With any change, there are negative and positive effects. When the Industrial revolution occurred the same rules applied. Both good and bad things occurred as a direct result of the industrialization of the U.S. and Britain. The impact people felt from the Industrial revolution had a tremendous amount to do with where they stood in society as well as where the belonged in the labor force. Some of the positive and negative effects of industrialization were felt or witnessed by everyone.
Positive Effects of Industrialization
The positive effects of the industrialization were felt mostly by factory owners and members of high society. Some of the benefits were enjoyed by everyone in society.
- Higher Standard of Living – A percentage of the population saw a higher standard of living and more disposable income.
- More jobs – The working class found it easier to find jobs than in years prior due to factories needing so many different workers.
- More affordable products – Mass production of products in factories meant more products available as well as less expensive, or more affordable products.
- Development of Cities – One of the most long-lasting effects of industrialization is the increase in cities. Gone were the days where people lived in small cities or towns or on farms. What once was a small city developed into a full-fledged sprawling city with numerous residents.
Negative Effects of Industrialization
The negative effects of industrialization were numerous. For the working class, an estimated 80% of society, they saw and felt the direct impact of the industrialization with respect to the negatives. The wealthy and the business owners only had knowledge or interest in all of the benefits that came from the dramatic change in industry and society as a whole. The follow are just a few of the less than humane effects of industrialization.
- Child labor – Factory owners turn to unskilled children to work in their factories. Children were easier to control and would work at a fraction of the wage their adult counterparts would. Children were also able to complete jobs where a worker needed to get into small or confined spaces too small for adults.
- Wage slavery – Workers were subjected to wages that were less than fair. Unfortunately, due to the need for work, they became slaves to both their jobs and the minimal wages they earned.
- Slums – Neighborhoods for the working class were less than ideal. The working class lived in overcrowded areas that were dirty and typically filled with pollution.
- Terrible working conditions – At the start of the industrialization workers were subject to horrible if not dangerous working conditions. The working class worked as much as six days a week and 10 to 14 hours was a very common shift per day. There were safety hazards including excessive heat especially for ironworkers. Accidents were a common occurrence. Equipment and machinery had dangerous parts exposed, contributing to the number of injuries.
Industrialization brought with it countless positive and negative effects. Products were cheaper, cities flourished, and more jobs were available. On the flipside, child labor and poor working conditions were two very real issues courtesy of industrialization. Some of the more negative aspects to industrialization were changed for the betterment of all involved.