Describe how the second industrial revolution of the late nineteenth century differed from the first industrial revolution of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century?
The First and Second Industrial Revolutions - The role of Technology, Science and skilled Labour
One of the most turning points in the history of humankind is a dramatic change in the people’s life condition after the occurrence of industrial revolutions in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The industrial revolutions can be considered as the basis where technology and science, in addition to labour played tremendous role in development of modern life. This essay will discuss the notions of how these two factors differed from the 1st to 2nd industrial revolutions and what milestone changes happened in both revolutionary stages. Before beginning, the paper discusses in brief how and why both industries revolutions have become turning point of economic development. Then it will highlight on why Britain was the birthplace for first industrial revolution. After that, some economic issues related to both revolutions will be highlighted before the conclusion.
The Beginning of the industrial revolution caused a significant and unprecedented change in human history. The first industrial revolution occurred first in Britain during 18th century. Because of this revolution, a significant improvement happened in the manufacturing sector of the Great Britain. In addition to the manufacturing sector, the agricultural sector, mining sector, transport sector of Britain were also were benefitted as there occurred tremendous improvement, mainly technologically in these sectors. In this case, it is important to point out that, though the first improvement has occurred in the Great Britain, but with the passage of time, all these improvement spread out slowly throughout Europe and North America. This significant advance did not limit within the geographical boundaries of the Britain; rather it went beyond the boundaries and spread throughout the world within a short interval of time. The appearance of the industrial revolutions changed almost every aspects of daily life, which we have been experiencing at present. Hence, it is very clear that, the occurrence of industrial revolutions made significant changes in almost every industry (Stobaugh, 2012, p. 72).
A huge body of researches has considered both industrial revolutions as a cornerstone that successfully changed the condition of the humanity in terms of quality of life such as well-being, health welfare and human convenience (Heilbroner& Milberg, 2009, p.71). Since the18th century, the emerged inventions and scientific discoveries continued from first to second industrial revolution and these completely enhanced the standard of living (Shuie& Keller 2003, p.2). The accumulated effects of the two industrial revolutions led to significant development in working conditions, living conditions, urbanization, health and life expectancy, labour, income and modern life. All these improvement had caused a major and lasting effect to the present time (Heilbroner& Milberg, 2009, p.80).
In agriculture, for example, the Industrial Revolution in the 18th century gave rise to the demand for crops, as the population expanded rapidly. Moreover, new technologies, including tools, machinery, techniques and fertilizers developed quickly at that time. These in turn increased crop yields and agricultural productivity. This Progress in the agriculture productivity reduced risk of famine, resulted in healthier people, decreased death rate and increased food sources. All these improvement led to the increase in the population growth rate. (Cameron, 1993, p. 169).
One of most lasting features of the Industrial Revolution was the rise of urbanization. In pre-industrial society, over 80% of people lived in rural areas. As migrants moved from the countryside, small towns became large cities. In early 1850, over 50% of the entire population of Great Britain lived in either a town or a city instead of in a rural community. In fact, by 1850 many European cities were formed because of industrial growth.
The industrialization hugely raised the foreign trade and introduced mass production by moving manufacturing process away from cottage production process to large-scale factories. This Improvement in the existing technologies increased the efficiency of production.
In short, Industrial Revolutions created new economic and social atmosphere where people moved to cities and the availability of variety of goods and products increased. The first Industrial Revolution was the first step in the modern economic growth and development.
The emergence of the industrial revolution caused marvelous developments in science, agriculture, shipping and technology. These developments, mainly the technological improvement in turn increased the rate of productivity in manufacturing sector, commerce and foreign trade. In this context, it is important to point out that, during the industrial revolution, Britain was one of the significant technological player and an important centre of commerce and trade. Moreover, it is also important to note that, the economy of the Great Britain was the most beneficiary economy of these revolutions. The reason, the economy of this country experienced a very rapid growth and this economy became one of the rich countries in the world. For this reason, often Britain points out as the birthplace for the emergence of Industrial Revolution.
