The notion that industrialization stands for a way out for individuals with low income has been a controversial issue for several years. The supporters of the ideas base their argument on the fact that the industry does not only reduce underemployment and unemployment problems, but also strive to better the social and economic welfare of people. These solid arguments have sparked the imaginations of people in action as well as leadership roles at all levels, ranging from the insignificant local community to the whole nation at large. Osborne and Bertrand perpetuates that for any given community, the industrial effects are prone to impact significantly, either positively or negatively. While the positive side is concerned with the betterment of human life, the negative impact of industries may be detrimental to the people as well as the environment they inhabit. Such impacts are global and revolve around environmental, cultural, political and economic issues. The study reported here is an effort of determining and evaluating the industrial impacts on local communities from a cultural, social and political point of view (1-2).
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Following the industrial revolution way back in the eighteenth century, the social setting of the community has changed immensely. Prior to this renaissance, majority of individuals stayed in villages which were very small and from where they engaged themselves in activities such as farming and crafts work (Gospel and Palmer 14). They worked and lived as families and everything was manually conducted. It is estimated that, before the emergence of industries 75% of the population in the United States were residing in upcountry taking part in cultivation. However, when industries came into the limelight the mode of livelihood changed. One such drastic change involved the introduction of new laws that left several people stranded. This automatically forced them to go look for jobs in the newly built industries. In order to secure a job in an industry one had to move close to them thus many had to move and stay in towns. It is therefore quite conspicuous that one of the social effects originating from industries is the effect on the family with respect to living styles and displacement (23).
In addition, industries are prone to cause a disruption of the cultural setting of the society. In many societies, it was the work of the man to provide for his family. The family in this case is the woman and the children. The women in the traditional setting were known to remain at home and look after the family. On the coming of industries, the cultural setting was drastically changed. Many women and children started working in the industries. The reason why many industries preferred to have women and children employees is because they were easy to manage and they could easily accept taking little salaries. In addition, they could easily be manipulated to work for many hours without being added anything on the top (38).
Socially, not everything that originates from the industries is negative. Several households have benefited from an elevated standard of living. The industries has provided the workers with opportunity to earn lucrative salaries instead of depending on convectional economic activities such farming and herding of cattle. Several studies carried out have revealed that with the emergence of industries the poverty rate has drastically reduced. In addition, child labor - related cases have substantially condensed due to industrial related government policies (Cipolla, 30).
Industrialization has impacted the political arena positively through the upsurge of workers union formed to advocate for better collective bargaining packages as well as the right of workers. When workers are annoyed at their employers due to little wages and harsh working conditions, it is the obligation of the union to ensure that employees' rights have been observed. For instance, there might be a case where qualified and experienced employees are laid off and replaced with inexperienced ones. If not well taken care of, the government comes in to protect its citizen and the situation can even be politicized to look very serious. These political effects of industries on the society can sometimes lead to most of the workers loosing their jobs or serving prison sentences due to the damages which are caused by workers anytime there is violence in industries (33).
Furthermore, the existence of industries has propagated the enactment of several policies concerned with workers welfare. Originally, when the industries were being set up, workers used to work for long period of time. This made the government realize the essence of putting up policies that governs such issues. For example, in Britain, many workers organized strikes due to poor working conditions, and the authority had to come on board and address the issue. This foresaw the implementation of the first act which reduced the number of working hours in a day for fifteen to twelve. Along the same line is that people were not allowed to work at night. The industries were also required to provide education to their employees' children. In addition, the enacted acts also required that all industries had to provide proper ventilation to allow good working conditions (48).
According to O'Brien & Quinault, industries affect the culture of many societies in several ways. For instance, workers residing up country where social there are no scarcities in social amenities such as housing are forced to dramatically change their way of living. In the African context, you will experience that a man and his wife culturally expected to have his own house separate from the children. This is meant to portray some respect as well as according privacy to the head of the house. However, such privacy and seclusion is often withdrawn when the families move from upcountry to industrialized areas - where housing is scarce - in search of employment, thereby neglecting what used to be the norm. The man and his family are forced to squeeze in the small houses which do not offer privacy (222).
