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The Industrial Revolution: Culture, Work and Social Change


The industrial revolution was a change of various individuals’ life situation that occurred in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries due to the interest to expand the technologies of industries. It was characterized by a complex interaction of revolution in various fields like society, economy, and culture, where human labor was replaced with mechanical work due to changes in technology. The main developments that ushered in the industrial revolution were entirely different in the first, second, and third wave, but the changes depended on each wave. Therefore, the industrial revolution was a significant condition for the emergence of the modern era that depended upon the gradual transformation from feudalism to mercantile capitalism. Europe and then the United States were the significant examples of the industrial revolution that ushered in rapid capitalist developments.

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Development that ushered in the industrial revolution

There was no single innovation of culture that is believed to have triggered the industrial revolution, but it is true that the expansion of the steam engine was a significant factor. According to Evans, Goodman, and Lansbury (21), coal was the main fuel of some societies that was used by a few generations into profound industrial zones. However, coal is believed to have a low value for weight product, so industrial development was based on those towns and cities situated near the coal sites. Evans, Goodman, and Lansbury (21) indicate that coal mining resulted in being a massive employer and continued to offer jobs in developed countries until after world war two. Meanwhile, oil is one of the steam engine fuel that had dramatic changes on industrial development because it is more flexible, easier to transport than coal.

Ownership and exploitation of oil assets in the US produced massive wealth and tremendous economic power. For instance, the Rockefeller family’s standard oil company was one of the first monopolies to be affected in anti-trust action by the US government and resulted in the development of smaller companies. Nevertheless, developed large oil companies like Shell, Total, and British Petroleum, basis their trading on their colonial empires and dominance of the global financial market. Evans, Goodman, and Lansbury (22) claim that the concentration of resources at the mines in the new industries, as the result of the powering of the steam engine with coal, made rapid industrialization possible. It also contributed to emerging of today’s polluted and polluting industries that continue to affect the environments and climate of many countries.

The second phase of industrial development commenced at the end of the nineteenth century with the advancements of electric power, natural gas as energy sources. The technological innovations that ushered in these new energy types were the internal-combustion engine and the chemical industries. This led to the rise of automobiles and airplanes to receive a system of roadways towards and from airports, and around and into cities, crisscrossing the land. In the US, the cities changed as economic rather than cultural centers; thus, the special offer for the middle and upper class brought urban blight and inner-city ghettos.

Evans, Goodman, and Lansbury (25) indicate that the development of electricity needed greater outlays of capital than that was required for coal to build the pipelines and power lines to transport fuel to the new developing megapolis.

The involvement of many countries like Britain in international trade enabled greater division of labor that led to economic growth that mainly impressed Adam Smith. The division of labor into finer activities advanced during this period and was accompanied by the industrial revolution. The massing of many workers in one location allowed the advancement of machinery to do repetitious work that facilitated the ushering in of the industrial revolution. During this period, the development in internal commodity and factor markets had reduced, and changes in technological were taking place, but their impact had declined. Gradually but certainly, the spaces between the cities were packed in with the growing population that ushered in the third phase of the industrial revolution.

The modern development ushered in by the industrial revolution was entirely different from all other development phases, and for the first time, technological changes became the dominant force in economic growth. Eventually and deeply, the technological change transformed all sectors of the economy that led to the occupation of the urban centers. Hence, it was the change of the nature of the growth process, rather than the rate of change of real GDP per capita, that was generated by this process that justifies the development in the industrial revolution. Meanwhile, the main trait of modern economic growth is democratization, in that the pre-modern development was impressive in terms of rate of changes. Meanwhile, Evans, Goodman, and Lansbury (29) claim that democratization was due to the growing surplus that was monopolized by the ruling elite, as in the case of the Rockefeller family’s standard oil company discussed above.

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Meanwhile, in Domesday England, a small percentage of the population retained almost all the country’s riches because such an unequal distribution of income was significant at that time. Because they wanted to concentrate scarce resources in the positions of those who would invest rather than those who would consume these resources. These ruling elite continued to expand with the emerging of the middle classes, but modern economic development was able to produce a reasonably equitable distribution of income that ushered in the industrial revolution. Meanwhile, it impacted the lives of the mass population in developed countries, as shown in a large reduction in mortality and morbidity in today’s society (Evans, Goodman and Lansbury 27). The development of labor markets ushered in the industrial revolution, but in rural places, they were still dominated by local squires, and in the towns, they were subject to restrictive laws. It was only the sustained rise in the size of real GDP per capita and led to changes in economic structure. Thus, after the industrial revolution, labor attains the mobility and economic power to abolish those restrictions.

Classical sociological theories ushered in the industrial revolution in various countries because they changed western societies from agricultural activities to industrial systems. Evans, Goodman, and Lansbury (32) indicate that these theories challenged societies and brought a reaction against the industrial system and capitalism that led to the labor movement. A large number of workers moved to urban, as a result of the industrial revolution, and the expansion of cities was accompanied by an urban problem that attracted the views of sociologists. Meanwhile, socialism helped equal distribution of wealth; for instance, Karl Marx was interested in the capitalist society that encouraged the industrial revolution.


I believe the developments that ushered in the industrial revolution are central to understanding today’s society. Because they have played a part in various sectors that have an impact on today’s society. The technology change that transformed the economic development is necessary for a main redistribution of GDP. Meanwhile, they are the key improvement in the quality of human life in today’s society. This development results in a significant transformation in the relative social structure facing the industry, and at the same time, help in opening up a wide range of new opportunities in today’s society. The development in the electric and steam engine is central to the understanding of today’s mining and globalization that help to expand the economy in many societies. According to Evans, Goodman, and Lansbury (30), the developments amount to the encouragement of economic development over and above human integrity and bring competition in today’s society.

Work Cited

Evans, Russell, Goodman James and Lansbury Nina. Moving mountains: communities confront mining and globalization. New York: St Martin Press, 2002. Print.

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StudyCorgi. (2021, May 27). The Industrial Revolution: Culture, Work and Social Change.

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"The Industrial Revolution: Culture, Work and Social Change." StudyCorgi, 27 May 2021,

1. StudyCorgi. "The Industrial Revolution: Culture, Work and Social Change." May 27, 2021.


StudyCorgi. "The Industrial Revolution: Culture, Work and Social Change." May 27, 2021.


StudyCorgi. 2021. "The Industrial Revolution: Culture, Work and Social Change." May 27, 2021.


StudyCorgi. (2021) 'The Industrial Revolution: Culture, Work and Social Change'. 27 May.

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