The Great Britain was considered as the birthplace of First Industrial revolution not only for the improvement of the economic growth rate but also for some political, economic and social factors. In addition, with these factors, this country has significant deposits of coal and iron ore. These reserves also helped to cause the enhancement of the industrial development in this economy and the emergence of industry revolutions.
Heilbroner & Milberg (2009, p. 62) explained the occurrence of the industrial revolution in Great Britain was the outcome of successful of exploration, slave trading, piracy, war and commerce. The main results of these revolutions were the transformation of Britain to the richest nation in the world economy. In this case, it is important to note that, during the time of industrial revolution, the reserves of mineral resources and the mercantilist economic system of this country played a significant role. The two factors helps this country provides necessary raw material to the cotton industry and other manufacturing sectors of Britain. It has been observed that, after the occurrence of the industrial revolution, the consumers’ preferences shift towards the use of different factory manufactured goods. This implies that, post-revolution period, the demand for the manufacturing good increased dramatically. This increment encouraged the British producers to make their production process more cost effective. This in turn leads to the mechanization and the factory system.
Geographical and natural aspects reinforced Britain to be the land of the first industrial revolution. An excess of navigable waters and streams in Britain, made transportation of raw materials and manufactured goods efficient and inexpensive. Moreover, the Agricultural Revolution in Britain had led to enhance production of foodstuffs, which substantially reduced the price of food. This consequently raised disposable income that used for manufactured items.
Politically, Britain (Heilbroner& Milberg, 2009) was a stable society, as well as the world’s leading colonial power. This meant its colonies could serve as a source for raw materials, as well as a marketplace for manufactured goods. It had a stable government and established banking system. This stability lent itself to industrial development as market enterprise and entrepreneurship were encouraged.
However, many literatures argue that there exists many views regarding industrial revolution in Britain. Crafts and Harley (1992, p.713) believed that first industrial revolution in Britain came because of technical change of some few industries. Temin (1997, p.80), on the other hand, pointed out that traditional school see that 'British economy and society' were the engine of industrial revolution. He affirmed that both distinct views joined the belief that Britain was the workshop of the world, not few factories of cotton. Furthermore, Sabel and Zeitlin (1985, p.168) claimed that during that time, Britain witnessed the emergence of new organizations of work led to 'flexible specialization' which was a significant feature of industrial revolution occurred in Britain. Moreover, Allan (2006, p. 1) claimed that the emergence of innovations that created factory textile of production, steam engine and interference of coal and coke in iron industries in Britain, formed 'the Britishness of industrial revolution'.
Hence it can be concluded that, the surrounded factors created a healthy atmosphere of a rise of ‘new men, producers, inventors, professional makers, industrial entrepreneur in Britain. This led to a rise of factory and widening the foreign trade that created industrial revolution (Heilbroner and Milberg 2009, p.63).
Technology and Science
Since 1750, world wealth (Beinhocker 2006, p. 101) has increased in "exponential way" as result of the huge economic growth sparked from the industrial revolution. Humbert (2007, p.4) initially referred the industrial revolution to the phenomenon of technology. The main difference between two industrial revolutions is that the first one was dependent on handcrafts and primitive technology while the Second was relied on developing technology that was based on the progress of science.
Technological change was the engine of Industrial Revolution (Allen 2011, p. 27). Science as well played a crucial role of the accelerating the industry and fueled the occurrence of revolution which later created economic advancement (Rosenberg and Birdzell 1986, p.). Nevertheless, a question comes to one’s mind about how the first and second industrial revolutions differ in terms of the role of technology and science in economic growth. Considerable body of research has implies the differences between the two revolutions.
Heilbroner& Milberg (2009, p.80) claimed that the burst of inventions during first revolution was a merely inauguration of transformation process that the world then continually accelerated up to the present time. In Britain, ‘the revolution largely concentrated in textile machinery, development of methods of coal production and iron manufacture, revolutionary agricultural techniques, and steam power’. The second industrial revolution considerably succeeded when brought tremendous enhancement to those achievements. By the mid-nineteenth century, the emergence of industrial inventions on steel was obvious example for it. Heilbroner& Milberg (2009, p.80) stated: 'The purest theoretical discoveries, the cumulative application of science and technology to the productive process were the great change of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries'.
