Positive and Negative Effects of the Industrial Revolution
The Industrial Revolution resulted in more efficient production processes, cheaper goods, increases in job opportunities and improved quality of life. On the other hand, the Industrial Revolution encouraged environmental pollution, poor working conditions and a decline in agriculture.
Positive Effects of the Industrial Revolution The Industrial Revolution led to inventions of new machinery and production processes. Such new inventions made production faster and more economical. For example, the invention of the assembly line helped to make production easier through division of labor and specialization. Due to the more efficient production processes, industries were able to manufacture more products at an economical rate. This resulted in an overall drop in the prices of products. For example, mechanization of production processes enabled 24-hour factory operation and thus the manufacture of more products.
In the Industrial Revolution period, society in general developed a thirst for knowledge and innovation. Renowned scholars carried out research in different scientific fields, resulting in new scientific proofs and inventions. These inventions are still used today in the fields of medicine, science and agriculture with minor improvisations. For example, the light bulb, the X-ray and the telephone were all invented during the Industrial Revolution. The Industrial Revolution paved the way for new inventions and designs. This led to an increase in the number of new factories and associated industries. Hence, more job opportunities were opened up in urban areas.
Because more people had access to jobs and business opportunities, overall quality of life increased. In this regard, larger populations of society could access quality education, modern housing, improved health services and faster transport services.
Negative Effects of the Industrial Revolution An increase in the number of factories in urban areas resulted in more air, water and land pollution. These industries operated without much government oversight and were not held accountable for their actions. Pollution exposed factory workers and the general population to health risks. Although companies work to reduce it, industrial pollution is still a major problem in the modern world. During the Industrial Revolution, factories and other employers were more profit oriented at the expense of employee safety and welfare. In this regard, it was not uncommon for employees to suffer serious but preventable accidents while on the production lines.
The Industrial Revolution caused mass migrations from rural areas to cities as people were in search of better jobs. The reduced labor workforce in rural areas could not sustain the demand for food coming from the local populations. In this regard, there was a perennial shortage of food due to reduced farming activities. The migration of people from rural areas to urban areas caused an oversupply of labor in some cities. Such an oversupply of labor prompted some employers to pay their employees low wages. In addition, employers exploited cheap child labor in order to maximize their profits. Even though the general population experienced improvements in its quality of life, some uneducated factory laborers lived in crowded slums with no basic amenities such as clean water. This resulted in the occasional outbreak of sanitation-related diseases.