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Advantages To The Industrial Revolution In Early Modern Europe

1674 words - 7 pages

Prior to industrialization, the population of Europe saw a dramatic growth – from 110,000,000 to 190,000,000. What triggered this growth? Likely the end of feudalism. The end of feudal contracts gave people a little more say in their day-to-day working activities, resulting in more time spent at home, which ultimately resulted in childbearing. This would leave citizens scrambling both to provide needs for the population as a whole, and to improve the individuals overall quality of life. This resulted in economists, like Adam Smith in The Wealth of Nations (1776), examining the most cost-effective method of producing the goods and services citizens demanded (such as clothing and food). It also left others, such as Thomas Malthus in his Essay on Population (1798), searching for a way to curb population growth so that Europe could sustain its growth. Ultimately both theorists’ ideas were put into play in reality. While both theorists’ ideas were initially met with resistance by the everyday-labourer and his family, these ideas were necessary for the nations economic development and sustainability. The Industrial Revolution was advantageous to society at the time because it provided the population with the means to provide needed materials through developments in mechanization, laboured work, as well as agriculture – but conformed to Malthus’ subsistence model by having citizens living together in slums located in urban areas close to their workplace, the health and safety issues associated with this move would result in a naturally decreased population.

Adam Smith wrote The Wealth of Nations as a guide why economics should be catered to benefit both the business as well as the consumer. While Smith stresses the importance of division of labour, he does make the point that machines were devised to facilitate and abridge labour so that one person can do the work of many . This was essential because the population boom that occurred from 1650-1800, where population climbed from 110,000,000 to 119,000,000, created the need for materials food and clothing to be produced faster to sustain growth. Machines such as the scribbling mill, and spinning jenny did the work of a hundred hands, for every single human hand. Initially these machines were met by workers with despair, as one machine in twelve hours could do the work of ten men by hand . These machines also reduced labour by a third, which resulted in an increase in wage for workers and it also worked to increase trade since nations were about to compete with one another for cheaper resources . From an economic standpoint this shift in labour was beneficial to the masses because instead of people exerting themselves to compete with other nations, machinery could just take on the majority of the work, assisting in this movement. This benefitted business owners because they did not need as many labourers, and they could also afford to lower taxes. Smith declares the ‘invisible hand’ as a necessity...

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