In the late nineteenth century, Mexican citizens quickly adopted new technologies imported from abroad to sew cloth, manufacture glass bottles, refine minerals, and provide many goods and services. Rapid technological change supported economic growth and also brought cultural change and social dislocation.
Drawing on three detailed case studies—the sewing machine, a glass bottle–blowing factory, and the cyanide process for gold and silver refining—Edward Beatty explores a central paradox of economic growth in nineteenth-century Mexico: while Mexicans made significant efforts to integrate new machines and products, difficulties in assimilating the skills required to use emerging technologies resulted in a persistent dependence on international expertise.
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