Industrialization And Poverty In The Beginning Of The Industrial Revolution

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Since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution in England, many historians and economists, such as David Ricardo, Thomas Malthus, Karl Marx and other contemporary thinkers tried to figure out how to improve living standards of the working poor in a capitalist Industrial system. Though there are some disagreements about the effects of Industrialization on living conditions, it is safe to say that the industrial revolution was made possible through the sacrifice, dehumanization and sufferings of the working class. The introduction of machinery into the production process changed the traditional lifestyles of laborers. With the new factory systems, workers became more specialized, and lived by the clock without having the freedom to decide when …show more content…
Such argument is evident in the theory of population. In his famous population theory, Malthus believed that population will always increase geometrically whenever wealth and income of everyone in the society increased, especially for poor families. This meant that the size of the population will exceed food supply, thereby leading to starvation, which is one of the population checks that he discussed in his theory. He was struck by the high rate of reproduction in England. Malthus noticed that poor families have a tendency to have more children during period of economic improvements such as the Industrial Revolution, which suddenly lowers the average living standard of working class to bare subsistence living. Malthus believed that the cause of low living standard in England during economic growth was the overproduction of babies mostly by poor families, the inability of food supplies to keep up with population growth, and irresponsibility of the poor such as early marriage, and the lack of “sexual and moral restraint.” Compared to the wealthy class, Malthus believed that the poor had a weak moral and sexual character. Moral character meant that the poor “squandered every penny they received above their subsistence on drinking, gaming, and debauchery,” while the rich accumulated capital and saved. From this argument, Malthus emphasized how poverty is inevitable and would always emerge in capitalism because some people are morally strong, while other are inferior. Given Malthus’s view on the effect of population growth on living standards of the poor, he vehemently opposed the Poor Law because he thought that any relief to the poor had a tendency to increase population without increasing food supply and that it diminished the food supply available to the more industrious

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