2Social Dynamics, Shared Inventions and Competitive Innovations

The notion of industrialization has often either been conflated or associated with other concepts such as “industrial revolutions” or “mechanization”.

The main reason for these conflations is the continuing resort to a linear and cumulative vision. This form of vision has been taken from certain works on the history of techniques, such as those by Usher, which has already been mentioned, and his book on mechanical inventions published at Harvard in 1929. Criticizing the “Young German Historical School”1, he considered that technical evolutions were defined by a law of the accumulation of technological changes. He also denied the existence of successive stages of development of these changes, a theory which he ascribed to “ideal-type sociologists” (Usher, 1951, p. 153).

Industrialization is then based on a continuous and regular flow of inventions and innovations. This observation thus stems from the existence of this flow, without the need for a precise definition of industrialization. This industrialization is “neutral” and similar to the evolution that sometimes accelerates without changing its nature. However, this industrialization is also clearly based on technological changes, whether they are inventions or innovations, using Schumpeterian analysis. However, although the notion of industrialization has very often been associated with the concepts of invention and innovation, to the extent that some authors ...

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