Another important aspect of two industrial revolutions is that shift of the leadership between nations. However, since Britain was the first incubator of the 1st industrial revolution, therefore technological headship and development transformed to other countries in the Western World within a short interval of time; Germany is one of them. Mowery and Rosenberg (1989, p. 22) claimed that the time period 1859-1889 was one of the most successful period in terms of innovation in history. Scientific knowledge pushed into new technology and accelerated mutual and complementary relationship between them.
In addition to the huge extending of limited and localized successes achieved in the 1st industrial revolution, economies of scale changed due to the change of nature of organization and production in the 2ndrevolution. This change happened mainly because of expansion of manufacturing such as chemical industry and parts of technology. Emergence of giant corporations such as General Electric and Carnegie Steel (Mokyr 1998, p.2) considered as result of rise of demand for manufacturing products.
Research and Development (R&D) played a tremendous role specifically during second revolution in terms of transferring ideas into practice. Many inventions found solutions to their technical and scientific problems. Allan (2006, p.16) stated: 'R&D was the crux of inventions in the eighteenth century', pointed that crucial invention such as steam engine was required to substantial improvement and solve technical problems in order to perfect them.
R&D projects grew up since 18th century. It was strongly linked with three elements such as costs, finance and patenting. These three elements were representing an expense of R&D which later turned innovations from being abstract knowledge (science) into an economic activity (growth).Allan (2006, p.16) claims that R&D was key element of technical change advance in Britain. This made the investment profitable in Britain rather any elsewhere in Europe. Example given by Allan (2006) is coke smelting which was one of iconic inventions of industrial revolution that was so crucial for the production of cheap iron. This invention thus was so required for the railroad, metal steam ships, and general mechanical industries (p.16). However, this coke smelting was facing some problems at the time of developing market. The main reason behind this is it was more expensive than the charcoal iron. R&D program in this case, carried the duty to accomplish the development required through making thin-walled castings.
Technology progress resulted from R&D and other factors raised many issues of hot debate between economic historians. The idea of applying technology for making money was one of those issues. This was an interesting question raised by Allan (2006, p.3) when he assumed that technology was invented by people in order to make money. Four implications made by him in his paper to prove this idea. First, inventions burdened costs that supposed to be offset by investment and profits gained to recap costs that used for new products, inputs and the discoveries process. Labor wages were high and energy was cheap thus investors tended to invent machine in order to substitute for labor. Second, profits and costs of technological inventions could be balanced for a country like Britain due to huge market scale, which was much larger than anywhere else was particularly; for example mining industry in eighteenth century. Third, patents opened new horizon for inventors to achieve gains and increase return. Allan (2006, p.3) agreed that explanation of the inventions in the eighteenth created greater incentive and encouraged for more innovating. Fourth, as consequence of absence of patents firms tended to allocate allowances and reduced the gains for investing in learning from each other.
North and Thomas (1973, p.8) have focused on the property rights and knowledge of technology transfer. They argued that these two were aspects of second industrial revolution that accelerated economic growth and enlarged establishment of organizations and firms. In addition to legal factor (property rights), regulations of markets and social and political structure (Parliament) changes were also factors ignited investment that contributed to the first industrial revolution in Britain (North and Weingast 1989, p. 831).
What was the role of science, specialized knowledge and institutions in the creation of important technologies during British industrialization? Before starting, it is vital to point that German took the lead for the second revolution, specifically in terms of scientific knowledge. Science was vastly enhanced and empirically developed during that time. Great path-breaking inventions happened in material, chemicals and medicine. These inventions impacted particularly in the field of motivating research and development in micro-inventive activity (Mokyr, 1998, p.1). He indicates that technology and its developments in the 1st revolution was based on little or no scientific base; ‘it created a chemical industry with no chemistry, an iron industry without metallurgy, power machinery without thermodynamics’. Before 1850, engineering, medical technology, and agriculture were, as Mokyr described ‘pragmatic bodies of applied knowledge’.
