The Industrial Revolution

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The Industrial Revolution in Britain’s history is marked as the period of great development that led to the modern era of growth, improved living standards and technology. Moreover, this revolution was not just limited to Britain; it affected the rest of Europe and America in the same positive manner. Due to the Industrial Revolution’s success in many countries, it is now commonly cited as the surest way for a country to develop. In economics, goals of a developed country are high production of goods, high Gross Domestic Product (GDP), low unemployment and sustained growth; during an Industrial Revolution all these are achieved. However, despite the main goal of IR to improve living standards for the population, the actual success when weighed against the social cost is debatable. It is accepted that IR improved the living standards of many; it created a new class, which Marx called the “bourgeoisie”, who had control over wealth, decisions and helped improve the lives of many others. However, many historians view this new class as “rapacious landlords and conscienceless capitalist[s]” [9] who exploited the working class for their own benefit. For a majority of “the working class… ‘Industrial Revolution’ … must have appeared… as a gigantic and cruel experiment, which, insofar as it was affecting their house, their health, their subsistence and their pleasure, was proving a calamitous failure” [9]. Therefore, this group will be examined to determine more general effects of IR on the society. From the economic standpoint, IR did greatly improved the life of an average worker. In the era before, the production of goods depended on a few highly specialized workers creating goods in a small workshop. However, due to a small output, th... ... middle of paper ... ...onishing that her employer did not provide the necessary equipment to protect herself, even though her work was in a noisy environment. Moreover, despite being a weaver, she was forced to stand during her job, which could be done sitting, due to the circumstances controlled by her employer. However, Susan was not the only one subjected to this; Cobbett, in his political register, describes the awful condition general factory workers was faced with [10]. He writes that factories were "cramped", the temperature "hovered around eighty degrees" and workers were not allowed to take breaks. These working conditions would result in transfer of diseases, hyperthermia and possibly death by exhaustion. Hence, it is apparent that the workers did not have a good environment to work in, rather, the conditions adversely affected their health in both the short and the long run.

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