This article examines the relationship between industrialization and regional inequality in England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland, from 1851 to 1961. Data on several indicators of economic and social development have been collected by county units from published government statistics. Whereas industrialization is often thought to contribute to national development through the gradual effacement of regional inequality, no such pattern is evident in this case study. On the contrary, the structural position of the Celtic fringe did not improve as a consequence of long-term industrialization in Britain. The Celtic lands within the British Isles have instead undergone a type of dependent development similar to that described among societies of the Third World. The spatial diffusion of industrialization has been sharply constrained in the Celtic territories, resulting in economic and social dualism. Celtic counties have consistently had lower per capita incomes than comparably industrialized counties within England. It is suggested that the historically persistent disadvantages of these regions may in part be due to the existence of racial stereotypes of Celtic culture which have been institutionalized within England.
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