The Industrial Revolution and the Individual

The industrial revolution transformed people’s work patterns, life styles and living standards to a whole new capacity by leaving an enduring imprint on societies fundamental way of life. Although industrialization brought stronger economies, it also changed individual’s lives. It was the basis of many drastic changes. The process of urbanization is a critical element to explore. People left the country to move in the city to work because more jobs were available in cities with the growth of factories. The family structure also had significant changes. People would relocate more often. Women and children would also work causing problems at home. Industrialization also caused huge health concerns. Safety was issue from all the noise, pollution, dangerous machinery, and unreasonable bosses. The idea of workplace alienation altered traditional means of labour. Hard work, nature, and pride no longer existed as mindless robotic work took over. Workers were wage slaves getting paid very poorly for long hours of work. The days with the seasons dictating work schedules were over. Industrialization was a new era of time which altered society in a way that forced a culture of change upon the individual.

Before industrialization most people lived in the country. The primary means of work was in agriculture and farming. Industrialization started in Great Britain during the 1750’s. The three main industries were textiles, steam power and iron welding. It started in Britain because they were a super power. They had good inventors and had technology that the rest of the world could not match. With industrialization came the factories which replaced the old ways of production. People from all over the country came to the city to work in the factories. These were at the time the best employment opportunities. By the early 1900’s Europe was almost completely industrialized. This caused a huge boom in countries economies because the countries national income would double every couple of decades. This revolution made the west even stronger. The technological advancements changed everything. Society began not only making better textiles, steam power and iron welding methods but they also had better; glass making, mining methods, transportation such as railways, and waterways.

Industrialization sounded good but it came with a sacrifice. It was not always good for the individual. However, it did have benefits as it was still extremely important as it played an integral transitional role in the advancement of society.

The concept of Urbanization plays a vital role on the impact of the individual during the industrial revolution. Urbanization occurs when cites population growth is accelerated. The industrial revolution played a huge role in that. Industrialization requires a lot of people and a lot people need jobs so they move to the city that is suddenly able to provide jobs.

The first main cities to gain massive population growth were Leeds, Manchester and Birmingham. Many good things came from this as people lived close to where they work. The economic growth allowed the country to expand, leading to nationalism. People knew more about the news and were more experienced. They saw more and had further opportunity to be successful. Before this time if you were lower class you had no chance of moving up. People had a greater purpose now, by having the ability to be part of something bigger. The general public could get an education which was never available before. People became smarter and now the average person could read and write. Also since the metropolitan areas were now all the main power centers, business and trade became priorities and technology boomed. They figured out new ways to generate ideas which has transpired to today. To make things better, faster, stronger, more efficient and easier all started with technological advancements from this time. This affected the individual because they had to endure the hardships during this change. However over time the stress that the individual had to undergo improved as inventions improved the quality of live. One of the most critical inventions was the steam engine and steam power. From this the steamboat, trains and other machines that run on steam were created. There also many problems with urbanization. Overpopulation happened at times when there was not enough room to house people. Also there were many poor land and crops due to everyone leaving their farming jobs. There was higher crime rate in heavier populated areas. Problems such as these were eventually realized and addressed. Solving them took many years to get laws passed and ways of enforcing them. With these problems and solutions came new jobs like urban planning, and employment lawyers, and health and safety standards that further improved quality of life for the individual through change on society and the individual.

The industrial revolution changed the extended family into the nuclear family. The Extended family when all relatives lived together was over. Either machines took over most the work and forced families to relocate or people felt that the city had better opportunity for them. This new family called the nuclear family which just consisted of parents and immediate children took into effect. Often the money the male’s would earn was not enough to support a family. This caused many women and children to be forced to work fourteen hours a day. They did often some jobs better than the males because of there size. The kids could go under small places and fix things. Kids were also easier to manipulate and control. The women had naturally better hands for cotton weaving. The women would not only have to work but also do all the house chores and take care of children. It was not uncommon for women to many kids at this time. The strive for money made the families smaller. Robert Owen who was an English socialist created a factories in New Lanark that would solve these harsh working problems. He gave people housing, decent hours and schooling though even though he made money he could not convince anybody else to follow his example. He even tried to make a sustainable city though it failed he was there for the people though socialism.

The main problems the people faced during industrialization was the alienation of labour. This was Karl Marx’s theory in which he blamed capitalism for the reasons that workers were not in touch with themselves or nature anymore. He felt that there were four reason why people become alienated in a capitalist society. The first is alienation from the product because the product is what controls the worker causing one to lose touch. The second is alienation from the worker because it is natural to be creative not as a human machine doing the same thing everyday for years and years. The third is alienation among workers because it is all about work and business not about socializing and relationships. The fourth is the alienation from the act of production itself. It used to be important to have a homemade finished product but now it was the same boring, repetitive things. All these ideas caused people to change and feel alienated. He also believed that the only change in this power structure would be because of revolution. The people have this going on plus they are also being wage slaves. The reason being their were not laws, rules or regulations at this time. This allowed the middle-class and rich owners to do what they want. The laissez-faire initiative by the government allowed the countries to make lots of money. This made the people pretty much slaves where the were forced to work and controlled but the owners. Another German philosopher named Herbert Marcuse believed that people saw them as extensions of their objects.

The Industrial revolution created jobs. The jobs created urbanization. The factory owners took advantage of the workers, the workers needed money. The government was getting rich and stayed out of the owners way. People became detached. It was not all negative because it further advanced human civilization to what to the comfortable lives the 1st world countries lives today. Eventually society got more comfortable in comparison. It also provided education and nationalism. Still even today the city is where all the power and opportunity is. The impact the industrial revolution has today is legendary.

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