The Industrial Revolution was the transition to new manufacturing processes in the period from about 1760 to sometime between 1820 and 1840. This transition included going from hand production methods to machines, new chemical manufacturing and iron production processes, improved efficiency of water power, the increasing use of steam power, the development of machine tools and the rise of the factory system.
- Beginning of geographical discoveries and direct sea routes opened new avenues of trade and
- Emergence of capitalist ideology. Capitalists financed the voyages of sailors in search of new
markets and new sources of raw material. New industries were also financed by capitalists.
- New inventions were made which enhanced productivity many fold.
Hargreaves’s spinning mill, improvement of Arkwright and Crompton over that spinning
mill. Invention of steam engine led to birth of Cotton Jenny, a much improved cotton weaver
- Colonialism : discoveries of new cheap sources of raw materials and profitable dumping
markets for finished products.
Faster means of communication, commoditification of labor with introduction of wage System,
development of new sources of energy like coal, new durable materials like steel were the other
supporting factors for the rise of Industrial Revolution.
England as the epicenter of Industrial Revolution
- Adequate capital which was accumulated through colonialism.
- Disappearance of serfdom and ‘enclosure movement’ (Big landlords started snatching the
land of small farmers) provided huge surplus agricultural labor which looked for employment and became source of cheap labor.
- Rich natural resources . Iron and coal proved twin pillars of Industrial Revolution and Britain was lucky to have them in close proximity.
- Stable government and strong naval power.
Salient Features of Industrial Revolution
- Britain was the epicenter of this revolution in 1750.
- It started from textile sector. Britain used to spent huge wealth on import of foreign clothes like Dhaka Muslin, Calicut Calico and so on leading to huge forex drain.
- Revolution in infrastructure. Railways, steam boats, Macadamized roads, telegraph and penny post
- Revolution in agriculture. Commercialization of agriculture. Staple food crops were replaced
with cash crops like cotton, indigo, tea, opium etc.
- Gave birth to ideology of mercantilism which viewed world resources as limited and merchants
vied for each other in a ‘zero-sum game’.
- A process of new globalization started in which colonies were integrated in a highly subservient
Impact of Industrial Revolution
Social impacts : new urban centers , slums, nuclear family, urbanization, exploitation of women and children, new class formation
Social bonds dissolved.
Social development is neglected .
Child labor laws were formed as exploitation of children increased.
Economic Impact : birth of capitalism, transnational trade, cheap goods, ruin of handicrafts.
Massive increase in production and productivity,
Laissez Faire or let us alone’ was used by capitalists.
First Factory Act passed in 1802. This led to improvement in working conditions of workers.
Political Impact : colonialism gets a new fillip, new division of countries as developed and undeveloped, Europeanization of different parts of world, reforms movement like Chartist Movement started.
Trade Unions also began to form.
Socialism, Marxism also trace their roots to Industrial Revolution.
Environmental impacts: The origins of the environmental movement lay in the response to increasing levels of smoke pollution in the atmosphere during the Industrial Revolution. The emergence of great factories and the concomitant immense growth in coal consumption gave rise to an unprecedented level of air pollution in industrial centers; after 1900 the large volume of industrial chemical discharges added to the growing load of untreated human waste.