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The Industrial Revolution

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A.) The Industrial Revolution brought about many social changes to both Europe and America. Two of the most significant changes are the large scale urbanization and rise of the labor unions.

Urbanization as defined by the New Oxford American Dictionary is to make or become urban which relates to the characteristics of a city or population. Because of the creation of more job opportunities, a rise in population occurred. This rise created many problems including air and water pollution, increased crime rates, poverty, deforestation, and the formation of slums. Though urbanization had negative effects, positive outcomes also occurred. It was this large scale migration that forced the government to enact policies to take care of these people. The initiative of the government to take interest of the works, modernization of the infrastructure, opening of schools, providing proper sanitations and bringing about health and water facilities (Urbanization During the Industrial Revolution, 2010).

The formation of labor unions during the first Industrial revolution brought a surge of new workers into the workplace. Because of the abundance of laborers available made individual workers expendable and led to decreased wages (Hackett, 1992). Underage workers were also heavily present in many jobs. Health and safety conditions in the workplace were poor and workers had little recourse. Federal laws at this time offered little protection. In the early years of the 19th century recorded efforts by unions to improve the workers conditions became more frequent. Labor unions are still in existence today and because of the mission to keep working conditions stable, safe, and ensure appropriate wages this formation has significantly socially impacted society today (Hackett, 1992) .

B.) During the Industrial revolution the merchant rose as the dominant force in the capitalist system and this affected the decline of the traditional handcraft skills to machine produced goods (Wikipedia, n.d.). Another factor was the nature of the economy (specifically Britain) which was organized around specialization and trade. With new ability to mass produce with machines, goods could be made cheaper. Those with money could invest and quickly make a large profit with the help of mass production. This forced locally based enterprises out of business (Moore, n.d.). Since the Industrial Revolution brought about such increased efficiency to mass produce, it was those with the money which was a small minority of the population to be able to start businesses (capitalist class) and become very wealthy. This also further divided social classes where the working class could easily be exploited to the capitalist class (World Socialist Movement, 2006).

C.) With capitalism few people became rich and controlled the production of goods which is profit based ownership is rooted in exploitation. Communism was born out of the theory of revolutionary change largely based from the ideas of Karl Marx. As a political movement, communism seeks to overthrow capitalism through a workers revolution and build a classless society and evenly distribute wealth (New World Encyclopedia, 2005).

1.) The first difference between the capitalist theory and the communist theory is regarding the means of production or resources in general. Communism shuns private ownership of land or any ownership of vital resources and believes these should be owned by the state, whereas capitalism believes in private ownership of land, production and the monetary gains from such. A second difference between the two is communism theory delineates a classless system where all men and woman are placed in the same category to ensure equal share across the board. Capitalism promotes class distinction specifically the rich class controlling means of production, thus having control of goods and society and the poor or working class are those who are controlled by the whims of the rich (Pilgram, n.d.).


Buzzle. (2010, May). Urbanization During the Industrial Revolution. Retrieved from http://www.buzzle.com/articles/urbanization-during-the-industrail-revolution Hackett, L. (1992). Industrial Revolution: The First Phase. Retrieved from http://www.history-world.org Moore, R. K. (n.d.). The Birth of Capitalism. Retrieved from http://www.fantsticforum.com New World Encyclopedia. (2005, November 11). Communism. Retrieved from http://newworldencyclopedia.org Pilgram, G. (n.d.). Communism vs. Capitalism. Retrieved from http://www.slideshare.net Wikipedia. (n.d.). History of Capitalism. Retrieved from http://www.wikipedia.org World Socialist Movement. (2006, August 13). What is Capitalism? Retrieved from http://worldsocialism.org

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