The Industrial Revolution began the modern era, which brought about a new capitalist system and a new world economy. New technology and scientific innovations sparked worldwide exchanges of national and cultural resources. Globalization provided nations and individuals the opportunity to grow rich creating monopolies and economic superpowers. Not everyone was able to capitalize at the start of this new era. Nations and individuals that did not have the resources or could not discover a method to get wealthy were stuck, not able to flourish. In these most recent economic times, it is easy to see that the gap between the extremely rich and the extremely poor is growing, with those in the middle being pushed to one extreme or the other. Economic superpowers, whether they are nations or corporations, have established themselves and dominate their respective industries. These economic superpowers have controlled the world because without them production, distribution, and the worlds globalized economy would grind to a stop. While these wealthy nations and wealthy individuals flourish, the poor nations and individuals suffer. Poor nations and individuals have no way of helping themselves and are thrown farther and farther into poverty each day. There are many factors that influenced this gap between the rich and poor, each reason having a different effect on the world economy.
The increase in human population from roughly 375 million in 1400 to about 1 billion in the early nineteenth century created the need for more energy and resources (Strayer, 568). The Industrial Revolution was a response to the needs of humans. With the transition to new manufacturing methods humans were now able to produce products more efficiently and at a faster rate. This transition included going from hand production methods to machines, new chemical manufacturing, new iron production processes, improved efficiency of waterpower, the increasing use of steam power and development of machine tools. The transition also included the change to fossil fuels such as coal, oil, and natural gas that replaced the earlier dependency on wind, water, wood and the muscle power of humans and animals. The Industrial Revolution marked a major turning point in history with almost every aspect of daily life being influenced in some way.
The Industrial Revolution erupted rather quickly beginning in Britain and within a few decades spread to Western Europe and the United States, later diffusion around the globe. When looking at it, the question of “why did industrialization begin Europe?” can be asked. European nations internal competiveness insured that economic and technological stagnation would not be an issue (Strayer, 571). With European nation fighting for supremacy, European governments actively encouraging commerce and innovation. Stayer writes, “States granted charters and monopolies to private trading companies and governments founded scientific societies and offered prizes to promote innovation” (Stayer, 572). This competition between nations along with a new capitalist society, formed because of it allowed European nations to get a head start into the industrial age. Capitalism allows economic individualism’s, where a person has the right to decide where to invest what to produce or sell, and what prices to charge. There is no natural limit to the range of their powers in terms of possessions, transactions, and profits; or the number of customers, employees, and investors; or whether they operate in local, national, or international markets. The basic idea is that an individual has the right of self-interest and the right to own private property. This new capitalist society led to the formation of major corporations. As capitalism spread major corporations arose and began to dominate their respected industry because governments had a laissez-faire approach. Capitalism is a major reason why the wealth of the world is divided so unevenly. George Soros once...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document