Industrialization is essentially a technology-driven socio-economic change in the way a nation’s economy is organized from an agrarian economy to one that is based on manufacturing. Historically, early humans started out as hunter-gatherer groups and later settled for land cultivation and animal rearing. The development of the activities of mankind followed this basic path of agricultural economies facilitated by trade for most of known human history. However, as mankind advanced in science and technology, the development of machines for mass production, coupled with Malthusian Economics of Specialization and Division of Labour led to what historians have dubbed the Industrial Revolution.

The first Industrial Revolution began in Britain and it spread to Western Europe and North America between the mid-18th and mid-19th centuries. Industrialization transformed the economies of the nations involved from agrarian to industrial economies. This kind of change essentially depends on technological and scientific advancement as well as the extension of the frontiers of commerce through foreign trade as facilitated by air and maritime transport.

History of Industrialization

The industrial revolution started in Great Britain in the early part of the 18th century and spread to Belgium, Germany and France as well as North America. It essentially began when Sir Richard Arkwright invented the spinning wheel in England. The other major factors that shaped the industrial revolution were the invention of the steam engine as well as mechanization in the textile industry and the steel industry.

Before the advent of industrialization, manufacturing was manually done and in people’s home. Therefore, the volume of output was low and there was a lower degree of standardization in products. Industrialization brought mass production, increase in commerce and improved banking systems which all culminated in better living standards for many people. Industrialization later spread to East Asia and by the end of the twentieth century, it had acquired the status of an industrialized region of the world.

Effects of Industrial Revolution

Industrialization has had profound effects on the way societies were organized and run. It also improved the living standards of people within those countries where it occurred. Industrialization had socio-economic effects on the populations of industrialized nations as well as on the indigenous populations of colonies where cheap labour and raw materials were sourced to feed the industrial nations.

First of all, greater volumes of goods and better quality goods were produced. This led to greater incomes for many as well as better standards of living. The banking system improved thus facilitating commerce, creating greater demand for goods, and fuelling industrial growth. On the other hand, it produced masses of poorly paid workers as well as poor working conditions for many. Also, the greater mobility of labour that accompanied the industrial revolution meant a shift from enhanced extended family ties to the nuclear family as the social unit in the industrialized West.

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