The second revolution witnessed science demonstration of knowing how things work and thus research rapidly progressed in related fields such as chemistry. During this industrial revolution, science was strongly based on the relationship with technology in order to progress new technological development. Reversely, science took the feedback from the progress of new instrument and equipment enhanced in a way of registering facts, observations, regularities and test hypotheses (Mokyr, 1998, p.2).
So, relationship between science and industrial revolution would be clearly understood through the idea that the second industrial revolution created healthy environment for a 'culture of science' which, in turn, led to new discoveries and more inventions of industrial revolution (Allan, 2006, p.13). It witnessed the transferable role of science from purely knowledge to be experimental and more useful for the progress of industrialization and development of economic growth.
The development of science was the fuel of the progress of technology that rapidly improved productivity. It also contributed in changes of product quality and improvements of micro- inventions. In context of chemicals, German Dye was obvious example of transforming science from knowledge and primitive usage to sophisticated industries and be important element for industrialization process. Importance of science became both as input of production process and operating fuel for technology.
German Dye is considered as one of the most important chemistry improvements that proved the scientific success in the field of contribution to the industrialization process. According to Meyer-Thurow (1982, p.367), the interest of organic dye chemistry started in 1860 and it achieved scientific and technological breakthroughs during 1870. Adolf Von Maeyer, German chemist and professor at University of Munch, heavily contributed to the dye industry by successfully synthesizing 'Indigo'. The stuff is used for coloring clothes. This success of Maeyer came after many years of experiments and investigation and ended up to countless of dye products. However, other countries like Britain (1957), France (1858) and Switzerland (1959) started at almost the same time. German synthetic Dye industry 'is often referred to first science based industry...that led directly to a new commercial product, and the industry set up in the same place where industrial R&D labs were created for the first time in the 1870s' (Murmann and Homburg, 2001, p.178). Research and studies by chemists on dye continued to discover that intermediates stuff used to produce dye can be used as well to manufacture pharmaceutical products (Meyer-Thurow, 1982, p.367).
The labour and profession
Previous discussion about the role of technology and science in the economic activities during the two industrial revolutions necessarily leads to another correlated issue; that is about the profession and specialized skills and the changes occurred between the stages of the revolutions.
One of most noticeable aspects when comparing between first and second industrial revolutions in terms of labor and professions is that second revolution was relied on skilful and trained labor to deal with new development of mechanics, engineering, assembly lines, production process. Yet, pressures were existed constraining labor to be educated or skillfully trained such as The Scientific of Management by Taylor (1911).
Taylorism and Skilled worker
Since the firms and factories became large and giant because of massive development of industry caused by the two industrial revolutions, Taylor's philosophy of management existed. Taylorism concepts were adopted widely by firms in the different part of the world particularly in USA for increasing productivity. Worker extensively worked more hours but the pay increment did not match the level of productivity (Locke 1882, p.20). This was one of the struggles and pressures of The Scientific Management Approach by Taylor (1911) on labor.
Taylorism was basically aimed to improve labor productivity through analyzing the workflow processes in scientific way (Taylor 1919, p.14). However scientific management theory was widely recognized in the field of management and thus Taylor was considered the first in history who seriously studied management (Drucker, 1976, p.26), negative effects on workforce including labour exploitation, restraining individual preferences, compacting any worker's initiative and a struggle with labour unions (Locke,1982, p.20).
Taylorism can simply be abused by research to eliminate labor skills and educations development in order to make the labor more acquiescence to bosses’ demand (Locke, 1982, p. 17). In addition, the emphasis of the scientific management pointed that worker should not learn their skills from more experienced worker, but from management expert as they more familiar with the job. Based on Taylorism, group work was not much preferable and individual is more practical. According to Dean (2013, p. 107), Taylor’s concern of fairness to workers was predominated by the goal of doubling productivity and maximizing profits which in turn caused to pay inequality specifically during the second industrial revolution.
