The New Industrial Revolution

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The New Industrial Revolution

The rapid emergence of China and India as prime locations for low-cost manufacturing has led some analysts to conclude that manufacturers in the “old economies”—the U.S., U.K., Germany, and Japan—are being edged out of a profitable future. But if countries that historically have been at the forefront of events in manufacturing can adapt adroitly, opportunities are by no means over, says the author of this timely book. Peter Marsh explores 250 years in the history of manufacturing, then examines the characteristics of the industrial revolution that is taking place right now.

The driving forces that influence what types of goods are made and who makes them are little understood, Marsh observes. He discusses the key changes in what is happening in manufacturing today, including advances in technology, a greater focus on tailor-made goods aimed at specific individuals and industry users, participation of many more countries in world manufacturing, and the growing importance of sustainable forms of production. With broad historical sweep and dozens of engaging examples, Marsh explains these changes and their import both for consumers making purchase choices and for manufacturers assessing how to participate successfully in the new industrial era.

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Editorial reviews

“Highly readable and engaging, liberally peppered with anecdotes that convey both Marsh’s knowledge of the very human nature of industry… The New Industrial Revolution will be a valuable read for anyone who wants to understand the role of manufacturing.
Bryan Betts, Engineering and Technology
Marsh’s book takes us back to basics, and looks at the challenges raised by re-industrialisation… A must-read.
Review, Global Journal
What is so useful about Marsh’s contribution in the New Industrial Revolution is that he has made an objective assessment of the evidence. And there are few people in Britain who are better equipped to do so.
Evan Davis, Financial Times


Manufacturing has never been more dynamic than today and Marsh does an outstanding job to capture the key drivers. The book is based on his deep understanding of industry and its fascinating to see how he combines economic, historic, social and technology insights.

Hubertus von Grünberg, chairman, ABB


The way manufacturing has evolved over the past 300 years has been one of the most compelling stories in history. Marsh points to the lessons from this period in the past, in a way that offers pointers to how the most innovative manufacturers can progress in the future. He highlights dozens of examples of companies that have found a way to remain competitive in a rapidly changing global economy.

Robert Mittelstaedt, Dean, W. P. Carey School of Business, Arizona State University


Marsh has used his knowledge and experience of manufacturing as a leading journalist to tell the compelling story of how the art and science of making things has changed the world, and how it will continue to do so in the years to come. This book will appeal to anyone who wants to understand how manufacturing has transformed the world we live in, or is intrigued by how a “new industrial revolution” will impact the lives of billions of people worldwide.

Lord Bhattacharyya, director, Warwick Manufacturing Group, Warwick University, UK


The book conveys the important argument that manufacturing in the West is not destined for an inevitable decline. The ‘fifth industrial revolution’ could be an opportunity for this part of the world, if businesses can continue to innovate and operate globally. A strong and vibrant manufacturing sector is fundamental to enable Europe to return to sustainable economic growth.

Rodolfo De Benedetti, chief executive, CIR Group, Milan.


This is a very important book. Marsh graphically describes how the world is at the beginning of the fifth, but the first truly global, industrial revolution. We are entering an age of “industrial democracy” in its truest sense. And there is a very clear message for politicians, policy-makers and business: a modern manufacturing sector will be vital to any country that wants to be regarded as a twenty-first century success.

Lord Mandelson, former business secretary, UK


This thought-provoking book is a masterpiece. Written by one of the world’s foremost experts in the field of manufacturing, it offers a broad survey that traces the origins of modern industry. With a measured mastery, the author sifts through the frontiers of modern science and cutting-edge technology in order to determine the contours
of the coming industrial revolution. The lasting quality of the book lies in an optimistic outlook, based on an almost encyclopaedic knowledge of history, economics and science. No reader can emerge without feeling an entirely new reverence for the expected epochal changes. The book ranks among the great works on the subject.

Khairy Tourk, Professor of Economics, Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago.


In our highly conformist world, this excellent book brings important messages, backed up with extensive research, in an articulate way and jargon-free language.

Georges Haour , Professor of Technology, IMD business school, Switzerland


The book is a masterful achievement. It vividly reminds us of the importance of engineering and manufacturing activity in our modern economy. It is to be particularly welcomed at a time when Britain is refocusing its efforts on increasing its wealth creating capabilities from this source.

Sir John Parker, chairman, Anglo American


The New Industrial Revolution is a terrifically authoritative and well-researched “tour d’horizon” of manufacturing
industry in the past, in the present and into the future. The book reminds us on every page how increasingly technologically-sophisticated manufactures can transform people’s lives.

Ruth Lea, Economic Adviser, Arbuthnot Banking Group


A delightful assembly of stories from a globe-trotting enthusiast for everything that is weird and wonderful about industrial companies; a page turner to glimpse into what makes the world tick. Peter Marsh provides a prism through which to inspect all dimensions of industry – east versus west, past and future, make or break.

Gideon Franklin, former deputy head of mergers & acquisitions, Mizuho International , London


A revealing 250-year survey of manufacturing shows why no nation can hope to be prosperous without a manufacturing sector.

David Green, chief executive , Civitas, London


Essential reading for all who wish to understand recent developments in the world economy and international trade, and the prospects for continuing economic growth in the West. It combines understanding of history with economic analysis and the experience and knowledge of an always penetrating journalist. This is political economy at its best – readable, well informed, and thoughtful.

