The Industrial Revolution
Brings Sweeping Change Across The Globe
Britain Gets the Early Lead In Industrialization
Britain was the early leader in the industrial revolution due in part to high productivity in the agricultural industry. This provided Britain with a larger work force than other nations. The raw materials for the industrial revolution were plentiful in Britain including large deposits of coal and iron to fuel the growing demand from factories. Obtaining these materials also provided a growing need for skilled craftsman's to allow for improvements and innovation to access the coal and iron, facilitating the creation of an entire industry. There were many skilled craftsman in Britain's workforce as well as a growing group of entrepreneur's. Finally Britain had an established transportation network that included many canals and ports that allowed access to most of the country and a liberal government that supported and rewarded individual innovation.
The Cotton Industry; A Perfect Illustration of The Industrial Revolution
The Industrial Revolution was the direct result of an environment that supported and rewarded individual innovation, an increasing population and stable societies that began to allow for specialization in the workforce. The inventions in the cotton industry clearly illustrate this. Eli Whitney first invented the cotton gin as way to make cotton a more profitable crop and with this machine the states in the southern US were able to produce large quantities of cotton that was then shipped to textile mills in New England and overseas. The need to transport the cotton to the textile mills resulted in revolutionary changes to transportation both the infrastructure and ways in which to move large quantities of product. As with the transportation industry the growing population and demand as well as the ability to have larger quantities of the cotton resulted in a push to invent new ways of turning the cotton into its final product, revolutionizing the textile mills. These changes clearly illustrate the Industrial Revolution, how an innovation in one area creates sweeping changes and the creation of entire new industries.
While the industrial revolution provided cheap manufactured goods and an increased standard of living it also resulted in explosive population growths, massive migration and the creation of new class systems. The promise of higher wages in the urban centers of the industrial revolution drew many from rural areas and led to tens of millions of Europeans moving to America for factory jobs. This along with the higher standard of living led to massive growth in the population especially in urban areas. In addition there was the development of a new class system where business owners became "Captain's of Industry" with untold wealth and influence. Small business owners and professionals became the middle class and the rest of the population became the cheap labor driving these industries. While disease and mortality decreased for the middle and upper class many in of the poorer people suffered a higher disease and mortality rates. This was due in part from the densely populated urban settings and poor working conditions.
Mechanisms that Drive Capitalism
Capitalism at it's core is about individual drive and innovation within an environment that supports and rewards these efforts. The first essential to a Capitalist economy is to have a population that is stable enough to begin to develop a diversified workforce that can produce goods in excess of what is needed to sustain the individual. The second mechanism is a demand for these material goods. The third requirement is that the culture and government must be structured to promote opportunity for individual. The United States long term economic success has been the result, in large part, of individuals controlling and owning industries and benefiting financially from the success of these endeavors. This is the "opportunity" mechanism of capitalism and it is this opportunity to obtain success and wealth that drives innovation and invention which ultimately benefits society as a whole.
Global Effects of Industrialization
As class systems developed within the industrialized nations, the industrial revolution also created a class system of sorts for the world. Those nations, primarily in Western Europe and North America, became vastly wealthy and their global influence began to spread. The growing appetite for raw materials also resulted in the industrialized nations seeking these materials from pre-industrialized areas without much financial benefit to the nation as a whole. It also resulted in a flood of cheaper products that devastated many small local economies in these areas. In response Russia and Japan began a campaign for rapid industrialization with the hope of strengthening their global influence and preventing western cultural and military influences in their countries. However, unlike the industrial revolutions that took place in Europe and America, Japan and Russia sought to create these through massive government projects. In Russia, the government began a massive undertaking of transportation infrastructure which allowed them to become the link between Western Europe and East Asia. They also developed new laws to protect new industries, supporting steam industries, and promoting nautical and engineering schools. Japanese Imperial Authorities imported expert labor from industrial nations to teach Japanese workers and managers. They too made a massive push to develop their transportation infrastructure and began placing an emphasis on education through the opening of new schools and colleges.
Industrial Revolution Map
Russia's Finance Minister who was key to industrialization.
Japanese Government Official key to industrialization
Traditions & Encounters A Global Perspective on the Past - Jerry Bentley Herbert Ziegler