The Industrial Revolution is an epochal event in the history of mankind; just as renaissance allowed our creativity to bloom with respect to art and architecture, the industrial revolution which started around 1700’s in England, forever changed the way we viewed the world. It was during this time that new methodologies in manufacturing, agriculture were introduced and it is also during this very same period that saw a sharp increase in both patents and inventions. To say that the industrial revolution changed the very course of human history would not be an exaggeration. With the advent of industrial revolution, we got batch processing, newer products, cheaper products and endless variety in the same. But this period was not without its drawbacks which is why we need to take a closer look at some of the positive and negative impact of industrial revolution.
Positives of the Industrial Revolution
Cheaper products: With the invention of the steam engine by Thomas Newcomen in 1712, it helped to power the industrial revolution. As a result, it now became possible to mass produce goods and products; in fact, batch processing was started around this period. As supply increased, prices fell and products become cheaper and affordable. The prices for most products fell drastically since less time was required to produce the same and this resulted in a spurt in spending which resulted in a strong and robust economy.
More job opportunities: With new companies setting up shop almost every month and with new products being launched daily, new opportunities soon opened up. This led to a mass migration of workers from rural areas to big cities in search of viable opportunities. Incidentally, this trend continues to persist even today.
Creativity: The industrial revolution helped to motivate people to try new things and to innovate and come up with new products. Some of these are still used today; products such as X-ray, the light bulb, the telephone were all invented in the midst of the industrial revolution. The industrial revolution was no longer localized to Great Britain but it soon spread to other parts of the world. In fact, some of the products that we use today are based on inventions created around this particular time period. This was also the time that the first synthetic drug was invented as well as various chemicals synthesized. The industrial revolution was indeed a creative period in the course of our history, and almost equals the renaissance period in both scope and variety.
Negatives of the Industrial Revolution
Pollution: industrial revolution is often considered to be a major source of pollution; before the advent of the industrial revolution and the various factories there was little by way of pollution. However, with several industries being established and with most of them spewing toxic gases directly into the atmosphere, pollution was to be expected. But what no one anticipated was that this pollution would lead to accumulation of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and global warming.
Environmental degradation: As a result of several industries discharging their waste directly into the local water bodies and some of them continue to do so to this date; this led to severe environmental degradation. As these industries’ waste contained several toxic chemicals, an accumulation of the same in the local water bodies impacted the local flora and Fauna severely. For example, England became so sooty as a result of the Industrial Revolution that the moths changed from white to black to suit the dark soot and make it harder for other species to hunt them down. These toxic chemicals in the various industrial spinoffs had put several species at risk and even led to the extinction of smaller organisms that were native to the Thames.
Health: As industrial revolution continued on, it soon became apparent that it was also causing many to experience mild to severe health issues as a result of the same. They often had to put up with abysmal working conditions and were offered little by way of protective clothing and often were required to handle hazardous chemicals. As a result, several of them developed serious health complications and most of those affected, died early as a result of the same.
These are some of the positive and negative impacts of the industrial revolution; without the industrial revolution, some of the many advances in the field of medicine, chemistry, manufacturing would just not be possible.