Industrial Revolution, in modern history, the development of change from an agrarian and artisanal economy to an economy dominated by industry and the manufacture of machinery. These technological changes introduced new methods of working and living and fundamentally transformed society. This procedure began in Britain in the 18th century and binge to other parts of the world. At the same time, she was used earlier by French writers.
The term Industrial Revolution was the first popularization by English economic historian Arnold Toynbee (1852-1883) to describe Britain’s economic development from 1760 to 1840. Later Toynbee’s time, the term has been more broadly applied as a process of economic transformation than a period in a particular setting. That explains why some regions, such as China and India, did not begin their first industrial revolutions until the 20th century. Others, such as the Joint States and Western Europe, were created to experience “second” industrial revolutions at the end of the 19th century.
Short-term treatment of the Industrial Revolution follows. For a complete treatment of the Industrial Revolution in Europe, see Europe, History of The Industrial Revolution.
Characteristics of the Industrial Revolution
The main characteristics involved in the Industrial Revolution were technological, socio-economic and cultural. The technological changes included the following:
(1) The use of new base materials, mainly iron and steel,
(2) The use of new sources of energy, including fuels and motive power, such as coal, steam engine, electricity, petroleum and internal combustion engine,
(3) The creation of new machines, such as the spinning machine and the power loom, which made it possible to increase production with less expenditure of human energy,
(4) A new organization of labour known as the factory system, which involved an increased division of labour and specialization of functions,
(5) Significant developments in transportation and communications, including the steam locomotive, steamboat, automobile, aeroplane, telegraph, and radio.
(6) The growing application of science to industry. These technological changes made possible a significantly increased use of natural resources and the mass production of manufactured goods.
There also have several new developments in non-industrial spheres, including:
(1) Agricultural improvements that made it possible to supply food to a larger off-farm population,
(2) Economic changes that have resulted in the broader distribution of wealth. The decline of land as a source of wealth in the face of increased industrial production and increased international trade,
(3) Political changes reflecting the change in economic power, as well as new state policies corresponding to the needs of industrialized society,
(4) Radical social changes, including the growth of cities, the development of labour movements, and the emergence of new models of authority, and
(5) General cultural transformations. Workers have acquired new and distinctive skills, and their relationship to their tasks has changed; instead of artisans working with hand tools, they became machine operators, subject to the discipline of the factory.
Finally, there has been a psychological change: confidence in the ability to use resources and master nature has increased.
The First (1st) Industrial Revolution
From 1760 to 1830, the Industrial Revolution essentially had to Britain. Aware of their head start, the British banned the export of equipment, skilled workers and manufacturing techniques. The British control could not last forever, especially as some Britons saw profitable industrial opportunities abroad, while continental European business people sought to attract British know-how to their countries. William and John Cockerill took the Industrial Revolution to Belgium by developing machine shops in Liège (circa 1807). Belgium became the first nation in continental Europe to transform economically. Like its British ancestor, the Belgian Industrial Revolution focused on iron, coal and textiles.
France industrialized more slowly and less completely than Britain or Belgium. Although Britain established its industrial leadership, France immersed in its Revolution, and the uncertain political situation discouraged massive investment in industrial innovations. By 1848, France had developed industrial power, but it lagged behind Great Britain despite solid growth under the Second Empire.
The other European countries are far behind. Their bourgeoisie lacked the wealth, power and opportunity of their British, French and Belgian counterparts. Political conditions in other countries also hampered industrial expansion. For example, despite vast capitals of coal and iron, Germany did not begin its industrial development until after achieving national unity in 1870. Once started, German industrial production increased that t the turn of the century, this nation overtook Great Britain in terms of production. Steel had turned into the world leader in chemical industries. The rise of American industrial power in the 19th and 20th centuries also far exceeded European efforts. And Japan also joined the Industrial Revolution with resounding success.
Eastern European countries
Eastern European countries were lagging at the beginning of the 20th century. It will be essential to wait for the five-year plans for the Soviet Union to become a great industrial power, telescoping in a few decades the industrialization which had taken a century and a half for Great Britain. The mid-twentieth century saw the spread of the Industrial Revolution to hitherto unindustrialized regions such as China and India.
The technological and economic features of the Industrial Revolution led to significant socio-cultural changes. In its early days, it seemed to deepen the poverty and misery of working people. Their employment and livelihood became dependent on expensive means of production that few could afford. Job security was missing: workers were frequently displaced by technological improvements and a large labour pool. The lack of protections and regulations for workers meant long working hours for poverty wages. Living in unsanitary buildings, and exploitation and abuse in the workplace. But as problems arose, new ideas aimed at solving them also increased. These ideas drove innovations and regulations that provided people with more material conveniences while producing more. Travelling faster, and communicating more quickly.
The Second Industrial Revolution
Despite significant overlapping with the “old,” there was mounting evidence for a “new” Industrial Revolution in the late 19th and 20th centuries. In terms of primary materials, the modern industry began to exploit many natural and synthetic resources not hitherto utilized: lighter metals. Rare earth, new alloys, and manufactured products such as plastics, as well as new energy sources. Combined with these were machines, tools, and computers that gave rise to the automatic factory. Although some industry segments were almost entirely mechanized in the early to the mid-19th century. Intuitive operation, as distinct from the assembly line, first achieved significant significance in the second half of the 20th century.
Ownership of the means of production also changed. The oligarchical ownership of the means of production that characterized the Industrial Revolution in the early to mid-19th century gave way to a broader distribution of ownership. The purchases of common stocks by individuals and institutions such as insurance companies. In the central part of the 20th period, many countries of Europe socialized essential sectors of their economies. There was also during that period a change in political theories. Instead of the laissez-faire ideas that dominated the economic and social thought of the classical Industrial Revolution. Governments generally moved into the social and economic realm to meet the needs of their more complex industrial societies. The trend reversed in the United States and the United Kingdom beginning in the 1980s.
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