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On industrialisation

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Essay on Industrialization

Industrialization has brought about many changes non-existent in pre-industrial societies.

It has introduced new social relation, urbanisation, geographical concentration of people and changes in occupational structure.
Industrialization impacted the society and the economy of the countries in which it set foot in so many ways. Industrialization caused the massive urbanization we can still witness today, it caused the family structure to be changed (dominance of nuclear families), it had to do with how women's place in the society changed. Industrialization was also a catalyst for the income levels increase, and arguably for the decrease in the income level distribution, and it also, among other things, cause the time-space compression that now allows trade to be such an important part of the economy. To put it in a nutshell, industrialization had many impacts in the societies in which it was introduced, although some impacts seemed negative at first (like the working conditions in the factories along with the child labor with all the dangers involved in such conditions), it was all for the best in the end.

It has resulted in certain common features which are different from the features of pre-industrial or traditional agricultural societies. Various changes that have taken place in political, educational, religious, familial and stratification spheres due to impact of industrialization are discussed below.
I believe, along with literature evidence, that industrialization impacted the society and economy of the countries in which it occurred in so many ways. Industrialization caused or at the very least heavily participated in the shift from rural to urban our current society is a result of, it also changed the family structure as argued by many scholars, along with many other changes. I will first discuss the different views on the social impacts resulting of industrialization, before moving on to the economic ones.


Capitalism was already well set by the time industrial revolution commenced. It stimulated the growth of industry as large machines were costly and individual worker could not purchase for use.

Britain was a major industrialised economy in the 1800's and 1900's most of France development came from studying Britain at the time. Britain enjoyed a great deal of political stability and natural resource unlike France. The development of the French economy came at the mid 1800's, they gradually picked up in transportation with the development of rail transport, coal production, iron industry became to grow because of the growing need in demand for iron in all most all industries. The steel industry latter grew at the late 1800's. Both economies now are major economies in the world; they are among the 8 most industrialised economies in the world today. As Britain began to pioneer industrialization and was admired by other economies then, so as the developing economies in the world today, trying to study the pattern and progress of France and Britain today.

The weaving industry was the first to come fully under the grip of capitalists. Role of weaver got confined to labour selling and wage earning.

These in fact came to be established, owned and controlled by capitalists.

Under the new system the workers were rendered completely dependent on their employers.
Europe's industrialization brought many advantages and new opportunities to Europeans. With the introduction of a new sort of work force, many jobs became available to those who were willing to work. Factories and machinery were introduced which employed thousands. With the introduction of these facilities, many new products and services became available to the public. With the introduction of these so called 'goods' to the people, society was able to raise its standard of living. Products were made in mass quantities, meaning that their prices were relatively low. Due to this, the majority of Europe was able to benefit from them. Technology vastly improved during this time period. The health of Europe became more stable as doctors became more technologically advanced. New medicines and medical procedures were discovered helping to ensure a healthier lifestyle for the public. Industrialization helped to reduce poverty within Europe which eased the stress on governments. The poor were able to enter the workforce and receive wages. With those wages they could provide for themselves enough to adequately meet their needs for survival. People became more aware of the 'quality' of life and constantly strived to accelerate themselves to a more advanced level. Industrialization helped to make society independent, stabilizing Europe as a whole. Its effects are evident into today's society.

They lived together, in large agglomerating, in absolute misery and total poverty.

Their misery and poor working conditions forced them to think about their well being. The liberal and revolutionary ideas as propounded by the thinkers from time to time, stimulated their thinking.

The first transformation to an industrial economy from an agricultural one, known as the Industrial Revolution, took place from the mid-18th to early 19th century in certain areas in Europe and North America; starting in Great Britain, followed by Belgium, Germany, and France. Characteristics of this early industrialisation were technological progress, a shift from rural work to industrial labor, financial investments in new industrial structure, and early developments in class consciousness and theories related to this. Later commentators have called this the First Industrial Revolution.

The Chartist movement in Britain was the first manifestation of worker’s collective action against the capitalist regime.


