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Process of converting to a socioeconomic order in which industry is dominant. The changes that took place in Britain during the Industrial Revolution of the late 18th and 19th century led the way for the early industrializing nations of western Europe and North America. Industrialization entailed both technology and profound social developments. The freeing of labourers from feudal and customary obligations created a free market in labour, with a pivotal role for the entrepreneur. Cities attracted large numbers of people, massing workers in new industrial towns and factories. Later industrializers attempted to manipulate some of the elements: the Soviet Union eliminated the entrepreneur; Japan stimulated and sustained the entrepreneur's role; Denmark and New Zealand industrialized primarily by commercializing and mechanizing agriculture.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on industrialization, visit Britannica.com.