Geoffrey Wood, Professor Emeritus of Economics, City University, London


This is an amazingly thorough and well-informed study of manufacturing. Marsh has masterfully distilled insights from an extensive range of sources to present a compelling analysis of the past, present and future role of manufacturing in the world. He relates global trade statistics to income statement of a company like Apple seamlessly and convincingly, and relates both to the historical role of manufacturing worldwide; he pulls together findings of economics and business scholars with observations from journalists and practitioners. All remarkable.

Kasra Ferdows, Heisley Family Chair Professor of Global Manufacturing, Georgetown University, Washington DC


‘The New Industrial Revolution’ is a compulsory read for those who have to decide how and where to develop and manufacture innovative products. Clearly and elegantly written, this is not only a fascinating read for those interested in the progress of nations in the century ahead, but an invaluable reference book for those trying to compete in the new industrial revolution.

Lord Broers, former vice chancellor, Cambridge University


Peter Marsh’s book on the new industrial revolution is brilliant. It contains a wealth of information about the historical development of global manufacturing and modern trends in technology and the international division of labour. It is crystal clear and beautifully written. I found it impossible to put down.

Robert Rowthorn, Emeritus Professor of economics, University of Cambridge


This book is quite fascinating: every page is filled with a “I never knew that!” Businessmen & women around the world can draw lessons from this masterful exposition of the development of value-added, innovative manufacturing.

Lord Digby Jones, Chairman, Triumph Motorcycles, UK


The New Industrial Revolution provides many insights into both historical and contemporary developments in manufacturing throughout the world. I have a much greater appreciation of the key role of manufacturing as a driver of economic development and human progress, both in the past and in the future, from reading this book.
Andrew Sharpe, Director, Centre for the Study of Living Standards, Ottawa


In this brave, innovative, and integrative micro-macro review of the history of the industrial revolution from the steam engine to the future of factories, Marsh shows that our industrial civilization will end the same way as our agricultural civilization: it will spread to every corner of the globe.
Geng Xiao, Director of Research and Senior Fellow, Fung Global Institute, Hong Kong


Marsh leads us to an extraordinary journey through the origins of the industrial capitalism, the end of mass production and globalization, up to the present imperative for the West: reviving industry and boosting innovation.
Prof Francesco Perrini, Department of Management & Technology, Bocconi University


This is a fascinating overview of the history of manufacturing over the last two hundred years.
Benoît Battistelli, president , European Patent Office, Munich


Chinese industry is faced with transformation and upgrading. Peter Marsh’s “The New Industrial Revolution” is a book of great value by helping readers better understand the world’s history of industrial development and grasp the future trend.

Dongsheng Wang, Chairman of BOE Technology Group, Beijing



Highly readable and engaging, liberally peppered with anecdotes that convey both Marsh’s knowledge of the very human nature of industry… The New Industrial Revolution will be a valuable read for anyone who wants to understand the role of manufacturing.

Bryan Betts, Engineering and Technology


Marsh’s book takes us back to basics, and looks at the challenges raised by re-industrialisation… A must-read.

Global Journal, Geneva


What is so useful about Marsh’s contribution in the New Industrial Revolution is that he has made an objective assessment of the evidence. And there are few people in Britain who are better equipped to do so.

Evan Davis, Financial Times


[The New Industrial Revolution] provides an easy to read history of industrialisation since Adam Smith’s time and pinpoints the contribution of particular people or groups… The book is a light and useful trawl through the five industrial revolutions.

Guy Arnold, North South


A fizzing analysis of the history and geography of manufacturing and where it is heading.

The Economist

Covering so much ground in a 300-page volume can have been no easy task. But anyone interested in the past – or especially the future – of the art of making things should find the book a compelling read.

Professional Engineering

The main characteristics of the next revolution — which Marsh believes has already begun and will unfold over the next three decades or so — will be a greater dispersion of manufacturing around the world, with numerous cross-border connections, smaller-scale production lines, more customization of products to suit the tastes of particular consumers, more niche firms, and a greater emphasis on providing consulting and follow-on services to customers along with products.

Richard Cooper, Foreign Affairs

It is heartening that there have been a number of recent books…  arguing that not only does the West have a niche in the economic world of the future, but that it is in prime position to exploit the opportunities that new technologies will afford us. Peter Marsh’s book The New Industrial Revolution has been acclaimed as the best of these contributions.

Martin Earnshaw, Future Cities Project

This is a great book on the past, present and future of manufacturing. We were looking for deeper insights in the 3D print revolution, but Peter Marsh’s scope is more broad, thorough and historical than that. For sure, the Industrial Revolution shows the way where manufacturing, in newly shaped factories, is heading to, on a worldwide scale.

Carl Rohde, Science of the Time

Peter Marsh,  a veteran former Financial Times journalist, delves into industrial history in some depth to provide a context for what he believes will be the next industrial revolution…If countries are to succeed in this new order, Marsh says, there needs to be a greater emphasis on deepening the role of technology, design and manufacturing in national cultures.

Irish Times

An interactive graphic: How the New Industrial Revolution follows on from 3,000 years of industrial development


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