Industrial Revolution: what was it, causes, English pioneering

What was the Industrial Revolution?

According to historians, the RevolutionIndustrial it was a period of intense technological development, which allowed the development of industryModern and consolidated the capitalism as an economic model. The development of the industry was responsible for major changes in the process of production of goods and also in the work relationships that existed until then.

Technological development was pioneered in England and later spread to other parts of the world. It started from the development of the steam machine, officially founded by ThomasNewcomen in 1698 and improved by JamesWatt in 1765. The improvement of the steam engine consisted in reducing energy waste, making it more efficient.

Other important machines appeared in that period, mainly to support the textile industry (main area of ​​the English economy). Of these new machines, the most efficient was the water-frame, a loom that used energy generated by the force of water. This hydraulic loom was created by

Richardarrowwright and allowed the amount of threads in the fabrics to increase considerably compared to manual work.

Another important creation from this period was the roadsiniron, which, from the 1830s and 1840s, had a rapid growth throughout England. The railroads were largely financed from the profits generated by the development of the textile industry and brought as a great benefit the shortening of distances and the transport of more goods.

What were the big changes in labor relations and in the production of goods?

The Industrial Revolution initially brought major changes in the production process of goods, especially in the dressing room. The production process prior to that developed in the Industrial Revolution was the manufacturer, in which production took place in workshops, with specialized workers who performed the work manually.

From the Industrial Revolution onwards, the machinery, in which the production process is no longer carried out manually and started to be done by machines. The production process from the machines was carried out at a higher speed and it was necessary the use of only one worker, who did not need specialization, to manage the machine.

In the case of labor relations, the great impact of the Industrial Revolution was to promote the devaluation of the worker's salary. This is because, in the manufacturing process, the worker had specific qualifications to produce clothes, since production was entirely manual. With the use of machines, it was no longer necessary to hire specialized workers, as anyone could handle the machinery.

Thus wages plummeted across England, as shown below, which shows that the wages of artisans in Bolton dropped from 33 shillings in 1795 to approximately 6 shillings between 1829-1834|1|.

What explains England's pioneering spirit?

England's pioneering efforts in the technological development of the Industrial Revolution were the result of a number of factors. The first one was the success of glorious revolution, revolution led by the English bourgeoisie that resulted in the fall of the absolutism and in the installation of a parliamentary monarchy that served the economic interests of this bourgeoisie.

One of these measures was known as lawsFromenclosures, which consisted in the expulsion of peasants from their lands so that they could be turned into pastures and, thus, to expand the sheep-raising carried out by the English bourgeoisie. The expulsion of the peasants allowed the English bourgeoisie to increase the production of wool, a fundamental item for the English textile industry.

The Law of Enclosures, in addition to allowing an increase in wool production, made possible a large availability of labor. This labor was formed by peasants expelled from their land and who had no other alternative for survival than to sell their labor power in the textile industries.

The last relevant factor that helps us understand England's pioneering in the development of the Industrial Revolution was the abundant existence of mineral coal. This item was essential for machines at the time, since the fuel was exactly coal.

HOBSBAWM, Eric. The Age of Revolutions, 1789-1848. Rio de Janeiro: Paz e Terra, 2014, p. 79.

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