The Industrial Revolution is globally recognised to be the process of transformation in which the core base of an agrarian dominated economy is shifted to an economy that is largely driven and influenced by technological advancements and machine manufacturing. During the latter period of the 18th to the early period of the 19th century, the UK had experienced an expeditious development as the Industrial Revolution was prominently confined to Britain before dispersing out to neighbouring economies, as well as other parts of the globe. Industrialisation is commonly correlated to the concept of urbanisation. Urbanisation is deemed to be the progression of congregation merging into towns and larger cities, thus encouraging expediential economic growth and development in these areas. Robert C. Allen has stated, “the growth of the urban, commercial economy drove the English Economy forward in the centuries before the Industrial Revolution.” The primary section of this essay will further analyse and discuss how and to what extent it did so. Furthermore, once collating the relevant judgements, I will justify in the secondary section the extent to which it was British, as claimed by R C Allen.
Primary Section: The forces that drove the growth of the urban, commercial economy drove the English Economy forward in the century’s before the Industrial Revolution
Britain vitally established the Industrial Revolution that led to the development of the country and economy to this present day. The term ‘economy’ outlines the procedure of producing goods and services in aim to exchange for money to generate government revenue from any trade conducted. The British economy experienced rapid alterations from 1760 right the way through to 1840. During this period, the efficiently improved broad-scale of production approaches and machinery ignited the foundation of industrialisation. Whilst the UK economy was mindful of their early advancement, the British prohibited exportation of skilled labour, manufacturing methods and machinery. It was evident that, during this period, the monopoly that Britain had adopted was essentially temporary. This was due to various individuals seeking lucrative industrial opportunities overseas, whilst mainland European manufacturers pursued to aim to adopt British techniques and methods for the economic expansion of their country. Many diverse elements donated towards the surge of the Industrial Revolution in the UK. These fundamental aspects, such as access to raw materials, social adaptions and divergence, new innovations, trade routes and associates, and an established government all collectively enabled the UK excelled in an industry-propelled economy.
The drastic up-surge in levels of production that took place in New England’s textile mills, were emphasised to be a key aspect that drove the Industrial Revolution, however necessitated a further two vital foundations for extensive influence. Firstly, the primary foundation being an enlarged scheme of credit that was required to assist businessmen and tycoons to obtain the investment for universal risky innovative ventures. In addition, the secondary foundation being an enhanced transportation method for raw materials to be distributed to various plants and factories, as well as ensuring that goods are circulated to consumers efficiently. The role of the state government influenced monetary institutions and the infinitely enriched conveyance network. The stated latter progress is regarded by historians as the market revolution, due to the significance of generating greater efficient methods, in which to transport production level goods, commodities, raw materials and additionally human capital.
Agrarianism and the beginning of mining primarily was introduced throughout the Middle Ages. The Industrial Revolution was able to benefit from extensive technological advancements in Britain, which allowed for a large proportion of economic success. However, this also meant that there was regions of poverty and overcrowding. The expansion in population denotes that charities experienced great difficulties in successfully handling these issues solely and the sustained participation of the UK in global wars led to the economy’s deterioration at various times.
The key and central structures involved in the Industrial Revolution were regarded to be cultural, technological and socioeconomic. The impact of technological vicissitudes meant that there were new sources of energy involving fuels and motive power, new materials such as iron and steel. The abundance of new innovative machinery such as the power loom enabled for there to be a rise in production whilst utilising less human energy. The implementation of organisation known as the factory system, that involved augmented division of labour and specialisation were deemed to be imperative advances in communication and conveyance. The technological adjustments outlined enabled Britain to utilise greater natural resources for manufactured goods. Furthermore, many new expansions in nonindustrial provinces strengthened the UK economy’s position. As agrarian progresses allowed to facilitate food for greater non-agrarian population. Economic variations that caused a broader distribution of wealth.
The Industrial Revolution amplified GDP per capital in the economy as a whole. The volume of increasing wealth had been evidently greater than in prior centuries, enabling the middle class to expand. Nonetheless, the substitution of the domestic scheme of industrialised manufacturing protection, where self-governing crafts persons operated in their homes, among the factory scheme and mass manufacturing entrusted huge volumes of labour, including children and women to monotonous and hazardous work at subsistence wages. As a result of on-going miserable working environments, it led to the convergence of the trade union movement in the mid-19th century.
