In this era of modernity and high technological advancement, the conveniences and efficiency that it brought can be credited to the birth of the Industrial Revolution. The first wave of this phenomenal social, economical, and cultural event came from the European coast at around the 18th century. From the moment the revolution came into its climax, it spread around outside Europe and progressively steered the world into the path of modernity.A new era has been born by the moment the Industrial Revolution took place. Like all things in this world, the revolution has its own negative and positive attributes but despite whatever hazards it may have incurred in today’s societies, this essay will look at the good news which the Industrial Revolution brought. Before its inception, European societies were under the rule of feudalism. It is in this context where lands were owned by the landlords given as a reward by the monarchy.
The era of feudalism can be described as a period of social and economic organization where the economy and politics of the feudal states were autonomous and the power of the feudal lords were derived from close relations with the aristocrats (Morrison 13). This period provides a fixed structure in the society where laborers will eternally serve the feudal lord in exchange for a piece of land. The people belonging to the working class do not have much opportunity to prosper or to get out of the social ladder to which they belong. The lifetime rule of the lord over his workers will not let the masses free from poverty and slavery.
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By the time feudalism was destroyed, urban societies started to develop. The need for individual independence gave birth to the rise of the cities where everyone can work, can gain education, and can have political and social participation within an equal status in the society (Cipolla and Woodall 121). It is in this light that the Industrial Revolution was born. The construction of factories and the start of implementing division of labor made the mark for efficient and mass production of goods and services. The system of factories became the instigator in developing more machines to maximize production and profit.
The production in the Industrial revolution shifted from manual labor to the usage of machines and from human and animal power to steam power (Barron’s Passware 382). Contrary to the constricting and limited context of feudalism, the growing economic activities within the Industrial Revolution provided more freedom to the masses to earn their own profit by mean of the entering in the growing demands of factory labor. To earn independently entails opportunity to save salary to be able to own properties and to educated themselves, having a chance to climb up the social ladder.
The job specialization that the division of labor implemented on factories paved the way for training more people in those fields providing the workers a chance for promotion. Education thrived in sync with the needs of the Industrial Revolution focusing more on scientific education to expand the knowledge in machine cultivation (Mokyr 10). Subsequently, as more rural places in Europe became urbanized due to this revolution, the standard living of the people improved and gradually shied away from poverty.
Aside from the drastic changes that the Industrial Revolution inflicted to labor and the economy, the continuous progress in the development of machine and technology produced convenient means of transportation and communication which made transactions in the government, education, and businesses much easier and quicker. The innovation of machines became one of the main results of Industrial Revolution where the demands of making things faster and more efficient became the consistent objectives.
The cities became the center of political and economic activities during this time and as the Industrial Revolution flourished, banks became active in giving out loans to people who wanted to venture on small-scale businesses. Seeing the economic growth that the revolution caused, people from the labor sector took risks in building up their own business made possible by these bank loans (Hudson 26). The Industrial Revolution was not pure success. It was an era where most – if not all- of the technological innovations have been made formulated and made.
As European societies enter a new social context, its adjustment to current condition of the revolution became a rigorous trial and error process. This can be considered as the transitional and at the same time, an experimental period for most of the European societies where most of its processes were tested and perfected before it has been spread to the world. Most of the positive effects that have been brought by the revolution are manifested for the following decades – a progress where its effects were long-term and provide stability to its people.
Comparing the conditions between Feudalism to the Industrial Revolution, the birth of the latter became a path for the European citizens to individually gain autonomy in terms of social participation in the economy. It can be said that the living conditions of the people drastically improved compared to the limited rural lifestyle that the masses had under serfdom. The slaves were able to see an opportunity to get out of that status and improved their conditions. There maybe hazards weighing more than the advantages but the fact that the Industrial Revolution was a world phenomenon which brought the kind of progress that we have now.
Based from the arguments discussed on this essay, this implies that the Industrial Revolution changed the world for the good. The aspects of equality that was provided for people to participate in labor can serve as a mark for the pursuance of equality in terms of justice, freedom, and individual rights. It opened up new roads for human liberation where each individual are not just free to participate for economic progress but to live a good life enjoying the rights that a citizen should receive.
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