Industrialization refers to the development of industries on a wide scale in an expanse of land and region. During industrialization, extensive changes in economy to accommodate the change of crowd from agrarian to an industrial nature had been made. The eighteenth and the nineteenth century saw a lot of the industrial revolution which changed the world. Europe and Britain were the ones to catalyze it. It had its merits and demerits like every other objective in the world. Industrialization paved way for imperialism and the mighty “colonial era”. It was a disaster for certain countries, yet it brought about development that helped sustain the human race to a large extent.
The mid nineteenth century saw the second level of the industrial revolution with the betterment of the steam engines. The East Asia remains the latest region to be industrialized.
Positive effects of industrialization
The best outcome of industrialization was a better standard of living. A sense of betterment of social standards was felt worldwide as the level of incomes improved. Factory owners could now manufacture and sell stuff much faster, which meant an increase in the gross sale.
Since factories needed a lot of workers, skilled as well as unskilled, a lot of people found new jobs. The joy of employment radiated off the people, creating a harmonious environment.
A new sense of the value of time and labor was imbedded into people. A lot of time was saved as machines worked longer and faster than humans. This ability mixed with the human efficiency made a terrific combo to initiate world progress. As more products could now be manufactured, the prizes of products went down a notch. Cheaper products meant better access and affordability. The society, on a whole, was coming at par.
The most impactful effect of industrialization was, of course, the development it brought about. Gone were the days when majority of the people lived in farms. Sprawling cities with a huge number of residents sprung up near factories and industries. The concept of Urban and Rural was redefined. Development had a whole new meaning. Urbanization – the act of moving from villages to cities and contribute to its development – was at its peak during industrialization.
Industrialization has also promoted the growth of transportation facilities. With an increasing need to export and import items in a speedy fashion, the transportation sector saw an amazing development era. The world has now become a small place, where you can travel ‘round the globe in a matter of few hours.
Negative effects of industrialization
Child labor saw a rise during the era of industrialization. Factory owners saw the end of all their issues in children as they were the perfect “unskilled” personals for their jobs; they were easier to handle, worked for a fraction of wages their adult counterparts demanded, and could work in little, confined compartments as well.
Slowly, wage slavery came into the scene where workers were paid far less than they deserved. Their working hours were 10-14 hours a day on an average. They were exposed to hazards such as noise pollution, heat pollution and dangerous machinery. Accidents were a common thing with nobody to object to such dangerous working conditions. In desperation to work, workers never complained. Slowly, the workers had less than adequate money to keep up their living standards.
Growing urbanization also led to crowding. City slums were developed where living conditions were horrendous. Pollution was least of their problems as proper hygiene and sanitation disappeared.
Pollution was an alarming problem. Natural resources started getting consumed at an outrageously fast rate and the soil, water and air were polluted beyond repair. Acid rain, death of aquatic life and decreasing fertility of lands were just the beginning.
Local artisans and cottage workers were the most affected by industrialization. They didn’t only lose their job, but mankind lost creative minds. The society slowly became a chaos. Dharnas and strikes became a common occurrence. Inflation was the last nail in the coffin. The poor became a completely different society while the rich were indifferent to such issues.
Factory owners lost their ethics, craving more and more money. Capitalists started making profit at the cost of the common man’s hard earned money. The poor started looting and smuggling. Criminal activities were promoted amongst the poor who had no option but this to stay alive.
Very wise words by Sun Yat-sen remind us of our core duties before embarking on the mission to reach the moon, figuratively speaking. Echoing Yat-sen, I’d say,
“Because of poverty, we must adopt the capitalist means of production to develop our resources to get rich. However, if we ignore the issue of social justice at the beginning of China’s industrialization, we will sow the seeds of class warfare in the future.”