Sunday, January 25, 2009
What was so "revolutionary" about the Industrial Revolution?
Today, we measure a country's progress and value to the world economy in general in part by its level of industrialization, because in today's world it is very difficult for a nation to ensure the quality of life for its citizens that an industrialized country can provide. The Industrial Revolution itself was not revolutionary in the sense of BAM! Modern Progress! but more in the sense that it was a breaking out (albeit over time) from the older, accepted modes of production to the mechanized version which moved the world further down the path of consumptive leisure (meaning that we spend our leisure time using things others produce as opposed to finding something free to do), which is a necessary part of a capitalistic world. The dramatic change occurred when the world moved away from domestic production to making things with machines. Which, considering the moral dilemmas managers must have faced (or at least been presented with by established institutions), was pretty revolutionary.