Discuss how the Industrial Revolution could be seen as a curse.

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I would probably suggest that Dickens' notion of "the best of times" and "the worst of times" would be applicable here.  I think that the industrial revolution could be seen as a curse in that it increased the proliferation of unchecked capitalism.  It seems to me that your analysis about potential side effects of the Industrial Revolution which could be seen as curses would have to move on the Marx read of capitalism.  In this vision, capitalism is seen as a "runaway train" that is driven by more greed, greater profit, and an unrelenting pursuit of both where human beings are used as means to ends, as opposed to ends in of themselves.  I think that this becomes critical in assessing the Industrial Revolution as something of a curse.  In this, one would have to point out how greater urbanization created greater sanitation challenges in cities, more in way of pollution, and more in terms of consolidation of population, thereby making it easier to control.  I think that the critique of the Industrial Revolution would also have to bring out how occupational safety was discarded in way of profit and that how workers' rights only became a concern well after the Industrial Revolution.  These are areas where I think that the "best of times" in the Industrial Revolution can be contrasted with elements that would certainly constitute as a curse, or "the worst" in times.


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