Karl Marx's Views On How Industrialization Affected Society

1707 words - 7 pages

Karl Marx's Views on how Industrialization Affected Society

The Industrial Revolution was the result of many interrelated changes that transformed society from agricultural communities into industrial ones. The most immediate changes on society because of this revolution were on the products that were produced, where, and how. Goods that were traditionally made in homes or small workshops began to be manufactured in large industrial factories. As a result, productivity and efficiency increased dramatically, thereby causing a radical shift in the long-established economies that existed at the time. The Industrial Revolution led to the growth of cities as people moved from rural areas to the city in order to find work. Marx believed that the changes brought on by the Industrial Revolution overturned not only the traditional economies, but also society in general.

Prior to the Industrial Revolution, both societal and economic conditions were largely determined by agriculture. Growth was slow, and people relied on traditional means to get by. The majority of the society were farmers and raised other animals. In the eighteenth century, however, the population exploded at an unprecedented pace. There are four primary reasons that may be cited for this growth: a decline in the death rate, an increase in the birth rate, the virtual elimination of plagues, and an increase in the availability of food [1]. This population growth created a surplus of labor. The need for workers in agriculture decreased due to the technological advances in techniques and tools. The surplus of people, as well as other would-be farmers, had to find jobs elsewhere. This is one important factor in the shift of the population from rural areas to the cities.

Other contributing mechanical factors made the Industrial Revolution possible. The canalization of rivers, the steam engine, and railways were key components of the development of industry [2]. The extensive canal system was created around the mid 1700s to move goods and supplies inland. This system was cheaper and quicker than shipping goods over land [3]. The steam engine, however, was the driving force behind the Industrial Revolution. Prior to the invention of steam power, factories were located along rivers and used water for power. The development of a practical, efficient steam engine and its application to industry and transportation was a great leap in progress for industrialization. The steam engine’s application was limitless, and it was responsible for lifting industries from infancy to adolescence. Steam engines were used to develop machines that operated factory systems, pumps for mines, faster ships, and locomotives. A steam locomotive was able to carry raw materials and products very quickly. The expansion of the uses of the steam engine created the steam locomotive and a greater need for a railroad system. As a result, Railroads multiplied...

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