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The Process of Industrialization - Research Paper Example

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(Name) (Professor) (Course) 8 November 2013 Industrialization and its effects on worker’s living conditions Introduction Economists and historians alike agree that industrialization paved the way for the modern age. It was the platform that enabled developed, contemporary societies to enjoy their current standards of living…
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The Process of Industrialization
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Download file to see previous pages Some feel that the amount of income increased, but this was easily offset by the repercussions of those earnings. It is critical to weigh the merits of each proposition in order to effectively assess the effects of industrialization on worker’s conditions of living. Marxists and their attack on industrialization Marxists were the most predominant opponents of the industrial revolution. They believed that capitalism was an unjust system in which controllers of capital took advantage of the masses for economic gain. Therefore, to adherents of this school of thought, industrialization spelt nothing but gloom and doom for the group. Marxists could not fathom a situation where workers were better off in the industrial era than they were in previous economic periods. The very fact that factory owners were trying to squeeze out as much surplus value as possible from their employee was reason enough to oppose it. Members of this school did not really care whether workers could purchase more goods or access more products than they had initially accessed in previous regimes. Their concern was the injustice that was meted against these persons. To the Marxist, controllers of capital simply paid workers seemingly higher wages in order to compensate for the exploitative work conditions in their factories. Industrialization took away workers’ control over resources and put it in the hands of a few people. Wages may have been lower in the pre-industrial era but at least resource ownership was less concentrated than during the industrial revolution. However, these arguments may not hold water when one examines the rate at which incomes rose between 1820 and 1860. Even though Marxists make a strong point when highlighting the ills of industrialization, their assertions must be compared to the conditions of living before the industrial era. These theorists still have a problem with the system of land ownership and mercantilism in pre-industrial Britain. Therefore, they seem to object to almost every method of economic control. In fact, their ideal society was one in which equal distribution of wealth existed; that is the communist society (Jessop and Wheatley 55). The point of this paper is not to determine whether industrialization was exploitative; it is to decipher whether it had a positive or negative effect on the population. Positive outcomes can arise even in exploitative conditions. Some gains occurred in workers’ lives but one must asses whether those gains were sufficient enough to warrant a change in their standards of living. It is for this reason that other elements of history must be examined. Liberalists and the consumer revolution Another school of thought emerged concerning the living conditions of persons in the industrial revolution, and this was the liberalist school. Followers of this theory asserted that industrialization was a beneficial occurrence in the lives of these workers because it ushered in the consumer revolution. These rapid changes in production processes enabled the creation of mass consumer goods at affordable prices. Therefore, for the first time, the average laborer could afford such things. At the theoretical level, it can be deduced that industrialization led to an expansion of markets, which sold manufactured goods. Additionally, the industrial re ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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