What are the long term consequences of the Industrial Revolution?
The first consequence of the Industrial Revolution, as is apparent from its name, was industrialization. This means that many processes which in the past had been done by hand began to be performed by machines. Over the long term, this meant an industrial and technological transformation of advanced nations. For example, in transportation, railways supplanted horse-drawn stagecoaches and steam-powered boats were faster and more reliable than ones reliant on wind. Fabric was made by machines rather than by hand. Machinery and new patterns of planting made agriculture far more efficient. All of this meant a huge surge in prosperity and productivity as well as population.
Another major consequence of the Industrial Revolution was urbanization, with workers flocking from the countryside to the vast new manufacturing towns. This carried with it the creation of industrial slums.
Economically, the Industrial Revolution led to the rise of the bourgeoisie, with the new fortunes made in manufacturing creating a nexus of wealth and power independent of the old, land-owning aristocracy. Politically, this led to the growth of "liberalism" (in the English rather than American sense), meaning a position dedicated to a free market economy, minimization of government regulation, and generally an increase in personal freedoms.
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