The INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION can be said to have made the European working-class. It made the European middle-class as well. In the wake of the Revolution, new social relationships appeared. As Ben Franklin once said, "time is money." Man no longer treated men as men, but as a commodity which could be bought and sold on the open market. This "commodification" of man is what bothered Karl Marx -- his solution was to transcend the profit motive by social revolution There is no denying the fact that the Industrial Revolution began in England sometime after the middle of the 18th century. England was the "First Industrial Nation." As one economic historian commented in the 1960s, it was England which first executed "the takeoff into self-sustained growth." And by 1850, England had become an economic titan. Its goal was to supply two-thirds of the globe with cotton spun, dyed, and woven in the industrial centers of northern England The Industrial Revolution of the late 18th and early 19th centuries was revolutionary because it changed -- revolutionized -- the productive capacity of England, Europe and United States. But the revolution was something more than just new machines, smoke-belching factories, increased productivity and an increased standard of living. It was a revolution which transformed English, European, and American society down to its very roots. The Industrial Revolution began in England in the early 18th century for the following reasons:
1. England had experienced all of the forerunners of industrialization in the previous century: an agricultural revolution, cottage industry, and an expanded commercial revolution. These developments had built surplus capital and an infrastructure (shipping, banking, insurance, joint stock companies).
2. England already had a handcraft textile industry using wool, but with the availability of cotton from overseas markets as an alternative raw material. 3. The scientific revolution in England prepared the way for new inventions to be applied to industry. 4. A spreading shortage of wood (used for energy, for shipbuilding and construction) stimulated a search for alternatives.
5. England was rich in supplies of coal for energy and iron for construction. 6. England had a long, irregular coastline with many rivers and natural harbors which provided easy transportation by water to many areas. 7. England's population grew rapidly in the 18th century, providing a labor force for industry.
NEW TECHNOLOGY IN THE TEXTILE INDUSTRY:
In about 1765, Hargreaves invented the spinning jenny which could spin numerous spools of cotton simultaneously. It was hand-powered, yet it could multiply several-fold the amount to be spun. At about the same time Arkwright invented the water frame which could spin several hundred spools at a time. But it required water power, and it could only spin coarse thread. Both inventions were used, the one to spin coarse thread, the other to spin fine thread.
About 1790, Crompton's Mule, powered by a steam engine, provided an alternative method. Cotton yarn could be spun in great quantity, but weaving of cloth was by hand until the power loom was perfected about 1800.
In the interim, weavers were well paid, until displaced by the power loom. Thus, the employment market was dramatically changed twice in a short period of time by the process of industrialization.
THE PROBLEM OF ENERGY:
The shortage of trees for lumber had led to the use of coal for heating, but coal mines constantly flooded. Newcomen's steam engine, invented in 1705, was an inefficient but acceptable method of pumping water out of the mines. It could not, however, generate power. The new textile machines could be driven by water power, but that would have set severe limits to the available locations. Furthermore, lack of lumber threatened to cut short the industrial growth.
The iron industry consumed large...