The Revolution in Europe in 1830, 1848 and 1870 on the whole provided the inspiration to the working class. The rulers did not fail to take note of it. The liberal leadership took up the cause of working men.

The most widely agreed upon social impact of industrialization is urbanization; urbanization is the increase (both in population and in size) in the urban area. It is caused by rural migration, which is itself caused by the increasing concentration of labor into factories. [4] I personally believe that industrialization is the direct cause or urbanization. Since most of pre-industrialization societies were only based on subsistence, where each country would produce what it needed to "survive", and that was mainly food, which made most of these countries rural; based on their own agriculture to create their means of survival. This is what we call subsistence agriculture. But with industrialization, a lot more goods were able to be produced and traded, so less and less subsistence agriculture was needed, and more people to work on the factories were needed. [5] Those workers needed houses to live in with their families, shops to buy the goods needed for their well-being and that of their families, etc. These needs caused large towns to be created as the number of workers needed to operate factories kept on increasing as industrialization started setting its roots deeper and deeper within the societies it started in.

Men like Charles Early Grey, Robert Peel, Grladstone educated the ‘master’s, the working class of their real strength. They invested the people with a political consciousness and made them earnest, about their rights.
As industrial workers' incomes rise, markets for consumer goods and services of all kinds tend to expand and provide a further stimulus to industrial investment and economic growth.

They were desirous to change their condition, generated keenness for it, and set the change in motion.

Constitutionalism in England for centuries was the intellectual exercise of the Constitutional lawyers and of elected parliamentarians.

For the generality democracy was name not a fact.
The "Second Industrial Revolution" labels the later changes that came about in the mid-19th century after the refinement of the steam engine, the invention of the internal combustion engine, the harnessing of electricity and the construction of canals, railways and electric-power lines. The invention of the assembly line gave this phase a boost. Coal mines, steelworks, and textile factories replaced homes as the place of work.

But the process that came to be set a foot soon galvanised the working class to unity and action.

The Parliamentary Reform Act 1832, did not bring democracy to the British, but effected a breach in the strong hold of autocracy and aristocracy.

After the representation was conceded to the new industrial towns and to the industrial classes, the composition of the House of Commons underwent a distinct change.
Along with urbanization, industrialization caused the family structure to change heavily. In the pre-industrialization era, extended families used to live together in the same place for generations (uncles, grandparents, etc.), but with industrialization, men had to go work in the factories far away from home, so their nuclear families (parents with their growing children) eventually had to move depending on where work was available, making the extended family bonds less and less significant. [6] Talcott Parsons also argues that in the modern industrial society, individuals gain more by rejecting extended families relationships than by holding on to them, as an evidence of this, he shows how the only families maintaining kinship relationships are from the upper-class, where such connections have direct economic benefits, while in lower classes, nuclear families lived by themselves, as their extended families did not bring anything to them but obstacles.

With it began the liberal legislations.

The second Reform Act enfranchised the lower middle class and the industrial worker. It was given further extension by the third Reform Act 1884. All working men, not under the age of 21 were enfranchised.

By the end of the 20th century, East Asia had become one of the most recently industrialised regions of the world. The BRICS states (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) are undergoing the process of industrialisation.

These changes left, the House of Lords unaffected. In fact it had all along hindered the progressive legislations.


Lloyd George, in his Newcastle speech, 9 Oct., 1909 took up the cause, and expounded the situation, thus: “The question will be asked” should 500 men (reference to the members of the House of Lords) ordinary men, chosen accidentally from among the unemployed, override the judgement, the deliberate judgement of millions of people who are engaged in the industry which makes the wealth for the country?

Another question will be: who ordained that a few should have the land of Britain as a pre-requisite, who made 10,000 people owners of the soil, and the rest of us trespassers in the land of our birth ?.. These are questions that will be asked.

