Sarat Chandra IAS Academy

UPSC Civils Daily Mains Question 18th May-2021

The events in England before 1750 set such conditions, which were favorable towards the Industrial Revolution. Illustrate.

The Industrial Revolution began in England in the late 18th century, and spread during the 19th century to Belgium, Germany, Northern France, the United States, and Japan. Almost all areas of the world felt the effects of the Industrial Revolution because it divided the world into “have” and “have not” countries, with many of the latter being controlled by the former. England’s lead in the Industrial Revolution translated into economic prowess and political power that allowed colonization of other lands, eventually building a worldwide British Empire.

Yes, the events in England before 1750 set such conditions, which were favourable towards Industrial Revolution. The rise of capitalism after the end of Feudalism was crucial for Industrial Revolution. This was so because with capitalism came the desire to make more monetary profits, which could be achieved by developing new ways to produce more goods at lower costs. There was demand for manufactured goods due to the new ways of life in the growing towns and cities. The village people were migrating to towns as workers for industrial production. This gave a thrust to the quest for new ideas that could increase industrial efficiency. The Renaissance & Reformation with focus on power of reason had already made a psychological impact on the people to set out in quest for new ideas. Furthermore, the society in England had moved towards democracy (Glorious Revolution 1688), which allowed greater freedom of thoughts. The accumulation of money from trade with the rest of the world ensured that there was money available for reinvestment for capital formation and for funding the activities of innovators. Geography also played a role. Because of being an island, England had a natural barrier to protect it from the invasions. Unlike France and Germany, England had natural frontier, which allowed it to enjoy a degree of peace. This made the rulers more pro-democracy as they felt lesser need to be coercive as they were secure from external security threats. Britain had very good natural harbours which allowed it to develop sea-ports. Thus, it benefited from the profits of sea-trade. England was rich in natural resources like coal and iron. It also had very good natural network of tributaries of rivers. These rivers were easily navigable, which allowed cheaper transport of goods and raw materials.

Industrialization greatly increased the economic, military, and political strength of the societies that embraced it. By and large, the countries that benefited from industrialization were the ones that had the necessary components of land, labor and capital, and often government support. However, even though many other countries tried to industrialize, few had much success. For example, India tried to develop jute and steel industries, but the entrepreneurs failed because they had no government support and little investment capital. An international division of labor resulted: people in industrialized countries produced manufactured products, and people in less industrialized countries produced the raw materials necessary for that production. Industrial England, for example, needed cotton, so turned to India, Egypt, and the American south to produce it for them. In many cases this division of labor led to colonization of the non-industrialized areas. As industrialization increased, more iron and coal were needed, as well as other fibers for the textile industry, and the British Empire grew rapidly in order to meet these demands.

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