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The Industrial Revolution


The Industrial Revolution was a
period in history when mankind found innovative and efficient ways of producing
goods, manufacturing services and creating new methods of transportation. This
not only revolutionized the way the market system functioned, but also changed
the way people perceived their status in society and what they required as
basic necessities. However, the price that humanity was forced to pay for the
emergence of the Industrial Revolution greatly outweighed the rewards that it
brought alongside its origin.

Prior to the Industrial Age, the Western European market operated on
a simple "putting-out" system. The average producer was able to
manufacture a product in the same area that he or she lived on and the demand
for that product was usually set by a few local consumers. The process was easy
and simple, provided that the product being created was always required by
someone else. However, the invention of Machinery and all of its accompanying
peripherals allowed producers to start manufacturing on a mass scale. With
factories placed in central locations of the townships (known as
centralization), the previous system was dismantled and categorized into steps.
No longer would one person be required to build, market or transport their
product since the new system introduced the art of specialization.
Specialization allowed a person to perform a single task and guarantee them
wages as a source of income. However, as wonderful as this might seem, this new
system led to the emergence of a n working class (proletariat) and forced them
to depend on market conditions in order to survive as producers. Although
seemingly content at first, those who became employed by these factories were
immediately subjected to deplorable conditions. Arnold Toynbee made a scholarly
assessment of this new wave of socio-economic behavior and concluded that the
working class is suffering due to a series of hardships that make their lives
miserable. He cited low wages, long hours, unsafe conditions, no provisions for
old age, a discipline determined by machine and whole families being left with
a low income rate as being a recurring problem that exploited the integrity and
efficiency of Industrialization. This subsequently led to a period of
"depersonalization" which meant that the employer-employee
relationship was deteriorating in exchange for this new system. No longer could
a worker befriend his boss or maintain a stable friendship since the divisions
between their market classes made this al most impossible. One relied on the
other for subsistence and therefore this dependency gave the property owners an
upper edge in terms of negotiating income and support. Since the proletariat
owned nothing but his labour, his abuse was imminent at the hands of some
ruthless bourgeoisie. Clearly, this revolution was not aiding all the citizenry
of Western culture.

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