"To be the workshop of the world suited them. Nothing seem more "natural" than that the less advanced should produce food and perhaps minerals, exchanging the non-competitive goods for British (or others West-European) manufactures. "The sun," Richard Cobden told the Italians, "is your coal". (...) Frederick List, the German economist (...) rejected an internacional enconomy which in effect made Britain the chief or only industrial power and demanded proteccionism;
All this assumed that an economy was politically independent and strong enough to accept or reject the role for which the pioneer industrialization of one small sector of the world cast it. Where it was not independent, as in colonies, it had no choice."
"Age of Revolution 1789-1848", Eric Hobsbawm