Morgan (2006, p.16) indicates that the objective of the theory of scientific management was ‘to improve the efficiency of organizations during the Industrial Revolution by reducing the discretion of workers, introducing task specialization and standardizing parts and material’. But Taylorism’s theory caused ‘a dehumanizing effect on employees’ when labour reduced to automatons pointing out that ‘workers were employed cheap labour instead of being thinkers, thus becoming impersonal objects’ (Morgan 2006, p. 27-28). Dean (2013, p.106) states that Taylor’s recommendations of training and skills learning tend to be for the sake of high management (managers) over employees who were confined to be trained on specific systemized tasks.
Hobsbawm (1962, p.206) claims that industrialization period brought misery to workers before 1844. He focused on growing of inequality and increasing gap between rich and poor highlighting long time of daily work in factories. Hobsbawm described this type of exploitation as slavery with wages that barely survived them, at least until 1840. In his book ‘The Age of Revolution 1789-1848’ indicated that labour spent 15 working hours a day particularly during the beginning of industrial revolution. On the controversy, Thompson was an optimist in his book ‘The Making of the English Working Class’ which attempted statistically to show an increase of standard of living for labour force.
Wages and Labor: influences
The relationship between Wages and education (professions) was one of the significant aspects when comparing between first and second industrial revolutions. Mokyr (1998, p.2) claims that the rise of mass production industries and giant corporations led to the huge employment labor force that were specialized. Allan (2006, p. 2) asserts that the education which featured British country specifically literacy and numeracy in eighteenth century, highly contributed to technological achievements and pushed for an increase of labor wages. He (2011, p. 26) indicated that expansion of commerce and manufacturing increased the demand for education by making it economically valuable; parents were provided with the money by governments to pay for schooling their children.
On other hand, ongoing development of technology was threatening factor on labor and unemployment. In this regard, Humbert (2007, p.9) points out that Marx’s argument critics was mainly on producer’s objective to reduce labor cost and displace workers with capital equipment to over control means of production. Engels (1964, p.76) noticed that since British industrial revolution machinery development led to unemployment and wage reductions affirming that decreasing income was more stressed on low-skilled workforce.
From a different aspect, Auerbach (2016) focused on education as a process of making skilful workforce, pointing that at present, educated labor is considered to be 'the key to attracting investment, .. with educational policy playing a central role in regulating long run economic growth and income distribution' (chapter 6). In relation to first industrial revolution, Auerback (2016) points out those famous inventors at that time such as James Watt and George Stephenson, preferred artisan workers. During this revolution, the idea of merging practical knowledge with scientific literacy was widely accepted by innovators.
Auerback (2016) indicates that the industrial revolutions took place when new structure imposed by inventor elite that required skilled workforce. Britain was able, based on industrial enlighten view, to create a large and effective class of skilled labor with high quality of artisanship and workmanship that helped to spark the industrial revolution. He points out that with an increasing of cotton mills and later railways skilled workers reunion in groups giving example of United States of America. Arueback indicates that USA was deeply thrust in late nineteenth and early twentieth century’s for skilful labor (e.g. technical specialist etc...) to fulfill the need of its huge developing economy.
'In situ' (Latino term means 'on site' or 'in position') skills played effective role in terms of economic growth, Aruerback (2016) highlights Alfred Chandler's view of railroad impact for the second industrial revolution in USA which needed to very professional people in terms of railroad engineering to management challenges such as timetabling and coordination. In other word, In situ range of skills heavily contributed to the huge industry like railroad in USA and clearly proved the importance of skilled workers effects on the economy development (Auerback, 2016).
From the above discussion, it can be said that as a conclusion that, the second industrial revolution was the normal evolution of the first revolution which witnessed tremendous jump in terms of technology, science and labour professions. Economic effects heavily contributed to the improvement of people’s life.
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