The two most significant social consequences of the First Industrial Revolution were the emergence of the Bourgeoisie and the rise of factories. As a result of new developments in machinery and the formation of factories, the division of the labor force drastically changed. No longer were people born into their crafts; however, they were able to choose factory work as their profession, and wealthy land owners were no longer able to count on the possession of large tracts of land as a form of wealth. The land owners either transitioned into becoming factory owners, or they faced bankruptcy due to lack of production which resulted from people born on their land leaving when they came of age to seek better paying positions in factories.
The specialized craftsman were being forced out of existence by factories which could not only produce better goods, but they were able to, in some cases, triple the production of products previously produced by the specialized craftsman. Many people were choosing to become machine operators because the work was easier in the sense that they were able to work in all day long instead on only daylight to dawn, and this increased production led to the formation of the Bourgeoisie. The Bourgeoisie was the newly created middle class that was all but non-existent before the First Industrial Revolution. These positions came into existence due to the increased production of products that needed to be sold to the public.
The Bourgeoisie was primarily shop owners, and their ability to market products to the public resulted in their dramatic increase in wealth and status within their local communities. These shop owners basically became the intermediary between the factory owners and the local populace, and their importance resulted in a new power struggle with the Factory and land owners. The Bourgeoisie caused the explosion of Capitalism in Europe and the rest of the world. The shop owners were able to rise above poverty by being able to supply everyone with goods that were previously only available to the wealthy. Being able to provide these items as a result of factories increased the wealth and influence of the Middle class businessmen, and Capitalism was born. Industrial Revolution and Capitalism
In a nut shell, Price claimed the Industrial Revolution created the division of labor (2004). The Division of Labor is perfectly encapsulated by the Henry Ford model of the assembly line (Price, 2004). Each worker on the assembly line only needs to know how to attach or inspect the operation of their assigned part on to the object as a whole, and not how to assemble the entire product. This allows for any unskilled person to be taught how to attach their doodad onto the doohickey without knowing what the doohickey does or operates. This is capitalism in the basic form of the ideal. Capitalism desires economic efficiency, thus the assembly line is a perfect example of the rise of unskilled factory workers and the decline of skilled craftsmen during the industrial revolution and the rise of capitalism.
The rise of Capitalism assisted in increasing the chasm which already existed between the wealthy and the poor. The newly created middle class also rapidly becoming wealthy as a result of the new commerce, and were able to spend more time perusing the leisure activities before only enjoyed by the rich. Capitalism naturally had it opposition from all sides, the wealthy, the middle class, and the increasingly poor. This opposition was able to take root within the poor and lower middle class as they were the ones who were not able to benefit from the huge profits caused by inflation increasing faster than wages. The new theory of communism was developed from the combination of feudalism and Asia produced items. The Link between Communism and Capitalism and the Development of Communistic Theory
The disparity between the classes, the rich and the poor, was increasing by leaps and bounds every day. The demand of the rich factory owners to increase production thus increasing profits without any concern for the actual workers and their working conditions could be linked to Karl marks theory of communism (Price, 2004). The development of Communist theory naturally grew out of the ill-treatment of workers participating in Capitalism (Gates, 2011). Factory workers were dehumanized, dishonored, and treated as possessions by the factory owners (Gates, 2011). The consequences of the deplorable conditions of the employees created fertile beds for the theory of communism to take root and germinate (Steven, 2009) In Capitalism, individuals can earn wealth, own their own property, and production abilities, and everyone has the right to produce products.
In Communism, the wealth, property, and production all belong to the state and are communal property. Communism vacuums up all the land, assigns someone to manage the production, and dictates what will be produced, for example: corn, wheat, or beans. At harvest time, the crops are harvested, processed, and shipped out to the central distribution warehouses to be doled out at the leisure of the state and not necessarily as needs demand. The people who grew and harvested the crops do not get to keep any for their personal use. In Capitalism, each individual or corporation owns the land, decides what is to be grown, and who ever can afford to purchase the harvested product can purchase it, and some or all is kept for the use of the owners.
Communism does not encourage free thought of the individuals as they might realize that there could be profit to be made. Capitalism encourages individuals to think for themselves. This freedom of thought allows for each person to have the ability to encounter a problem, and creatively generate a solution that might benefit others for the right price. These two differences are what have allowed Capitalism to flourish over the past several centuries, and doomed Communism for failure almost before it was allowed to germinate as a viable way of life.
Gates, L. (2011, March 11). capitalism/communism – History Discussion. Study Guides, Lesson Plans, Homework Help, Answers & More – enotes.com. Retrieved January 5, 2013, from http://www.enotes.com/history/discuss/capitalism-communism-93289
Price, R. G. (2004, January 29). Division of Labor, Assembly Line Thought – The Paradox of Democratic Capitalism. rationalrevolution.net – Making sense of history, economics, politics, philosophy, and war. Retrieved January 5, 2013, from http://rationalrevolution.net/articles/division_of_labor.htm
Steven (2009, December 14). Capitalism and communism – Gilles Dauv | libcom.org. libcom.org. Retrieved January 5, 2013, from http://libcom.org/library/capitalism-communism-gilles-dauve
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