Consequences of the Industrial Revolution summary background

By Industrial Revolution , human sciences understand as the period of great technological development that started in England from the second half of the 18th century . Over time, this development spread to other parts of the world, such as western Europe and the United States. Thus, industry emerged, and the transformations caused by it made possible the consolidation of capitalism . In this article we will give you the Consequences of the Industrial Revolution.

The world economy has undergone major transformations. The process of producing goods has greatly accelerated, as manual production has been replaced by the use of machines. The result was the stimulation of the exploitation of nature’s resources in an excessive way, since the productive capacity increased. The Industrial Revolution also impacted labor relations, generating a reaction from workers, who were increasingly exploited in the industrial context.

Summary of the Industrial Revolution

England was the pioneer of industrial development because it was the nation that had the minimum conditions necessary to trigger this process.

  • The starting point of the Industrial Revolution was the development of the steam engine.
  • The revolution resulted in significant transformations in the way of producing goods and in labor relations and in a sharp reduction in wages.
  • The workers, intensely exploited, mobilized in organizations and coordinated two movements: Ludism and Chartism.
  • The Industrial Revolution, even if it did not have ruptures, was divided into phases that represent a technological evolutionary process that transformed the economic and social sector.
  • The First Industrial Revolution represents the beginning of the industrialization process limited to England in the 18th century.
  • The Second Industrial Revolution began after World War II and represented a period of great technological innovations.
  • The Third Industrial Revolution began in the middle of the 20th century and corresponds to the development not only of the industrial sector but also of the scientific field.
  • The main consequences of the Industrial Revolution were the new labor relations; the consolidation of capitalism; the industrialization of countries; the expansion of imperialism; rural exodus and urbanization; advances in the fields of medicine, transportation, and telecommunications; the increase of productive capacity and consumption; negative environmental impacts, etc.

Background to the Industrial Revolution

The beginning of the Industrial Revolution occurred with the development of the steam engine, which uses steam from water heated by coal to produce energy and convert it into power to move machines. In England, at the end of the 17th century, the first machine of this type was created by Thomas Newcomen , and, in the 1760s, this equipment was improved by James Watt .

Many historians suggest, then, that the 1760s were the starting point of the Industrial Revolution, but there is much controversy regarding the dating of the beginning of this revolution. In any case, it is important to stick to the fact that the Industrial Revolution was marked by technological and machine development that transformed humanity’s lifestyle.

The first machines that appeared were mainly aimed at meeting the needs of the textile market in England. Therefore, most of the first machines created came with the aim of facilitating the clothing production process. These machines wove threads at a much higher speed than the manual process, and we can highlight some of them, such as the spinning frame and the water frame .

Over time and as the big capitalists became richer, the profits from their industries began to be reversed in investment for the development of railroads , for example. The emergence of the locomotive and the railroad allowed goods to be transported faster and in greater quantity. This happened because the profit of the English industry was so high that it allowed the diversification of investments in other segments.

Consequences of the Industrial Revolution

The Industrial Revolution represented a milestone in human history — transforming social relationships, work relationships, the production system — and established new patterns of consumption and use of natural resources. The consequences were many and are related to each phase experienced in the evolutionary process of technologies that provided the industrialization of countries.

During the First Industrial Revolution, the capitalist mode of production was reorganized. The main consequences of this period were:

  • replacement of human labor by machines, which increased the rural exodus and intensified urban growth;
  • unbridled growth of cities, leading to slums, marginalization of people, increased poverty, hunger and violence;
  • significant increase in industries and, consequently, in production;
  • organization of society into two groups: the bourgeoisie versus the proletariat.

The technological advances obtained in the Second Industrial Revolution made industrialization reach other countries, especially the richest ones. These, in order to expand their market, began a territorial expansion also in search of raw material, which became known as imperialism . The main consequences of this period were:

  • increase in mass production and in a short period of time, also increasing trade;
  • advances in the transport and telecommunications sectors that expanded the consumer market, as well as the flow of produced goods;
  • emergence of large cities and, with them, problems of a social nature, such as overpopulation;
  • increase in disease;
  • unemployment and greater availability of cheap labor;
  • advances in the health sector that have enabled improvements in the quality of life of the population.

The third phase of the Industrial Revolution — which integrated science, technology and production — further transformed man’s relationship with the environment. The appropriation of natural resources was increasingly intense, since, every day, it became more necessary to make mass production feasible.

The main consequences of the Third Industrial Revolution were:

  • many advances in the field of medicine;
  • creation of robots capable of doing meticulous and more precise work;
  • techniques in the field of genetics that have improved the population’s quality of life;
  • financial capitalism was consolidated;
  • increase in the number of multinational companies;
  • greater dissemination of information and news, integrating the whole world instantly;
  • increased negative environmental impacts and depletion of natural resources;
  • concern with economic development that exploits natural resources without worrying about future generations, generating the need to seek a sustainable development model .

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