Monday, July 28, 2014

Economic Impact of Industrial Revolution

The impact of the Industrial Revolution on Britain and some other countries of western Europe like France, Belgium, Holland and Germany was overwhelming. Of course, It was Britain that derived the maximum benefit from the revolution. She became the richest nation in the world. Due to the mass production of goods in factories, the output enhanced by 10 to 15 times in various industries from 1770 to 1820.

The British manufactures found maximum access to every part of the world. Britain exports rose 20 times from 1770 to 1820 in terms of both quantity and value. Her status as the leading exporting country continued throughout the 19th century. Moreover, it were mainly the British ships that carried her exports worldwide and this gave a tremendous boost to her shipping as well as ship-building industry. She became the mistress of the seas, and her dominance over Asian sea power and merchant marine nation remained till the World War I.
The Industrial Revolution marked the advent of ‘laissez faire’ as the new set of principle that would guide the European economy, and spread their rentacles in other parts of the world. The economy passed from the stage of MERCANTILE CAPITALISM to that of INDUSTRIAL or FREE TRADE CAPITALISM. Free trade, free market, and free enterprise became the gospel of the advocates of new economic order. Individual’s role in trade, commerce and industry was stressed, and the lease of state monopoly, state control, bullion-ism and tariff barriers were rejected. Thus, it headed the triumph of the theories enunciated by Adam Smith, Ricardo and John Stuart Mill.

There were significant demographic changes too, we must note it again that increase in population was not a result, but a cause of the revolution which we have already noted. Of course, some demographic changes did occur. More and more people began to shift to industrial, mining and port towns for a living. Rural peasantry flocked to such towns and turned into urban proletariat. This trend of migration resulted in the increase in population of London. Manchester, Birmingham, Liverpool, Bristol, Leeds, Edinburgh, Glasgow and other places. The industrial changes resulted in the massing of people in the coal and iron regions of the north, of South Wales and the Midlands which had been sparsely populated earlier. The trend begun by the Industrial Revolution, continued with increasing momentum in the 19th and 20th centuries resulting in 75% of people living in urban areas, while only 25% live in rural areas.

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