The world wentthrough major changes from the 1760s till the middle of the 19thcentury. This period was marked by theIndustrial Revolution which completely transformed manufacturing processes atthe time and changed the life of the ordinary citizen. Originating in GreatBritain, the revolution quickly spread around the world.
Moreover, it was notjust the technological transformation of industries that took place during thatage. There were also revolutionary events in demographics, agriculture andtransport, making Britain a world power, expanding considerably in power,wealth and strength in the central government (Mokyr & Nye, 2007). Therewere several innovations that occurred at the time, one after the other. Theyled to the rise of factory production and marked the beginning of the modernindustry. There was also a surge in the population. It is clear that theIndustrial Revolution changed every aspect of human life but there are still alot of disputes about what really caused it, its long-term effects and why ithappened in Britain.
In this essay I will discuss whether the IndustrialRevolution was really the most transformative event in human history byanalyzing the technical, geographical, political, economic and social issues thatthis period brought in Britain and the rest of the world.Firstly, let’stake a look at the technical issues of the Industrial Revolution. During thatperiod there was a huge demand for technology, especially in Britain, due toits different amount of wages and prices (Allen, 2009). The demand fortechnology was high due to wages in Britain being very high, while prices ofenergy were very low and that is why there was a demand for technology thatwould make processes more efficient and reduce the amount of workers (Allen,2009). One of the most lucrative industries at the time was the textileindustry with textile production rising to incredible levels (Spear, 2016).There were also major improvements in the use of steam in powering vehicles andiron making plus some major technological innovations (Spear, 2016).
All ofthis led to huge growth and prosperity of the British economy and it is clearthat this period caused transformational change in manufacturing and workers’lives. However, there were also some disadvantages brought by technologyinnovations such as workers losing their jobs due to being replaced by machines(Landes, 2003).So far we havelooked at the issue of technology but there are more issues that the IndustrialRevolution brought with it. One of them is the political impact that it had onthe world. The revolution transformed Britain from a tiny island into a globalpower with Britain having the world’s most powerful navy thus turning into theworld’s most recognized military power (Bayly, 2016). Britain’s wealth grew during the wars in theform of lands and capitals of the territories colonized in Europe and Asia(Bayly, 2016).Yet one of themost important issue of the Industrial Revolution is the economic impact it hadon Britain and the rest of the world. There was a great change in the worldeconomy which started in 1820 (Nayyar, 2014).
Between the years of 1820 and1950 there was a huge increase in the population of Europe, North America andJapan and also in their part of the world income – it grew from more than one-third to aboutthree-fourths all because of the Industrial Revolution (Nayyar, 2014). Between1830 and 1913 the share of Africa, Asia and South America in globalmanufacturing production fell to 7.5% while the share of North America, Japanand Europe rose to 92.5% (Nayyar, 2014). Moreover, between 1760 and 1860, incomeper capita increased by 82% in Britain alone (Allen, 2005). These facts clearlyshow the amount of impact the Industrial Revolution had on the world economyand the extent to which it dramatically transformed it.There were alsosome geographical issues brought by the Industrial Revolution. One of them wasthe rapid urbanization in countries like England and Wales due to the increasein the population.
This happened because the location of large firms andfactories was in urban places so as to make practical and effective use oflabor and resources (Williamson, 2002). By 1850 England and Wales had most oftheir population residing in urban areas. During the 1830s and 1840s Britainunderwent a big city population growth with population in British citiesgrowing by 2.5% per annum, which seemed like a huge amount then, whilecontinental Europe’s urbanization peaked in the last two decades of the 19thcentury (Williamson, 2002).
However, urbanization also caused many problemssuch as massive emigration to urban areas and the resulting decay of provincialtowns, the increase in pollution in urban areas and housing issues (Williamson,2002). Perhaps, the most significant geographical impact of the IndustrialRevolution was urbanization, which also led to some serious issues not just forthe British government but for governments all around the world.It isunquestionable that the Industrial Revolution had some positive social issueson human life and one example is that, as the economies of some countries grewsignificantly, a proportion of the population became very rich. However, it isbelieved that there are more negative social issues that came with it.Industrialization usually leads to huge migration, automation of processes andrepetitive schedule for workers (Blokhin, 2015). Because of that, many workers lose theirindividuality and are dissatisfied with their jobs (Blokhin,2015). In conclusion, wecan, by all means, say that the Industrial Revolution was a time of greatchange, which completely transformed ordinary life. Thanks to it, there weresome technological innovations, which completely transformed work in factories.
Moreover, economies of countries in which industrialization took place grewsignificantly and allowed for optimization of processes and resources. Also,industrialization had an impact on politics, allowing for some countries tobecome military and political powers. Furthermore, it had geographicalinfluences as well, causing the process of urbanization and the social issuesthat come with it. Therefore, it would be unwise to say that the IndustrialRevolution was a time of positive changes only, as it is clear that it broughtmany challenges both for the average citizen and for governments around theworld. However, it would not be wrong to agree that it was, indeed, the mosttransformative event in human civilization.