There was a time when America and Europe experienced rapid growth and change—we know this as the Industrial Revolution. During this period, innovations in methods, techniques and machinery used in producing goods opened up an entirely new world, where products are made in just a short amount of time. This trend owed to advancements in communication, agriculture, transportation and architecture, which provided many jobs for people. But while the Industrial Revolution improved our quality of life, it also had some drawbacks. Here are its pros and cons:
List of Pros of Industrial Revolution
1. Industrial Growth
It its name implies, the Industrial Revolution allowed industrial growth, fueling economies and actually improving world trade. It allowed people to open themselves up to trade with other countries. An as industries grew and surplus of goods was realized, it formed powerful alliances.
2. Boost in Societal Classes
As a result of industrialization, classes in the well-being of people had increased, and nations began to identify identities and national pride. Generally, it increased wealth.
3. More Opportunities
Before the Industrial Revolution, people had limited options for growth. For instance, if your folks were shoe makers, it would be highly possible that you would be making shoes too, no matter how much you hated the job. But with the emergence of more factory jobs, people were able to leave their homesteads and find work that is different from their parents’.
4. More Productive Factories
The number of factories producing quality products has increased rapidly during this time and machines were innovated, so production rates were also multiplied. Aside from mass production of goods, the price of products had also decreased, resulting to enhanced quality living that is full of comfort and convenience. Moreover, the factories also opened up opportunities for craftsmen to move to the city.
5. Free Enterprise
The Industrial Revolution definitely opened up the concept of free enterprise, as before it, you would only be given one or two choices for goods that were available in your little town. The more goods that were manufactured, the cheaper their prices became.
6. Things Got Better from Electronics to Housing
Industrialization allowed for stronger, more comfortable and cheaper homes to be built every day. Also, fashionable clothes at more affordable prices were designed, and new appliances were invented and upgraded as time passes by.
7. Improvements in Transportation
The means of transportation changed enormously during the Industrial Revolution, where it became more comfortable, faster and cheaper. This allowed for easier travel, which opened up new areas to many people.
8. Increased Productivity
Due to the hike in trade, which produced more jobs, production was also increased.
9. Success for People
Because cities were growing and offering a lot of opportunities and work, people had become successful in their lives.
List of Cons of Industrial Revolution
1. Hard Labor and Bad Work Conditions
Working from factories was exhausting, where people worked longer hours under bad conditions, which led to illnesses and even death. There were cases where factory workers got caught by uncovered machines, which resulted to serious or fatal injuries. Also, dust and fumes from chemicals were harming the people’s health.
Aside from hard and risky work, the Industrial Revolution was also built on the backs of children because they could be packed into the plants easier because of they are smaller in size. They were prompted to work as young as 7 years old, and their wages were low. Actually, there were instances where workers, including children, were more indentured slaves than employees.
Of course, things about in factories have changed, where they are being closely monitored for safety, and children are not permitted to work anymore. However, one clear con of the industrialization is the thousands of children who were injured in manufacturing facilities, losing their childhood to help build the era.
Of course, industrialization attracts immigrants, as it promises good life. However, not all regions were lucky because they instead experienced overcrowding, resulting in many slum areas.
3. Loss of Craftsmanship
Before the Industrial Revolution, people were obliged to make their own items, as products are not mass produced. They would also buy from local artisans who had the ability to create good-quality goods. So, people took pride in their handicraft, which are probably “one of a kind” with minimal flaws, making them stand out from similar products.
It is common knowledge that industrialization comes with pollution. Factories and vehicles produce an unthinkable amount of air pollution for modern cities worldwide. Also, improper disposal of chemicals and other types of waste contributes to the problem, putting the condition of the ecosystem more at stake.
5. Less Healthier Lifestyle
In the past, people did not live in the cities’ cramped spaces, but rather in wide open spaces. They also got up every day and work physically (building what they need and growing what they eat) to improve themselves and their families, thus promoting a healthy lifestyle.
Though the Industrial Revolution offered opportunities, it also brought about unemployment. How? More machines were used to take the place of manual labor, resulting in high unemployment rate for people who did not have the right skills and competencies. Because of this, those who were not able to look for a better job to earn for a living resorted to commit crime for the sake of supporting their families.
With the new lifestyle trend came new inventions and products, among which became the primary causes of lifestyle diseases, such as heart attack, diabetes, cancer, etc.
It is true that the Industrial Revolution has changed the world and the life of everyone for the better. Many regions boomed and many people made their individual dreams come true. However, almost everything (if not all) in this world has two sides—the good and the bad—so the deliberation about this subject would never die. On your end, how do you feel about the Industrial Revolution?
Natalie Regoli, Esq. is the author of this post and the editor-in-chief of our blog. She received her B.A. in Economics from the University of Washington and her Masters in Law from The University of Texas School of Law. In addition to being a seasoned writer, Natalie has almost two decades of experience as a lawyer and banker. If you would like to reach out to contact Natalie, then go here to send her a message.