How did industrialization change society?

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Industrialization changed society in many ways. This response will focus on four of these many changes.

First, industrialization changed the nature of work for most people, especially skilled craftsmen. The production of goods that had formerly been performed from start to completion by people who had been trained for many years gave way to a regimented division of labor. Production was broken into small tasks, each of which could be completed with relatively little expertise. The use of machinery in many industries accelerated this result. 

Second, workers who had formerly sold the products of their labor now sold their labor itself. This meant that they were paid for their time, rather than the tasks they performed. As a result, the worklives of many people became far more disciplined, with factory owners and supervisors closely monitoring workers to ensure that they spent their workdays actually working. This new, tighter work-discipline was often accompanied by poor and even dangerous working conditions. 

Third, as production became more and more dependent on machinery and shifted to large-scale production in factories, it became more capital-intensive. In other words, it cost more money to produce things, which encouraged the rise of big businesses and the development of new and more complex business models, like corporations and trusts, that could raise the capital necessary to produce goods competitively. It also led to the accumulation of wealth in the hands of a relatively small group of business owners. 

Finally, the rise of industry led to rapid urbanization. Workers moved, in short, where the jobs were, and they were located in both older urban areas, like London in Great Britain and New York in the United States, and newer ones that developed with the rise of industry, like Manchester and Chicago. Urbanization included a whole array of social problems, like poverty, crime, and overcrowding. 

 

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