Traditionally, the man was regarded as the sole bread-winner to the family. This implied that women had to stay back at home, performing daily house chores as well as looking after the children. Currently, women are competing for job opportunities with their male counterparts all due to the emergence and upsurge of industries. The prevalent, increased cost of living has compelled women towards seeking for employment so that they can contribute towards family upkeep. This meant that women had to stop being the traditional wife and turn into the professional career woman. Women are now employed in industries and their performance is far much better than expected, to an extent that they are even a threat to men serving at the same capacity as they are. Rivalries are now prevalent as women fight for managerial positions just like men. Therefore the aspect of industrialization worked out perfectly to fight this archaic as well as outdate culture.
The living conditions throughout the Industrialization process varied from the magnificence of the homes to the owners to the nastiness of the livelihood of the employees. Unfortunate people live in very small houses in cramped streets. In these homes, toilet facilities are shared, while sewers are left open, thereby exposing individual to the risk of damp. There is also a prevalent risk of spreading disease through the supply of contaminated water. On the other hand not everyone lives in house like this. Industries have led to the creation of elites in the society, as well as the larger middle class made up of professionals such as doctors and lawyers. However, large numbers of the working class have died from diseases scattering through the confined living conditions.
Socially, something which is also evident in our society today is intermarriages which emanated from the industries. Many single people have moved from rural areas to urban areas in search of employment. As a result of mingling in the industries during working hours, relationships started which led to marriage (233).
Politically, the industries triggered the need for people to do away with the traditional settings of governance. This may be attributed to the new things that came with industries in regard to working conditions and wages. For industries to offer their workers with good working conditions and better salaries there was needed to have a government in place to do all that. With that being put into consideration, the traditional form of governments found in the societies could not manage to do that. A more powerful government was formed to cater for that. With the coming of a more reformed government, the rights of the workers were protected. The industries were provided with policies to govern their operations. This would not have been possible with the traditional setting (Cipolla 323).
Social evils in the society such as corruption may be traced back to the industrial revolution period. With many people coming from the village to look for jobs in the industries, corruption cases went up. The case would have been different if the industries were not there. Corrupt officials in the industries were demanding for bribes for one to secure a job there. This became extremely difficult especially for those people who did not have money and were experiencing such for the first time. In some situations, some officials were asking for sexual advances from the women who came looking for jobs and appeared desperate. They would take advantage of that, and the women would eventually risk losing the opportunity and go back to the rural area where there was no job. These nasty behaviors of corruption would eventually spread in the society resulting to a very immoral society. This was a negative implication which emanated from the coming of industries.
According to Foster, crime rate within the industrialized areas is as a result of several unemployed people who moved migrated into the region with job prospects in their minds. Due to existence of high labor turnover most of these people ended up being unemployed. Staying in town mean they have to meet the bills of paying rent, food and other things. Most of them resulted to being criminals while most women opted to being commercial sex workers in order to earn a living. This is unmistakably a negative impact directly linked to the emergence of industries. This has led to the existence of sexually transmitted diseases, predominantly; HIV/AIDS and eventual death. The children left behind as orphans do not have a choice rather than turn into beggars and street children. Street children end up forming street families and gangs which are responsible for many crimes and mugging in the cities. (Foster 225).
The coming of industries has sparked population growth due to improved living conditions. Due to this many governments have realized the need to initiate laws that would restrict people from giving birth to certain limits. Such policies affected many families who stated practicing family planning (227).
Nevertheless, the emergence of industries, foresaw the development of new political ideologies known as communism and capitalism. Some people hold on to the ideology of capitalism which advocates for individual ownership of wealth without the interference of the authority in question. This aspect led to the evolution of individual owned industries and supported the idea of capitalism in the society. On the other hand, there were those who supported communism system of governance. The ideology supported the idea of individuals not owning any property but instead belonged to the society.
The idea was not supported by many governments because they felt it would have an impact on the economy of not only the country, but also the world at large. The rich in the society were fighting for political power to get an opportunity to control the government. The ideology of communism was later defeated and many countries took for the capitalism. This saved many industries from collapsing and the society on the other hand remained intact. This was a negative impact on the society which was being held on the balance (232).
In conclusion, the above are the political, social and cultural impacts which emanated from the evolution of industries. The effects highlighted in this essay are still being felt to date. With more industries coming in the limelight, more impacts are still being seen on the society.
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