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Why did the Manchester cotton industry fail to modernise by 1914 Manchester today is still labelled as the first modern city Because of its swiftness to industrialise during the 18th and 19th centuries This industrialisation was in the most part due to the prolific cotton industry in the city Manchester lay at the forefront of textile manufacturing not only in Britain and Lancashire but also the world However come the early 20th century Manchester failed to retain this position of prominence The city had not modernised sufficiently to secure itself in the post industrialisation period But what causes can be attributed to this failure to modernise and proportionately how significant were these causes In terms of technology Lancashire lost its advantage in this area to the USA during the final decades of the 19th century In 1917 only 19 per cent of spindles in Britain were of the ring variety as opposed to 9 per cent in the States such deficiencies in machinery inevitably led to a decrease in efficiency This can be attributed to demand for textiles levelling out after the relative boom of the past few decades A decrease in revenue bought about by such decline suggests that this may have been a contributing factor in Lancashires failure to maintain its position against America But there must be more concrete explanations than this There is evidence to suggest that Lancashire spinning manufactures sought to improve the efficiency of their business in different areas to that of the Americans The subcontracting system allowed employers to achieve cheaper labour from their workers But also more emphasis was placed on the use of mules for spinning in Britain The historian John Singelton argues that this was by far the most economical path for Lancashire mill owners Lars Sandberg even argues that mule spinning was more economical than the ring method Although this seems feasible William Lazonick arrives at the most
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