Industrial Revolutions and Sri Lanka

Authors : T. B. Dewanarayana; Wijithapure Wilmalarathane

Volume/Issue : Volume 8 - 2023, Issue 8 - August

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Industrial revolutions, from the first industrial revolution of 18th century to the ongoing fourth industrial revolution of 21st century, have changed the trajectory of the human civilization irreversibly all the way through. The agriculture centered dynamic economies in the west along with their extensive international trade networks transformed into industry driven global economic power houses as a result of the first industrial revolution. The heat of the industrialization process spread from the pioneering nations to the rest of the world asymmetrically according to their geopolitical and socio cultural factors. The periodical spike in technological innovations and applications, dubbed as industrial revolutions two, three and four, ushered the global production, distribution and consumption through an unprecedented higher ground in the past. Sri Lanka, then Ceylon, was under the colonial rule either fully or partly during the first and the second industrial revolutions. The island used to cultivate plantation crops to meet the requirements of the industrialized countries rather than promoting industries. The initial manufacturing processes were carried out on spices, coffee, tea, rubber and coconut crops before being exported them to the industrialized countries. Some basic industries were initiated by the British colonial rule in Sri Lanka during the world war two due to the global supply disruptions. A certain industries were also promoted under the pretext of import substitution industrialization strategy during the post- colonial period. The promotion of the apparel industry, the key industry in post independent Sri Lanka, along with some other industries such as electrical, electronic and chemical were visible in the post liberalized period since late 1970s. The world was experiencing industrial revolutions three and four while Sri Lanka was enjoying the political freedom after the Second World War. The country was not considerably influenced by these two industrial revolutions or the previous two industrial revolutions. The objectives of this study are to examine the factors affected the industrialization policies in the country and influence received by the country to promote its industries during the industrial revolutions. The secondary information is gathered for the study while mixed method is applied to analyze the collected information. Findings suggest that there have not been pragmatic industrialization policies to promote the local industries before or after the political independence. This adverse situation was further strengthened by lack of natural resources, weaknesses in educational and research policies, lack of motivation among local industrialists due to the nonexistence of determined industrial policies, and unnecessarily promoting of the agriculture as the main strategy of economic development.

Keywords : Industrial revolutions, industrial policies, natural resources, motivation, and educational policies.


Paper Submission Last Date
31 - December - 2023

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