Industrial Revolution Questions and Answers

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What was the impact of industrial revolution specifically in the Philippines?

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Greg Jackson, M.A. eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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The Industrial Revolution that started in Europe and North America at the beginning of the 19th Century took some time to reach the Philippines. Throughout much of this period, the Philippines remained rural with most of its economic output focused on farming and agricultural products to support the Spanish Empire. However, as many ports in the Philippines became utilized for the increased global shipping that was part of the Industrial Revolution, many Filipinos of Spanish ancestry grew quite wealthy as merchants or small-scale industrialists.

By the latter half of the century, hydraulic looms and other modern textile implements were introduced to certain areas of the Philippines, namely the larger cities such as Manila. This resulted in an increase in the amount of textiles that were produced on the islands for export. Paper production was also one of the main industries in the Philippines. The first paper mill was built in 1825.

However, the Philippines remained a highly agricultural society up until contemporary times. The Industrial Revolution only had a limited impact there. It made a limited number of Filipinos wealthy and provided work, albeit low-paying, for a number of urban workers. Overall, it did not greatly impact society or the economy the way it did elsewhere.

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As with most nations, industrialization had a profound impact on the economy of the Philippines and on its society as a whole. A poor, agricultural nation, the process of industrialization enabled the Philippines to vastly improve the efficiency of its agricultural sector while concurrently enabling the emergence of a manufacturing base specializing in high-technology goods. The Philippines is a major exporter of computers and computer components, including integrated circuit boards, and of other electronic devices. For this historically poor nation traditionally dependent upon agricultural exports, as well as upon the presence of the since-closed U.S. military bases, which pumped billions of dollars into the Philippines economy, the transition to such high-technology goods has had a major effect on the country's economy and on its culture. With the emergence of a high-technology manufacturing sector, the Philippine society has undergone a major transformation, with higher standards of living in major cities, although poverty remains endemic in outlying islands that form the archipelago.