The Industrial revolution began in England around 1760 and ushered in an era of transformation that not only affected manufacturing and business but also brought about many social changes as well. Two of the most significant social changes were the urbanization of populations into larger cities and the shift from home based work to employment in factory settings.
Prior to the Industrial revolution most of the population in England was spread over a large area with many families living on land where they had small farms or gardens to provide subsistence for themselves. Most business and manufacturing was completed in the home with most families having a trade to provide income that combined with their home based agriculture provided the means with which to live (“Industry and Economy,” n.d.).
As the Industrial Revolution began with the invention of machinery to complete this manufacturing many of these home based businesses were consolidated into factories where the machines were based thus spurring movement towards these factories as the work could no longer be performed in the home on effective scale. As manufacturing became factory based the centralization of the workforce lead to urbanization of the population and changed what had once been a agriculture based economy into a industrial based economy.
With this growth in urbanization also came growth in the population that was sustained by the new economy, “In the eighty years or so after 1780 the population of Britain nearly tripled, the towns of Liverpool and Manchester became gigantic cities, the average income of the population more than doubled, the share of farming fell from just under a half to just under a fifth of the nation’s output, and the making of textiles and iron moved into steam-driven factories “(D. N. McCloskey, 1981).
This urbanization ushered in a new era with large cities becoming the foci of life for a large percentage of the population, a trend that continues today.
The second major change came to home life as manufacturing and trades moved from the home to factories. Prior to the Industrial revolution many businesses were run in a complex manner that centered on the home known as the domestic system (“Industry and Economy,” n.d.).
A merchant would deliver the raw goods to the craftsman’s home and there the craftsman would transform the raw goods into product to be sold by the merchant. This business model allowed for families to remain in their homes and remain employed. With the invention of machinery to complete these home based tasks came a sea change to the home life and employment shifted from the home to factories.
This was due to the fact that most of these machines were too expensive or too large to be located in the home so merchants began to shift production from the homes of craftsman to the factories where the machinery could be located.
As factories began to become the site for most production employment shifted from the home based domestic system to the factory based industrial system (Mokyr, 1985). This ushered in a new era of employment in which employees left the home to work , a system that is the norm in the developed world today. Capitalism and Communism
With the rise of the Industrial revolution came a rise in the capitalist system. As the Industrial revolution began in Brittan so too did the rise in capitalism. Prior to the Industrial revolution wealth was centered on land ownership and those with wealth invested it in land (Fulcher, 2004). With the Industrial Revolution came factories where modern machinery and technology came together with labor to manufacture and produce goods.
As this new system became superior to the old domestic system capitalist began to invest their wealth in factories and machinery to produce profits and increase their wealth (History of capitalism, 2013). As an example the first factory custom built for cloth milling and powered by water was built in 1771 and located in Cromford, England (History of capitalism, 2013). With the success of the Industrial Revolution the returns realized by those with capital became the example for future capitalists thus insuring the continuation of the capitalist economic system.
With the transformation brought on by the industrial revolution the average person went from being a self employed farmer to working as an employee in a factory (Communism/Socialism vs Capitalism, 2013) With these new changes came a widening gap between those with capitol and those who provided the labor.
As the ranks of those who provided factories with unskilled labor swelled they became known as the working class. With the living conditions and working conditions of these laborers ever worsening as the capitalist sought to maximize their profits the working class began to organize so as to gain influence on their destiny.
These changes to society brought about new ideas on the proper division of wealth and property in society. Karl Marx put forward an idea known as Communism with the publication in 1848 of “Manifest der Kommunistischen Partei,” also known as the “Communist Manifesto” (Communism/Socialism vs Capitalism, 2013).
In his treatise he put forward that what was best for society was the sharing of all resources including labor, property and wealth for the communal good. This was the antithesis of capitalism where the individual was responsible for his own success and could solely reap the rewards of his efforts. In direct contrast to capitalism was communism where the individual was not the focus and all effort was collective and any and all reward was shared, “You must, therefore, confess that by “individual” you mean no other person than the bourgeois, than the middle-class owner of property.
This person must, indeed, be swept out of the way, and made impossible” (Marx,1848). Communism was a means by which the working class, laborers , wage earners and the unskilled known as the proletariat could rise above their status as lower class and be equal with the capitalist upper class (Marx & Engels, 1848). Under the communism the class system would be abolished with all being equal, the private ownership of property would be abolished with the land instead being owned by the collective. Factories would also be state owned with all profits going to the collective in an equal manner.
This brings us to second most significant difference in relation to communism vs. capitalism. Communism is a totalitarian system which by design is based on dictatorship by the communist state.
This stands as the polar opposite to democracy , the political system of most capitalist economies. With Russia being the first country to experience a true communist system , Lenin instituted Marx’s theory of “Dictatorship of the Proletariat.” whereby the most politically advanced would lead the rest of the country (Communism/Socialism vs Capitalism, 2013). Under this system there were no other political parties, no free elections, and no opposition. It was and is a system based on totalitarianism.
ReferencesCapitalism: Frequently Asked Questions. (2013). Capitalism: Frequently AskedQuestions. Retrieved July 19, 2013, from http://lilt.ilstu.edu/rrpope/rrpopepwd/articles/capitalism.html Communism/Socialism vs Capitalism. (2013). POS 101 Communism/Socialism vs Capitalism. Retrieved July 19, 2013, from http://lilt.ilstu.edu/rrpope/rrpopepwd/articles/communism.html Fulcher, J. (2004). Capitalism: A very short introduction. Oxford University Press. History of capitalism. (2013). HISTORY OF CAPITALISM. Retrieved July 26, 2013, from http://www.historyworld.net/wrldhis/PlainTextHistories.asp?historyid=aa49 Industry and Economy. (n.d.).
Industry and Economy. Retrieved July 19, 2013, from http://www.ehs.org.uk/industrialrevolution/ph_index.htm Marx, K., & Engels, F. (1848). Manifesto of the Communist Party/1. – Wikisource, the Free Online Library. Retrieved July 28, 2013, from http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Manifesto_of_the_Communist_Party/1 Mokyr, J. (1985). The economics of the industrial revolution. Rowman and Allanheld.