How Did Capitalism Change During the Industrial Revolution?


During the Industrial Revolution, capitalism transitioned from a feudal and agricultural system of production to one dominated by machines and equipment. The Industrial Revolution saw the sudden, sharp rise of the manufacturing, industrial and production sectors of the economy, which facilitated a rise in economic revenue.

The capitalist system that began during the Industrial Revolution is one of the most effective and efficient methods of production in human history. In the decades and centuries following the Industrial Revolution, the effects of tools, machinery and the ability to increase output and efficiency have spread worldwide.

Prior to the Industrial Revolution, agriculture was the primary form of capitalism. Small markets and farms were economic drivers. These forms of commerce were ideal for supporting and sustaining small families and communities, but it was the introduction of sophisticated tools and equipment that enabled nations to create vibrant central economies. Among the key technological developments during the Industrial Revolution was the ability to mass-manufacture items, such as food, clothing and shelter, which were previously only produced on small scales, and used to support individual families rather than provide a source of revenue. The expansion of capitalism during the Industrial Revolution also planted the seeds for international trade and commerce.