It is also heavily discussed how much industrialization impacted the economy of the societies it reached, and even the world economy. Pollard argues in his article that the major economic impact of industrialization is time-space compression, which is something I agree with. Time-space compression means that with industrialization, it now takes a lot less time to travel the same distance compared to the pre-industrialization era. [11] One might wonder how is travel time relevant to the economy, it is pretty simple, since it now requires less time to travel, it also takes less time to trade, which directly makes the global economy more active. With this reduced "trade time", countries no longer have to be subsistent, they can produce what they excel at and sell what is left, while buying other goods they need and don't produce. Another thing time-space compression allowed was the access to previously unavailable regions; some of these regions had many resources to be used to expand the economy, plus the population growth could be better managed with the increased available space.

The answers are charged with peril for the order of the things the peers represent: but they are fraught with rare and refreshing fruit for the parched lips of the multitude who have been treading the dusty road along which the people have marched through the dark ages, which are now emerging into the light”.

Workers have to either leave their families or bring them along in order to work in the towns and cities where these industries are found.

Mr. Lloyd George, thus warned the Lords that they were ‘forcing revolution’. By the Act of 1911, its power was taken away and democracy rendered safe in England. Successively, women were also enfranchised.

Power, thus came to be rationalised.

The concentration of labour into factories has increased urbanisation and the size of settlements, to serve and house the factory workers.

The gap between the centre of authority and common citizen vanished. The party system, regular election, the House of Commons became the institution which enabled all citizens to share power equally.


Once the politically unowned, the humble, poor and poverty stricken became the partners in the political fortunes of their country, there followed the political transformation.

Ronald Hsia and Larry Chau discuss in their journal article how industrialization in Hong Kong affected income and income distribution. Unsurprisingly, income levels rose as industrialization set foot in the country, but the authors argue that the increase was far more important for "the poorest" of the country, this is explained by the fact that a lot more jobs were created for those who were looking, and getting a job in a factory at that time only required to be physically capable to do the work. [10] With this disparity in the increase of income levels, income distribution got significantly narrowed as the poor are making "a lot" more money, while the rich are only making "a little bit" more. I believe this to be true in all countries affected by industrialization, while this might not hold for every single industrialized country; it is at least a direct consequence of a rapid industrialization.

In other European countries politics of similar type led the enfranchisement of the adult voter. We too, on our independence opted for democratic policy. But, we have yet to develop a political culture.


The people in the pre-industrial West in general were illiterate. There was not much need for literacy.

There is considerable literature on the factors facilitating industrial modernisation and enterprise development.

Learning was the privilege of the aristocrats, vocation of the priest and a necessity for the trader. National educational system did not exist in any European country.

There were public schools for well to do. The atmosphere in these schools was not good. Flogging was common. Dr. Arnold, the Principal of Rugby, in England, improved the conditions there. He insisted on religion and morality being accepted as the basis of education.

The grammar, Private and the Church school served the rest of the community. In the continental countries the state of education was no better.

The graph is showing the gross domestic product per capita starting from year 1500 till 1950. The unit used is 1990 International dollars. [9] We can clearly see that following the industrial revolution, which started during the second half of the 18th century, income levels skyrocketed to the roofs in the countries that took part in the industrialization process.

In the modern industrial society literacy is an expediency. In view of the high skills, acute division of labour and job differentiation, higher level of technical training is essential.

This has necessitated the differentiation in the fields of knowledge and specialization in several areas of learning. By the Fosters Education Act (1870) in England the country was divided into school boards.

Current situationEdit

2006 GDP composition of sector and labour force by occupation. The green, red, and blue components of the colours of the countries represent the percentages for the agriculture, industry, and services sectors, respectively.

Schools were placed within the reach of everybody.

By the abolition of Test Act, Cambridge and Oxford were opened to everybody: To stimulate education at the university level recruitment to the Civil Service, except to the Foreign Service, came to be made on the basis of competitive examination. Education, finally was made compulsory at the primary stage.

In France, education was specially attended to after the revolution of 1789, and during the Napoleon regime. But, it continued to be dominated by church down to the closing decades of nineteenth century.

