Process of converting to a socioeconomic order in which industry is dominant. The changes that took place in Britain during the Industrial Revolution of the late 18th and 19th century led the way for the early industrializing nations of western Europe and North America. Industrialization entailed both technology and profound social developments. The freeing of labourers from feudal and customary obligations created a free market in labour, with a pivotal role for the entrepreneur. Cities attracted large numbers of people, massing workers in new industrial towns and factories. Later industrializers attempted to manipulate some of the elements: the Soviet Union eliminated the entrepreneur; Japan stimulated and sustained the entrepreneur's role; Denmark and New Zealand industrialized primarily by commercializing and mechanizing agriculture.
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Industrial society is characterized by the use of external energy sources, such as fossil fuels, to increase the rate and scale of production. The production of food is shifted to large commercial farms where the products of industry, such as combine harvesters and petrolium based fertilizers, are used to decrease required human labor while increasing production. No longer needed for the production of food, excess labor is moved into these factories where mechanization is utilized to further increase efficiency. As populations grow, and mechanization is further refined, often to the level of automation, many workers shift to expanding service industries.
Industrial society makes urbanization desirable, in part so that workers can be closer to centers of production, and the service industry can provide labor to workers and those that benefit financially from them, in exchange for a piece of production profits with which they can buy goods. This leads to the rise of very large cities and surrounding suburban areas with a high rate of economic activity.
These urban centers require the input of external energy sources in order to overcome the diminishing returns of agricultural consolidation, due partially to the lack of nearby arable land, associated transportation and storage costs, and are otherwise unsustainable. This makes the reliable availability of the needed energy resources high priority in industrial government policies.
Some theoreticians -- namely Ulrich Beck, Anthony Giddens and Manuel Castells -- argue that we are located in the middle of a transformation or transition from industrial societies to post-modern societies. The triggering technology for the change from an agricultural to an industrial organisation was steam power, allowing mass production and reducing the agricultural work necessary. Thus many industrial cities are built around rivers. Identified as catalyst or trigger for the transition to post-modern or informational society is global information technology.
Daniel Bell and the Post-Industrial Society: The Late Sociologist Was Best Known for Defining and Describing the New Era and Social Realities That Information Technologies Were Helping to Create in the Twentieth Century
May 01, 2011; Daniel Bell, who died January 26, 2011, at the age of 91, left a lasting legacy of imposing books analyzing the economic and...