An additional vital aspect to the shifting economy of the early period of the Industrial Revolution was related to implemented organisational strategies in order to increase labour productivity. The outwork system had permitted sections of large manufacturing procedures to be conducted within employee’s households. Moreover, the upsurge of wage labour during the Industrial Revolution exploited the labour force as in 1824, textile and factory workers protested against working environments and low wage rates.
Prior to the Industrial Revolution in Britain, as stated by R C Allen, the UK economy soared ahead subsequent to the 1500’s. Cities in Britain expanded, London benefited from high wage rates, agriculture was enhancing and production was being allocated to rural regions. The reasons for alterations suggest that commerce and developing cities were accountable factors. High wage rates, were sustained in London throughout the 16th century although they were plummeting in other regions and countries. However, in the 17th century, the rest of the country steadily caught up as counties and cities experienced exponential growth. London’s rate of growth released the deluge of north-eastern coal due to wood prices rising. Allen, R. (2009). Why England succeeded. In The British Industrial Revolution in Global Perspective (New Approaches to Economic and Social History, pp. 106-132). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
The growth of the urban, commercial economy stimulated the British economy in the centuries prior to the Industrial Revolution. This was prominently down to two significant issues. Ultimate causation being the first issue, which the growth and expansion of cities may have drove the economy. However, modern historians have suggested that economic growth from 1750 throughout to 1830, mainly befell in specific regions of the economy because of cotton, coal and iron. Additionally, historians believe that the economy was vivacious and innovative from the Middle Ages right throughout to the Early Modern Era. It is argued by scholars that the early modern era was perceived as the period in which Britain placed the foundations of Britain’s Industrial Era in the 19th century.
History implies that the Industrial Revolution has consequently led to urbanisation through generating high sustained levels of economic growth, as well as job prospects which attract labour to cities. Urbanisation classically occurs when a plant is recognised within an area, therefore generating a greater level of demand for manufacturing labour. Further establishments such as retailers, building industrialists and service suppliers then shadow the factories in aim to encounter the product demands of the labour. Subsequently, generating further job opportunities as well as increasing demands for housing, leading to urbanisation. As depicted in the modern age, industrial facilities such as plants are commonly substituted with technological advancements. As a result of this, human capital is attracted from various regions simultaneous to the way in which plant used to, leading to urbanisation.
It is regarded that throughout the prehistoric era of human civilisation, arrays of urbanisation has been solid near enormous capacities of water. This was primarily due to satisfy the basic living requirements of providing food and water to mass populations. Nevertheless, the tendency of urbanisation along watercourses has sustained as enormous capacities of water are required to maintain the industry. Hence, 75% of the globes greatest urban regions are located near costal areas.
As economic growth is generated due to industrialisation, the demand for better-quality education and community agencies that are physiognomies of urban region upsurges. This level of demand transpires as corporations aiming to adopt new technological gains to increase productivity necessitate an educated labour force, in addition to an attractive living conditions to entice skilled human capital to the region.
As industrialisation is embedded, the course of urbanisation resumes for a vast period as the region experiences social and economic restructure. For example, Bangkok is a city in which resides in a less economically developed country, whereas a city such as San Francisco and Frankfurt are both located in economical developed countries. Thus, every city has a gradual level of economic, social and environmental wealth due to enhanced social restructuring, government intervention and education.
Secondary Section: To what extent was the Industrial Revolution claimed british?
Britain had over-taken 23% of global industrial production by the mid 1800’s and were accounted for having the wealthiest labour force in Europe, with less labour comparatively working within the agricultural sector. The expeditious changes had made it become evident that Britain had not come to this position as it was a more gradual and sustained revolution than anticipated.
The industrial revolution had stimulated from various different factors, and as well as the UK’s comprehensive organisations were essential in enabling it to occur, this had mainly stemmed from the revolution of agriculture had enabled a surplus of food production as well as an increase in population. During this period, excess human capital was massively captivated to greater population regions in order to actively seek for better work and a better standard of living.
Britain was at a great advantage with having commodities such as coal, iron and other scarce resources. This ignited the revolution but also sustained it. Moreover, the expanding colonial empire further allocated a pre-existing market for surplus goods, giving further initiative to entrepreneurs and new manufactures.
