Effects of Industrialization and the Conditions of the Working Class in England
In the middle of the 19th century the industrial revolution was flourishing in England. With all of the advancements in machinery there would be new opportunities and drawbacks for citizens. Many would leave their lives on the farms and work in factories with unsafe settings. Karl Marx felt that the new advancements in society were able to support the fourth stage of human development, Communism. Along with these new advancements the people would have to learn how to self-govern themselves in the workplace and understand their new responsibilities.
England possessed the right settings for the autonomous operation of the economic forces that generated industrialization. Before the industrial revolution England was mainly an agrarian society. Then there was a radical change that moved the citizens from farms and into cities. With the large rise in England’s population there was also a larger demand for goods. There was a necessity for quicker and more efficient methods of producing those goods. During the beginning of the 19th century there was a large push of inventions to help create a more mechanical society. By 1848, when the "Communist Manifesto" was written, machinery had already been assimilated into society.1 The industrial revolution made transportation, commerce, and communication more accessible to the masses. Britain already had many navigable rivers and also utilized the inventions from the revolution to improve even more.2 One of the biggest contributions to those was that of the steam engine. This invention was the first automatic machine that allowed people to work uninterrupted for longer periods of time, like with the pump. Later this technology was used in locomotives making transportation of goods and people much easier. These new advancements in technology also opened up the social structure to new ideas.3
Many common citizens were given the opportunity to participate in this revolution. The concept of a common man helping to promote positive change in the society became a popular concept. This condition created a prime atmosphere for Marx. The productive knowledge of the working class increased allowing them to think for themselves. These people had the ability to influence material production.4 This also meant that there would be more people assuming the roles of factory owners. These new owners would be faced with the responsibility of producing goods for the society and the well being of its employees. One concern was how the government would adjust to this sudden change in society. The method that rose up was that of capitalism. This allowed companies to control all of the conditions, a method known as laissez-faire. The government stayed out of the companies’ ways because they did not want to hinder the progress. Eventually this idea would be rejected because it gave the factories too much power...