Industrialization enabled us, as a species, to attain new technological heights. Alongside technological changes came social changes not seen since humans settled down and began agrarian societies thousands of years earlier. While this seems well and good, when looking at industrialization as a whole, there are many negative effects on individuals and societies as well. This piece takes a closer look at some of the positive aspects and negative aspects of industrialization.
Positive effects of Industrialization:
One can argue about the negative effects of industrialization. The fact remains that industrialization has done a lot to make people’s lives better. What is known as the First Industrial Revolution originated in Great Britain in 1760 and ended between 1820 and 1840. This period transitioned production away from handmade goods to new simple machine methods. The Second Industrial Revolution in the mid 19th century marked the invention of electricity and mass production methods that we still use today.
Products: Before industrialization, most products were handmade and expensive; however thanks to industrialization and mass production, it resulted in depressing the prices to a more reasonable level. Industrialization also made it possible for organizations to transport large goods, products, and people over large distances.
Economy: Rapid industrialization led to sharp growth and to innovative products and services; this marked improvement led to more opportunities in terms of employment and as a result, the economy as a whole grew manifold. The sustained growth with rapid industrialization ended up creating a demand for a larger workforce, resulting in employment opportunities.
Innovation: While it could be argued that industrialization set the stage for innovation, the fact remains that Industrialization facilitated sharing new ideas, thoughts across borders. This eventually led to innovative products being developed from Mauveine which was created during the Victorian era to steam engines, smallpox vaccination and much more.
Negative effects of Industrialization:
It should also be pointed out that Industrialization was not all a bed of roses and came with its own associated negative effects some of which, had even formed the basis for several contemporary literatures, including Charles Dickens Oliver Twist.
Health and wellness: Rapid industrialization led to some of the most abysmal living conditions, namely in London which was the center of Industrialization. At the peak of Industrialization, there were little or no regulations which governed how companies should operate and as a result, this often led to severe environmental pollution. This, in turn, precipitated health outbreaks, such as the Cholera outbreak in Victorian England. There were other health outbreaks and even plagues whose root causes could be attributed to rapid Industrialization.
Poverty: While industrialization offered many with employment opportunities, the supply still outstripped demand. As a result, not many could land the job and as a result, the widening disparity between the poor and the other half just became worse.
Unsafe working conditions: Remember, this was a time where there was little by way of legal recourse or laws that protected them. In fact, there was little by way of workers’ rights and as a result, most of them had to work under really hazardous conditions. Some even had to work under severe distress, ad under some of the worst conditions possible, for minimum pay. In fact, it was only after some of the newspapers highlighted some of the working conditions, that the government of the day took punitive action but even this was limited in both scope and nature.
Child labor: One of the awful aspects of Industrialization was the aspect of child labor. Child labor became the preferred workforce for most of these companies as they could get them to work for a pittance. As there was no law to institute or enforce workers’ rights, some of the children had to work in awful conditions, for a pittance of what adult workers were getting. Working in unsanitary conditions often led to these young children develop several health conditions, which eventually resulted in fatalities.
While Industrialization was indeed pivotal to the development of our society as a whole, some of the associated negatives far outweigh the positives. It should also be pointed out that rapid industrialization did lead to several nations developing armaments and eventually, going to war with one other. To put it succinctly, industrialization was a bitter pill but one Mankind had to take, in order to develop further.
- negative effects of industrialization