Industrial Revolution and Social Changes

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Between 1760 and 1860, technological progress, education, and an increasing capital stock transformed England into the workshop of the world. The industrial revolution, as the transformation came to be called, caused a sustained rise in real income per person in England and, as its effects spread, the rest of the Western world. Historians agree that the industrial revolution was one of the most important events in history, marking the rapid transition to the modern age, but they disagree about various aspects of the event. Of all the disagreements, the oldest one is over how the industrial revolution affected ordinary people, usually called the working classes. One group, the pessimists, argues that the living standards of ordinary people fell. Another group, the optimists, believes that living standards rose. A lot of people thinks that the industrial revolution was a disaster for the working classes. It led to a rise in the standard of living. Real income per person grew at only about 0.3 percent per year, growth at such a slow rate made a deterioration in the lot of the working classes possible. Moreover, if we add the effects of unemployment, pollution, urban crowding, child labor, and other social ills, the modest rise in average income could well have been accompanied by a fall in the standard of living of the working classes. the industrial revolution was a big step in the economics of the world, that change all the thoughts that we already had to start a new way of economy, where workers had new rights, there was a different organization in the job, the payment was different and it changed all the way of life. Workers conditions:

The worker's houses were usually near to the factories so that people could walk to work. They were built really quickly and cheaply. The houses were cheap, most had between 2-4 rooms - one or two rooms downstairs, and one or two rooms upstairs. Victorian families were big with 4 or 5 children. There was no running water or toilet. A whole street would have to share an outdoor pump and a couple of outside toilets. Most houses in the North of England were "back to backs" (built in double rows) with no windows at the front, no backyards and a sewer down the middle of the street. The houses were built crammed close together, with very narrow streets between them. Most of the houses were crowded with five or more people possibly crammed into a single room. Even the cellars were full. Most of the new towns were dirty and unhealthy. The household rubbish was thrown out into the streets. Housing conditions like these were a perfect breeding grounds for diseases. More than 31,000 people died during an outbreak of cholera in 1832 and lots more were killed by typhus, smallpox and dysentery. The situation in factories was just as awful. The factory inspectors found that children worked twelve hour days, generally with only a one hour break. If the factory or mill was busy, they might work up to eighteen hours a day. The conditions were every bit as bad as in the mines, and some reports told of children spending their entire working lives doubled up under machinery in cotton mills. They were often permanently disabled as a result. Causes:

The vast majority of the country's population lives in the countryside, completely isolated or in small communities. he debate about the start of the Industrial Revolution also concerns the massive lead that Great Britan had over other countries. Some have stressed the importance of natural or financial resources that Britain received from its many overseas colonies or that profits from the British slave trade between Africa and the Caribbean helped fuel industrial investment. It has been pointed out, however, that slave trade and West Indian plantations provided only 5% of the British national income during the years of the Industrial Revolution. Even though slavery accounted for minimal economic profits in Britain during the Industrial Revolution,...
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