The family structure changes with industrialisation. The sociologist Talcott Parsons noted that in pre-industrial societies there is an extended family structure spanning many generations who probably remained in the same location for generations. In industrialised societies the nuclear family, consisting of only parents and their growing children, predominates. Families and children reaching adulthood are more mobile and tend to relocate to where jobs exist. Extended family bonds become more tenuous.

The Third Republic (1874), relieved education from the church control, and primary education was made compulsory in 1882.

Education in the industrial West has remained the concern of the State. There exist educational institutions of various types. Education is imparted according to the social requirements. From the normative learning there is shift to the acquisition of knowledge and technical skills. All higher education is profession-oriented.


Orthodoxy and superstitions have flourished under the grab of religion. Superstitions are due to ignorance. The process of industrialization has resulted in spread and dissemination of science and practical knowledge.

Industrialization began its mighty impact in the later part of the 18th century when Europe's economy was introduced to the concept of industrialization. This concept impacted not only Europe but the world as a whole. Many new ideas and opportunities quickly followed. Industrialization brought not only its advantages but its disadvantages with it, helping to shape the world that we now live in.

It attacked religion and superstition. Misery, distress and exploitation made religion and morality as if nonexistent.

Hence, science and technology as well as the conditions of life resulted in lost of faith in the goods of heaven and divinity. Religion ceased to be solace of man. The industrial prosperity and the social reforms brought leisure and comfort, literacy and missionary activity.

Christianity was subjected to a devastating intellectual attack in the nineteenth century, largely from the perspective of the new doctrine of biological evolution. The ancient corpus of sacred literature was subjected to minute examination. The Bible began to be treated not as a thing apart but as any other book: it was submitted to those canons of proof and probability which the scrupulous conscience of the historical scholar applies to a classical text or to a medieval chronicle.

This essay has been submitted by a student. This is not an example of the work written by our professional essay writers.

In face of this evidence it was no longer possible to accept the narrative of genesis as other than a religions and poetical allegory.

As the area of scientific knowledge and technology widened, the area of religion shrinked. In modern industrial societies, the hold of religious beliefs has declined. Many of the traditional functions of religion are now taken care of by secular institutions.

Familial Sphere:

As a result of industrialization family came under heavy pressure. The structure and functions of family underwent change considerably. Family which for ages had remained the production-consumption unit, ceased to be so, with the advent of industry. One had to go away for work to the factory or a mill. Mobility, ensured individualism, at the cost of kinship relation.

It also ensured nuclear compact family in place of corporate one. This process was stimulated further by complex division of labour, the characteristic of the industrial economy. The role of family in certain respects got minimized.

It does not now perform all those comprehensive functions that once were attributed to it. Its activities are now limited to reproduction, maintenance and placement. In its place, State has undertaken most responsibilities. Now in industrial West, State looks after the individual from pre-natal to post-burial time.

In the past, women enjoyed no independence. From economic and social points of view women was subject to man. As a result of industrialization there has been much improvement in the status of women.

With every good intention, though, there comes a bad. Industrialization also carried negative impacts int...

They became economically independent because they worked in all walks of life along with men. With wage in their hands women gained independence. This resulted in change in the husband-wife relation.

The loss of economic base caused the disintegration of family.

Sphere of Stratification:

In industrial societies there is a unique kind of social stratification. The system of stratification is based social class.

In Europe, civilization is comparatively of recent origin and the classes are no less. Beginning with acquisition of small property and slaves, petty trade and merchandise; feudal life and land tenure; commerce and industry; there developed the class structure. Between the capitalist and the working class there developed the professional class, which is further sub­divided into the upper, middle and the lower class.

The emergence of class structure in Europe is the direct result of the industrial and technological revolution. The Complexities of division of labour further stimulated the class structure. As industrialization advanced, as large industrial organizations replaced many smaller family enterprises, as capitalism changed from the competitive, laissez-fair model of the eighteenth century to twentieth century capitalism with giant corporations in monopolistic and semi-monopolistic positions, a modification of class structure occurred.

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