Can the water issue shed new light on the interpretation of the ‘Great Divergence’? Tvedt argues that by contrasting the particular water systems in the early phase of the Industrial Revolution in Great Britain and Europe with Asia, one may ask if and to what extent India and China failed in the first Industrial Revolution partly because they did not have appropriate waterways and water power sources for the particular technological and economic needs of the time. Did the same waterscapes that favoured agricultural civilisations in Asia (seasonal rains, mighty rivers and flat landscapes for irrigation) became a drawback for the development of early industry?
Industrialization, canals and a revolution in transport, England
Waterpower and early industrialization along regularly flowing rivers in Manchester, England
Norway – the land of thousands of waterfalls and the watermill as a technological revolution
The Himalayas and Tibet – the water tower for three billion people
The greatest service to mankind: making fresh water from salt water, Florida, USA.
The Rise of the Modern World and why it happened has been, and remains, one of the most contested issues among social scientists, historians, economists and politically interested people in general. It is still subject to global ideological debates, because how it is explained impacts heavily on how modern development is understood, and how cultures, religions and nations are valued and assessed.
There is general agreement that the long-drawn-out industrial evolution of the Middle Ages and the first, initial phase of the Industrial Revolution in the late eighteenth century were related to especially two economic sectors; transport improvements and the introduction of machines in the textile factories. The growing fluidization of transport (new ocean routes, rivers and canals, and the revolutionary development in textile factories depending on the water wheel for putting the machines to work both depended on water in different forms. The paradox is that in spite of these facts, there has never been carried out a truly comparative study of different environmental conditions when it comes to variations in waterscapes and the potentials of transformation they provided when it came to waterborne transport and diffusion of water wheel technology.