The Advantages and Disadvantages of the Industrial Revolution
The Industrial Revolution marks a period of widespread urbanization and long strides in technology and industry, which in turn brought about major lifestyle changes among the masses. The Revolution, which took place mainly in America and Europe (although effects did ripple to the rest of the world), lasted throughout the 18th and 19th centuries, and marks the beginning of life as we know it today.
The Industrial Revolution was characterized by the development of machines- many of which were heavy machinery such as the steam engine and the coke-fueled furnace. In fact, it is widely believed that it was the development of the spinning machine, which allowed cloth to be mass-produced in factories instead of at home in small batches, that kicked off the era of industry and innovation. The steam engine was another major stride, making transportation and communication cheaper and easier than it had been so far.
Let’s take a look at how the Revolution made life easier:
Positive Effects of Industrial Revolution :
IMPROVED STANDARD OF LIVING
Greater numbers of factories created a whole new vista of jobs in the cities and towns, making the industrious significantly better off. Development of tools and machines, and better transportation and communication made life much easier for the common person. Stronger homes were being built, and the governments started to take notice of hygiene and sanitation. Toward the end of the 19th century, labor laws protecting the rights of the workers were put into motion.
With more money coming in, the middle class was created, and they paid more attention to education and appearances, giving way to great achievements in the fields of science and literature. Since industry was the keyword, fresh ideas were being welcomed, and people took more interest than before in science and engineering.
ENTERPRISE AND INNOVATION
The Industrial Revolution did not simply see the birth of the industrial machinery and locomotives. Greater education opened up new vistas of learning, and this period saw inventions still in use today, such as the light bulb, the X-Ray machine, the calculator, and the telephone, to name a few.
MASS PRODUCTION OF GOODS
The Industrial Revolution was characterized by major inventions in engineering. The invention of the steam engine made transportation f good easier, and new machinery meant goods could now be produced in factories. Mass production and lower incidental costs made goods more affordable. Hike in production led to bigger trade and more jobs.
Europe and America produced huge amounts of goods during the Industrial Revolution, and not all of it was being used by the population. The nations began to look for markets outside the continent, attempting to sell their goods on foreign soil. People from different nations also began to arrive slowly into the continents, lured by the promise of a better life. Globalization as we know it today began to be born.
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Yet, in its wake the Industrial Revolution left a trail of horrors, and created new roadblocks. For instance:
Negative Effects of Industrial Revolution :
WIDESPREAD CHILD LABOUR
It is estimated that during mid-to-late 1850s, the textile industries in Britain employed a huge number of children, making up one-fifth of its total workforce. And that is not all, because there was no are the children were not put to work in, including operating and cleaning heavy machinery. Working conditions were terrible and workers were often exposed to noxious fumes, which means many of these children did not live too long.
FARMING TOOK A BACKSEAT
Factories in the urban areas promised more money and stability than a cultivable land in the rural pockets, and many farmers abandoned their land to go to the cities in search of work. This led to overpopulation of already crowded cities, less stability for the existing workforce, less production of food, and an increased crime rate in the cities due to the lack of stable jobs.
EXTREME POVERTY AND CRIME
Introduction of machines in goods production rendered a number of jobs redundant. Plus, rapid industrialization attracted people from surrounding areas to the cities. Availability of a huge workforce made most workers replaceable, and reduced stability among workers. Money did not come in regularly, and unlucky immigrants were reduced to begging and other criminal activities. Prisons were soon overflowing, and slums were born.
With techniques being mostly manual and rudimentary, not much of earth’s natural resources were being used up till this point in history. The Industrial Revolution was the beginning of the great depletion of non-renewable resources that plague us today. Besides, the scores of factories emitted huge smoke and industrial waste, marking the start of an immense stream of air, water, and soil pollution that has become unmanageable in modern times.
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Collateral damage must accompany great change, and certain things have to be sacrificed for the greater good. The Industrial Revolution was no different, and even though we did have to let go of some things and allow certain sections to suffer, it is beyond dispute that the Revolution did bring about welcome change in the long run.