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Cases of Child Labor During the Industrial Revolution

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Revolution, the reformation of an existing constitution, has taken place throughout humankind’s history and varies enormously in terms of strategies, durations, and beliefs. One of the revolutions that created major modifications in human history was the Industrial Revolution. The Industrial Revolution was the progression to new manufacturing processes. It started in Great Britain and then expanded from Britain to other European countries and the United States. During the revolution, production of the necessities of life began to be processed by powerful machinery from 1750 to 1850. Technologies like steam engines, electric generators, telegraph, etc. made the revolution possible and increased the improvements of science. Therefore, the Industrial Revolution helped in forming the modern world. The modern industrial revolution evokes automation of manufacturing processes and robotic technologies through artificial intelligence. This indicates that. machines will operate cooperatively with humans. Therefore, there are similarities between the past Industrial Revolution and the modern Industrial Revolution in terms of workforces, societal changes, and further action led by the social tensions.

Industrial Revolutions increased production enormously, also increased wealth and power. This massive revolution affected the working conditions of common people. People developed new machines to generate items, instead of manufacturing by hand and this has led to significantly reduced prices for production. (More, 2006, p .3) As factories began to multiply, they created job opportunities and also offered innovations to be developed. However, there was a clear class conflict; the factory owners’ only aim was to increase profits while the working class was viewed as a machine piece (Foster, 2005, p. 120-126). Moreover, inside the industries, the atmosphere was poisonous and unhealthy. For example, coal burning, metallic goods production, using basic chemicals created enormous air pollution. However, women’s employment progressed at factories in 1850 (Lewis, 2019). Likewise, technological advances are producing dramatic changes in the industrial lives of employees today. The use of artificial intelligence, robotics, and automation in industries may make it possible to have quick and effective methods to produce products of better quality at lower prices. Robots are developing to be even more useful by becoming better adaptable, more autonomous, and collaborative (Waters and Bradshaw, 2016). They can eventually interact and work for hand in hand with humans efficiently (Gerbert, Lorenz, et al., 2015). The absolute omission of emotion will lead the artificial intelligence of robotics to take all the decisions entirely realistically (Waters and Bradshaw, 2016). Besides, industrial automation can also add improved safety, lessen working weeks, and decreased processing times in the factory. With all the aforementioned impacts, the state of the workforces can progress highly at the time of Industrial Revolutions.

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Not only in the economic status, but Industrial Revolution’s developments also brought major societal changes to people. The past revolution changed traditional economic structures that gradually bred the capitalist economic system (Kaldor, 1977, p. 193). But according to Wallerstein (1975), capitalism also formed a clear system of classes. The top class of the society was the upper class and they were wealthy and owned the factories. The lower class were the workers, who had a little amount of money and rarely had property. Jobs were unstable for them as there were always more laborers to replace the old workers (p. 367–375). The revolution caused increasing population and urbanization, as numerous people moved to cities for employment. 14% of people used to live in British towns at the time of 1830 and the number increased three times at 1900 (Wyatt, 2009, p. 62). Therefore, slums grew and the working classes had to live in congested environments with minimum ease and safety. Furthermore, to support the family, poor children often worked full-time jobs during the Industrial Revolution and this practice of child labor continued throughout much of the Industrial Revolution period (More, 2006, p. 51-57). Moreover, Industrialized nations got the ability to develop large armies, navies, air forces, and many destructively evolved weapons which was a threat for the nonindustrialized nations (Grant, 2016, p. 225). The modern industrial revolution can create vital societal changes too. As the world is dealing with a shortfall of skilled workers (Schumann, 2018), automation can lessen the insufficiency of qualified labor. So, there is a huge possibility where human jobs will be replaced by machines which can produce massive unemployment in nations. The office workers will be allowed to control and process an amount of information that was previously unimaginable (Harsh, 2016). Moreover, developed nations may create a strong individualism economy system through these technological advances which can ultimately generate more prosperity for developed states and less for developing or undeveloped states. According to Baldwin (2019), “Not all of us are equally good at social cognition, just as we aren’t all equally good at algebra. But as it turns out, computers are much better at algebra than they are at social cognition, this provides an edge that will allow humans to stay competitive in jobs that involved social interaction” (p. 238). So there have been debates going on either robot will take away human employments or they will only make a sustainable world. So the impact of Industrial Revolutions on society is controversial.

The starting of new technologies has also been reforming people’s reflection tremendously. At the time of the past industrial revolution, labor union groups started to fight for the improvement of the working conditions. It all started with labor named John Doherty who used to seek better pay and conditions in industries and he led the way of unions where people started to join with the risk of losing jobs and imprisonment (Kelly, 2013). They had nearly one million supporters by 1875 (Kelly, 2013). Many unions accomplished their objectives by urging the government to take steps on various aspects of factory work in setting laws, such as the British parliament passed Factory Act and made major legislation to limit child labor in the 1800s (Evans, 2016). Therefore, because of the labor revolt, people in the 1800s succeeded to establish that, children were too young to work and they should rather focus on education. In the decades that followed, labor unions are still playing a vital role in today’s world. They are still taking action collectively for the improvement of their lives. They are continuously providing workers a voice and giving means to gain security in the factories. But the labor activists in the modern world got the involvement of political power either positively or negatively. For example, The American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL CIO) offers a great deal with the politicians and get them focused on the working issues (Mort, 2000, p. 101). On the other hand, an investigation in Myanmar found that there is discrimination happening to the leaders of labor unions and they are getting fired for labor activity ( Htoon, et al., 2019). Also, if the robots take place of the laborers in industries, there is a high chance of a massive revolt by the labor unions as the labor unions are actively showing their enthusiasm for better job security in workplaces. So all the merits and demerits, the denoted activists have the higher possibility to create the next monumental transformation within workforces.

With all the positive and negative impacts, industrialization has opened up all the possibilities for a progressive, faster, cheaper, stronger world. The mountainous movements of the Industrial Revolution changed the shape of the manufacturing process and daily lives. Similarly, artificial intelligence, robotics, and industrial automation are creating a gigantic transition in the modern world regarding the business field to society.  

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