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Losing steam : structural change in the manufacturing economy of British Columbia 1860-1915

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dc.contributor.author Lutz, John Sutton
dc.date.accessioned 2017-02-16T19:14:17Z
dc.date.available 2017-02-16T19:14:17Z
dc.date.copyright 1988 en_US
dc.date.issued 2017-02-16
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/1828/7802
dc.description.abstract This thesis attempts to revise the existing historiography of British Columbia by first. establishing the growth and presence of a significant and diversified manufacturing sector between 1860 and 1890 and second. by charting the relative and absolute decline of the secondary manufacturing sector between 1890 and 1915. It adds to the literature which argues that British Columbia has been an industrial society since before the 1880's. Even by 1890 a higher percentage of British Columbians were engaged in manufacturing than elsewhere in Canada and output per capita in British Columbia exceded that of any other province. Comparing total manufactured output. British Columbia moved from the seventh largest producer to third among Canadian provinces in the three decades after 1880. Through the whole study period British Columbia factories tended to be larger than their counterparts elsewhere in Canada. The core of the thesis describes the manufacturing sectors of British Columbia. both primary and secondary. at an aggregate level utilizing census. directory. tax. and credit data. In attempting to account for the pattern of growth and decline it considers the two main approaches to Canadian political economy. the export base (staple) approach and the dependency approach and concludes that a third, "production system." approach inspired by recent work in economic anthropology provides a better framework to discern the causal factors. Utilizing the production system framework this thesis explores some of the reasons for the decline of the secondary manufacturing sector after 1890 by using one of the central industries. the boiler and engine industry. as a case study. The thesis ' identifies three factors that were important in explaining the decline of the boiler and engine industry: discriminatory railway rates. high labour costs and. the transfer of iii ownership of much of the economy from local to non-local capitalists. This thesis reveals that although regional manufacturers were responding to the relative prices of transport and labour. these prices were the product of the interaction of social and institutional factors located both within and without the region. The third factor. the shift of ownership outside the region. is an example of how structural changes affect the whole economy. These three factors also point to a revised understanding of how regional industries are linked to one another and how frontier regions or "peripheries" are linked to the metropole. The increasing amount of ownership of the resource extractive. primary processing and transportation industries by non-locals meant that linkages that formerly connected these sectors to local manufacturers. were transferred outside the region. The thesis concludes that these linkages are socially. rather than technologically defined. The thesis argues that the de-industrialization of British Columbia was one aspect of a larger process which. viewed from central Canada. has been called "centralization". Set in a global context the British Columbia experience was one part of an international process which saw industry concentrate in other regions like southeastern Ontario. the American northeast. and parts of Great Britain as it left regions which then became the "periphery". en_US
dc.language English eng
dc.language.iso en en_US
dc.rights Available to the World Wide Web en_US
dc.subject British Columbia en_US
dc.subject History en_US
dc.subject Manufacturing en_US
dc.title Losing steam : structural change in the manufacturing economy of British Columbia 1860-1915 en_US
dc.type Thesis en_US
dc.contributor.supervisor Baskerville, Peter A. (Peter Allan)
dc.degree.department Department of History en_US
dc.degree.level Master of Arts M.A. en_US
dc.description.scholarlevel Graduate en_US


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