What were the positive and negative effects of the Industrial Revolution?
The Industrial Revolution is a unique time period in history, in the undeniable way that it single-handedly formed much of the Western world we know today. Spreading across continental Europe and America from the 1760s until the 1840s, the Industrial Revolution is most commonly associated with English history, and in this answer I will be referring mostly to the positive and negative impacts the revolution had on England. However, it is often difficult to differentiate between what constitutes a positive or negative impact, as changes that heralded wealth and power for some came at the cost of suffering and starvation for others. Due to this, I will simply list some of the impacts of the Industrial Revolution, with some commentary on who benefited and who were damaged by these changes.
Industrialization: The inventions of steam power and automated or machinery-assisted manufacturing became widespread in the Industrial Revolution. This meant that companies were able to manufacture products at an unprecedented speed and cost. This was positive in that it created a wealthy business class of company owners who were often distinct from the aristocracy that had previously held much of England's wealth. However, this put workers into far more dangerous environments of moving machinery and noxious fumes without any of our later health and safety precautions, leading many to become injured and thereby lose their employment and potentially lives.
Urbanization: Industrialization, however, was not felt just in factories but in the fields as well. New agricultural inventions removed much of the need for manpower while increasing a field's yield. This was simultaneously positive, in that it provided more food for England's rapidly growing population, and negative, in that it left most farmers unemployed. Many whose families had tilled the earth for generations were forced to move into the city in search of work, swelling London's population to breaking point. We can still see the urbanization of the Industrial Revolution in almost every Western country to this date, yet the rapidity with which London grew meant that housing quickly became overcrowded and food often scarce. The influx of workers and the lack of unionization meant that workers also had little to no rights, as urbanization meant that supply quickly outweighed the demand for workers.
Decline of Pastoralism: The Industrial Revolution also gave rise to large cultural changes across Europe. Pre-industrial England, which had always relied on agriculture, was also culturally dominated by the countryside and the pastoralism it inspired. With the rise of the Industrial Revolution, much green landscape gave way to gray factories and overpopulated towns. Romanticism was a literary and artistic movement that attempted to reject this new urban landscape with a focus on the purity of the rural past and its bucolic simplicity. Karl Marx similarly wrote against the injustice and danger of the Industrial Revolution, holding that workers were being abused by their rich employers and encouraging the oppressed proletariat to rise up against this bourgeois class.