‘The great empires’ considers the role of globalization and de-industrialization in the destruction of manufacturing industries in the Ottoman, Chinese, Indian, and Russian empires. Three factors drove economic success and failure between Waterloo and the Second World War — technology, globalization, and state policy. These are illustrated using the history of cotton textile production in India and Britain. The impact of Britain's cotton manufacturing resulted in India shifting from being a major exporter to a major importer and a destroyed spinning industry. This story was repeated through the 19th century Third World. Biased technical change with globalization promoted the industrialization of Western countries while de-industrializing the ancient manufacturing economies of Asia.