and the United States, in the period from about 1760 to sometime between 1820 and 1840. This transition included going from hand production methods to machines, new chemical manufacturing and iron production processes, the increasing use of steam power and water power, the development of machine tools and the rise of the mechanized factory system. The Industrial Revolution also led to an unprecedented rise in the rate of population growth.

Mass production High volume production of standardized products

Mass production, also known as flow production or continuous production, is the production of substantial amounts of standardized products in a constant flow, including and especially on assembly lines. Together with job production and batch production, it is one of the three main production methods.

Factory Facility where goods are industrially made, or processed

A factory, manufacturing plant or a production plant is an industrial site, often a complex consisting of several buildings filled with machinery, where workers manufacture items or operate machines which process each item into another. They are a critical part of modern economic production, with the majority of the world's goods being created or processed within factories.

Automation Use of various control systems for operating equipment

Automation describes a wide range of technologies that reduce human intervention in processes. Human intervention is reduced by predetermining decision criteria, subprocess relationships, and related actions — and embodying those predeterminations in machines.

Mechanization Process of changing from working by hand or with animals to work with machinery

Mechanization is the process of changing from working largely or exclusively by hand or with animals to doing that work with machinery. In an early engineering text a machine is defined as follows:

Every machine is constructed for the purpose of performing certain mechanical operations, each of which supposes the existence of two other things besides the machine in question, namely, a moving power, and an object subject to the operation, which may be termed the work to be done. Machines, in fact, are interposed between the power and the work, for the purpose of adapting the one to the other.

Machine tool Machine for handling or machining metal or other rigid materials

A machine tool is a machine for handling or machining metal or other rigid materials, usually by cutting, boring, grinding, shearing, or other forms of deformations. Machine tools employ some sort of tool that does the cutting or shaping. All machine tools have some means of constraining the work piece and provide a guided movement of the parts of the machine. Thus, the relative movement between the workpiece and the cutting tool is controlled or constrained by the machine to at least some extent, rather than being entirely "offhand" or "freehand". It is a power-driven metal cutting machine which assists in managing the needed relative motion between cutting tool and the job that changes the size and shape of the job material.

Metalworking Process of making items from metal

Metalworking is the process of shaping and reshaping metals to create useful objects, parts, assemblies, and large scale structures. As a term it covers a wide and diverse range of processes, skills, and tools for producing objects on every scale: from huge ships, buildings, and bridges down to precise engine parts and delicate jewelry.

Second Industrial Revolution 1870–1914 period of rapid technological change

The Second Industrial Revolution, also known as the Technological Revolution, was a phase of rapid scientific discovery, standardization, mass production, and industrialization from the late 19th century into the early 20th century. The First Industrial Revolution, which ended in the middle of the 19th century, was punctuated by a slowdown in important inventions before the Second Industrial Revolution in 1870. Though a number of its events can be traced to earlier innovations in manufacturing, such as the establishment of a machine tool industry, the development of methods for manufacturing interchangeable parts, and the invention of the Bessemer process to produce steel, the Second Industrial Revolution is generally dated between 1870 and 1914.

The American system of manufacturing was a set of manufacturing methods that evolved in the 19th century. The two notable features were the extensive use of interchangeable parts and mechanization for production, which resulted in more efficient use of labor compared to hand methods. The system was also known as armory practice because it was first fully developed in armories, namely, the United States Armories at Springfield in Massachusetts and Harpers Ferry in Virginia, inside contractors to supply the United States Armed Forces, and various private armories. The name "American system" came not from any aspect of the system that is unique to the American national character, but simply from the fact that for a time in the 19th century it was strongly associated with the American companies who first successfully implemented it, and how their methods contrasted with those of British and continental European companies. In the 1850s, the "American system" was contrasted to the British factory system which had evolved over the previous century. Within a few decades, manufacturing technology had evolved further, and the ideas behind the "American" system were in use worldwide. Therefore, in manufacturing today, which is global in the scope of its methods, there is no longer any such distinction.

Technological and industrial history of the United States Aspect of US economic history

The technological and industrial history of the United States describes the United States' emergence as one of the most technologically advanced nations in the world. The availability of land and literate labor, the absence of a landed aristocracy, the prestige of entrepreneurship, the diversity of climate and large easily accessed upscale and literate markets all contributed to America's rapid industrialization. The availability of capital, development by the free market of navigable rivers and coastal waterways, as well as the abundance of natural resources facilitated the cheap extraction of energy all contributed to America's rapid industrialization. Fast transport by the very large railroad built in the mid-19th century, and the Interstate Highway System built in the late 20th century, enlarged the markets and reduced shipping and production costs. The legal system facilitated business operations and guaranteed contracts. Cut off from Europe by the embargo and the British blockade in the War of 1812 (1807–15), entrepreneurs opened factories in the Northeast that set the stage for rapid industrialization modeled on British innovations.

History of technology History of the invention of tools and techniques

The history of technology is the history of the invention of tools and techniques and is one of the categories of world history. Technology can refer to methods ranging from as simple as stone tools to the complex genetic engineering and information technology that has emerged since the 1980s. The term technology comes from the Greek word techne, meaning art and craft, and the word logos, meaning word and speech. It was first used to describe applied arts, but it is now used to describe advancements and changes which affect the environment around us.

Textile manufacture during the British Industrial Revolution Early textile production via automated means

Textile manufacture during the Industrial Revolution in Britain was centred in south Lancashire and the towns on both sides of the Pennines. In Germany it was concentrated in the Wupper Valley, Ruhr Region and Upper Silesia, in Spain it was concentrated in Catalonia while in the United States it was in New England. The main key drivers of the Industrial Revolution were textile manufacturing, iron founding, steam power, oil drilling, the discovery of electricity and its many industrial applications, the telegraph and many others. Railroads, steam boats, the telegraph and other innovations massively increased worker productivity and raised standards of living by greatly reducing time spent during travel, transportation and communications.

Factory system

The factory system is a method of manufacturing using machinery and division of labor. Because of the high capital cost of machinery and factory buildings, factories were typically privately owned by wealthy individuals who employed the operative labor. Use of machinery with the division of labor reduced the required skill level of workers and also increased the output per worker.

Outline of manufacturing Overview of and topical guide to manufacturing

The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to manufacturing:

Outline of automation Overview of and topical guide to automation

The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to automation:

Manufacturing engineering Branch of engineering

Manufacturing engineering is a branch of professional engineering that shares many common concepts and ideas with other fields of engineering such as mechanical, chemical, electrical, and industrial engineering. Manufacturing engineering requires the ability to plan the practices of manufacturing; to research and to develop tools, processes, machines and equipment; and to integrate the facilities and systems for producing quality products with the optimum expenditure of capital.

Productivity-improving technologies

The productivity-improving technologies are the technological innovations that have historically increased productivity.

Industry in Argentina

Industry was in 2012 the largest single sector in Argentina's economy, with a 20.3% share of GDP. Well-integrated into local agriculture, half of the industrial exports have rural origin.

Machine industry Subsector of the industry

The machine industry or machinery industry is a subsector of the industry, that produces and maintains machines for consumers, the industry, and most other companies in the economy.

Industrialization in the Russian Empire saw the development of an industrial economy, whereby labor productivity increased and the demand for industrial goods was partially provided from within the empire. Industrialization in the Russian Empire was a reaction to the industrialization process in Western European countries.


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