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An Economic and Social History of Europe, 1890–1939 by Frank B. Tipton, Robert Aldrich

By Frank B. Tipton, Robert Aldrich

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The most advanced areas of the east remained well behind even laggard districts of the west. Heavy industrial development remained concentrated in a few favoured urban and industrial centres, and textiles, clothing and food processing remained substantially larger than the metals and machinery branches favoured by the governments. The overwhelming majority of the population remained agricultural, and eastern agriculture remained backward compared to that of the west. The development of eastern Europe depended on the needs of western Europe.

In the north and west, agricultural patterns approximated those found in the adjacent areas of western Europe. Even in these more advanced areas, however, levels of productivity tended to be lower than in their western neighbours. In Hungary, the immense Magyar estates produced at low levels compared to the large Junker holdings of eastern Germany. In the regions along the empire's southern and northeastern borders conditions resembled those found in the less fortunate areas of Russia and southeastern Europe.

The Italian textile industry benefited from low wages compared to those of western Europe, and from extensive contacts with Latin American markets, where Italian migrants had moved into positions of economic leadership. l,Iowever, the increase in measured per capita income, and much of the capital for this burst of industrialisation, depended on the massive migration of Italians to foreign countries - and on the money they sent back to Italy. Collectively the emigrants sent some six billion lire to their families in I taly between 1901 and 1913, enough to turn a large negative trade balance into a positive overall balance of payments and to provide the capital for much of the industrial expansion of these decades.

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