Effects 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 …show more content…
In his theory of Comparative Advantage and International Trade, he argued consistently that free international trade could benefit the working poor because trade would lower the price of commodities, thereby increasing aggregate demand and rate of profits for capitalist. His stance of free trade is evident when he opposed the Corn Laws, which imposed restriction on imported grains. Ricardo viewed the Corn law as a mean to redistribute profit from the capitalist to the landlords, and diminishing demand. He stated that “the interest of the landlords is always opposed to that of the consumer and manufacturer..” As a result, he argued for free trade, which would lower food prices thereby increasing living

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