There are three approaches in which three different historians, Allen, Mokyr and Clark offer contradicting explanations relating to the revolution. R C Allen issued a captivating argument in The British Industrial Revolution in Global Perspective that was deemed to be profound by historians. Britain had accomplished its success being the greatest market for industrialised goods. As a result to invest in the spinning jenny in Britain would have been advantageous. However, it did not have the simultaneous impact in France. As the English workforce was paid a higher wage rate than the labour force in France, implementing the use of the spinning jenny would have still been regarded as lucrative. Although, the American workforce was offered a high wage rate than those in Britain, they were not able to benefit due to there being no ignition of industrialisation
As stated by Mokyr that the Enlightenment in UK was at best situated to gain from the equipment and intellect of ideas during the era. There were also various European nations that profited, however, the UK was the sole country that acquired a satisfactory source of skilled labour that were able to create new innovations through entrepreneurship. Mokyr’s philosophy integrates various foundations that economists have acknowledged as imperative for economic expansion such as research and development and physical and human capital. Nonetheless Mokyr’s work implied that government legislation at the time deterred acts that would cause damage, such as revoking the Corn Laws and failure of controlling the railways successfully.
Gregory Clarke’s theory of reasoning was least successful than Mokyr. His theory stated that the changes caused demographically and genetically had then led to a rapid conversion of the Industrial Revolution. The significant argument in Clark’s justification is that the increase in birth rates of the upper classes predestined that their descendants shaped a progressively great part of the UK’s population. Consequently, the spread of their genetics and work ethic throughout the population fuelled the Industrial Revolution. His claim of this theory is provocative and statistics and data is used to further evaluate this idea. It was proven that the birth rates of the upper class were higher as opposed to the other divisions of the population. On the other hand, it is seen as questionable as this was also the case in China and other European countries yet Britain had obtained a more exclusive experience. Due to this debatable idea, Clark’s view on the rapid development of Britain remained unjustified due to failure of accounting the data.
France experienced a gradual and steady progression into industrialisation opposed to the UK and Belgium. As Britain was founding its industrial headship, France was submerged in its own process of revolution. Furthermore, unreliable political conditions prevented huge amounts of investment in manufacturing innovations. France was regarded as an industrial authority by 1848, although despite high levels of economic growth France persisted behind the UK.
Some countries in Europe had fallen behind due to the lack of power, wealth and opportunities in which the middle clad upheld as opposed to other European countries, such as Britain, France and Belgium. Another factor that had influence on limited industrial expansion was political circumstances. For example, Germany did not expand industrially until 1870 when after national unity was attained, despite having sufficient amounts of coal and iron resources. Once this had commenced, the industrial production had matured so precipitously in Germany that towards the end of the 19th century, the country had become ahead of Britain and was outproducing in steel. This then developed the nation and became the world leader in chemical industries. The upsurge of power attained by the United States in the 1800-1900’s had then went on to surpass the Europeans, with Japan later striking success, after joining the industrial revolution moreover.
The eastern European countries did not catch up until the early 1900’s. This was not until the Soviet Union became a significant industry in which it gained power through telescoping after Britain’s industrialisation. Following a more widened spread of the Industrialisation in the mid 1900’s into developing countries such as China and India that were not yet industrialised.
Despite the fact that Britain was the first to undertake the industrial revolution in the mid 1700’s, America did not follow and lagged behind with abundance of land and insufficient labour, due to the reduction in interest on affluent investment opportunities in the manufacturing of machinery. Though, with the transferral of products being manufactured from hand-made to machine work, it had created a new era of civilisation in which an increase in productivity and efficiency had begun, thus leading to higher standards of living in the new world in which we live in today.
- Allen, R. C., 2006. Nuffield Oxford. [Online]
- Available at: http://www.nuffield.ox.ac.uk/users/allen/unpublished/econinvent-3.pdf
- [Accessed 5 February 2020].
- Allen, R. (2009). Why England succeeded. In The British Industrial Revolution in Global Perspective (New Approaches to Economic and Social History, pp. 106-132). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
- Allen, R. C., 2011. Why the industrial revolution was British: commerce, induced invention, and the scientific revolution. The Economic History Review, 64(2), pp. 357-384.
- Hartwell, R. M., 1969. The Journal of Economic History. Economic Growth in England Before the Industrial Revolution: Some Methodological Issues, Volume 29, pp. 13-31.
- Zanden, J. L. v., 2009. The Long Road to the Industrial Revolution. 1 ed. Netherlands: Brill
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