Industrial Revolution

Industrial revolution is the period in which Europe and America became urban and industrial. It took place in the 18th and 19th century, and was triggered by the high demand for goods in Britain. Before this period, rural communities in this region were agrarian and manufacturing was done at home using hand made tools. However, during industrialization, special machinery was used and manufacturing done in factories. As a result, there was mass production of products. Notably, iron and textile products were produced in bulks. Transportation and communication sectors also grew in leaps and bounds. It was however very sad that though the European and American economies grew during the period, the revolution contributed to exploitation of many.

Before industrial revolution, many people lived in villages and only practiced substantive farming. Disease and malnourishment were common amongst the villagers since income levels were very low. These same people found employment in the newly established factories. However, their wages were very low while the numbers of hours were long. The factory owners only aim was to maximize their profits and minimize on costs. Unfortunately, there were no unions to fight for the rights of workers. By then, people who had relied on traditional craft for income had been replaced with machines. Their only option was to go to the factories and find a means of living. Many of them had to move to the urban areas, which were becoming overcrowded. With time, social services such as health, education and security were hard to come by in these cities. Workers had to bear with poor living conditions in the cities and at the same time cope up with the exploitation happening at the factories.

The job was sometimes very hazardous and monotonous. When workers got injured while working, they would be replaced immediately. Sadly, part of the people who formed this labor force were children. It is documented that at least a fifth of these workers were children of less than 15 years. The unskilled laborers could be replaced at any time and without cause. The living conditions of these laborers became worse off than they had been before the revolution. On the other hand, standards of living improved tremendously for people who owned the factories or those who had special skills. This led to the exploitative system of capitalism, where there were few owners of resources while the majority remained as peasants. The exploitation continued to happen until the end of 19th century when trade unions were legislated. It is clear and sad that industrial revolution happened at the expense of the poor, young and unskilled.

2024 ©