The second industrial revolution and its social consequence

As opposed to the first industrial revolution which had its focus on the use of energy and muscle, the second industrial revolution did focus more on the use of the brain and information technology (Korten 222). This revolution did have an almost immediate effect on the lives of people. The benefits did not only accrue to the producers but also the consumers and this helped to improve the quality of life.

This phase of the industrial revolution is in most cases simply referred to as the (separate) technical revolution. During this period there were extensive innovations that came up in very many industries. The electrical, chemical, petroleum and steel industries formed the major leaders when it came to the second industrial revolution (Adler 431).

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The major specific advancements included the incorporation of steam turbines that were fired by oil and steel ships that were driven by internal combustion. The development of the aero-plane formed a major advancement in the second industrial revolution. Transport was therefore immensely improved as equally as the standards of living of the people.

Other fields that drew a lot of attention was invention of the telephone, the automobile was commercialized, innovation of very varied food preservation techniques like refrigeration and others, perfection of processes involved in canning and mass production of consumer goods. The drift was from mass production and towards quality of what was produced. In essence the desire to have these quality levels did affect the inventions that were coming up.

The automatic industry was the subsequent happening of use of machines tools and the computers in the production processes. It is to be noted though that the second industrial revolution happened in different parts of the world at different times. Singapore for example was experiencing it as late as the 1980s.

One of the major effects of the second industrial revolution was caused by the societal struggles to obtain class. According to Mantoux (30), there was arise in various classes of people among them the producer royales and state factories who had immense power attributed to them in the social standing.

In as much as there was a lot of changes in terms of the institutions that were present; together with the environmental conditions surrounding the changes, the economic play was so relevant and of great magnitude in affecting the social position of people.

The extent to which the environment did affect the social lives cannot be compared to the magnitude with which the economics played in influencing the interrelationships in society. Families seemed to predominantly live on the fines they got and even the borrowings that they got. At this time, the feudal landlords got reduced in number for a while.

The church and specifically the Catholic Church did have impact on the social lives of the people. According to Foster (24), peasant employers who had multiple problems with control of the social standing did try to take over the church. In the United Kingdom, these employers set up a parish within the Manchester.

This was a way that did enhance social relationships in this period. Social routines also did take root at some time during this period. This was a case of the United Kingdom although other places did have their own identifiable social routines.

Into the middle of the nineteenth century the growth of steam ships and more use of railways were pilot to this. The Bessemer which formed one of the remarkable steel inventions took place way before 1871. This together with the Siemens ventured in the production of steel that was not only cheap but also allowed for quicker steam transport.

Social lives were not spared by these developments. In the lives the family unit, set up of society, security in society, standards of living, and wage levels among a host of other aspects were affected by the happenings during the second industrial revolution. There can not be a limited view of how the social lives were affected.

At the same time, these lives were affected differently in different locations and so in these places a specific mention is of essence. Further it was difficult to separate the social lives from the economic effects.

According to Spielvogel (702) the second industrial revolution has had an immense impact on how the economic systems are currently run. This includes the depressions that are experienced amongst other economic cycles. On a global scale the second industrial revolution did affect the social lives of the people through the economic and other impacts that this revolution was having on the social lives of people.

A commonality noted between the first and second industrial revolutions is that they both led growth in population and were boosted by government facilitated barriers to trade. The second industrial revolution however did focus only on the development of electricity, improvement of steel and use of chemicals.

The innovations led to great improvements in the production processes and notably in the United Kingdom, the textile industry was greatly boosted. Railroad was not left behind in this revolution. There was unprecedented advancement according to Duiker (550) in the transport systems which by extension affected the social lives of people.

The work done by the laborers became less and therefore people had time to focus more on other aspects of their social lives. Unlike the first industrial revolution where the focus was on productivity and the workers in the industries were very much burdened with work, this type of revolution led to a decrease in the manual work since inventions like the flying shuttle done in 1733 took up much of the manual roles in the textile industry.

Machines were later developed that could spin the yarn and comb the wool. Automation of the textile industry in the United Kingdom was achieved sometime in the 1780s where the use of manual labor was limited.

Worker unions cropped up because of this revolution and would come together to push for the rights of the workers. In the UK textile industry for example, the Luddite movement was established some time in 1811. This movement was fighting for the employees in the textile industry whose lives were at risk.

The workers were bound to lose their livelihoods since they were being replaced in the industries by the machines that had come up to improve efficiency in the operations. This struggle does remain a nightmare in Europe currently as there is much squabbling between the job securities of laborers mostly manual ones and innovations that are supposed to make work easier.

Education in the age of the second industrial revolution became more technical. Since there was an advent in the area of machines, there was dire need to create the awareness on how the machines were to be operated. This required that the workers get training in the same with much emphasis being laid on the technical aspects.

This led even to the advent of schools of the mature being attended by the workers who had to get more formal skills on the operation of the machine. Even though this did not affect much the time spent by the families, still the impact was there.

More time was available for the workers to travel. This was best coupled by the development of trains that accorded the people the favour to travel form one place to another. Synott (201) insinuates that communications were immensely developed during this age. This conversely positively affected the relationships at the work place and the social standing as well. Telegraph and telephone technologies were the major head starts in these invention area.

A loss in jobs was another social ramification of the second industrial revolution. This is because the people were to be replaced by machines which were not only faster but also cost less to the owners of the firms. In England in the early 1800s, the job losses in the textile industry were eminent and this led to the emergence of numerous bodies to fight for the rights of the workers. This they did by forming the Luddite that was meant to protect their members from being shoved off work because of the machines presence.

Migrations were also eminent from the urban to urban centers with people searching for new jobs. Those persons that had been laid off from their positions on the advent of the technology age had to make a living somehow and so they traveled from one urban centre to another. This in a way did distort the social lives of people especially the family unit. There was need to settle in whole new locations and adapt to new lifestyles all together which was not easy as such.

The working hours during this revolution dropped to a record low since the work was beginning to be automated. Initially during the first industrial revolution, pressure had mounted on the social lives of the workers since the emphasis was on production and more production.

Later, automation led to improvement of lives of the people during this period. It was during this period that the telephone was developed. Although a reserve of the rich, the telephone led to improved communications between people.

At some point there was a decline in the slaves that were being employed industries. This simply constituted the job losses that were happening at that time as a result of automation. These slaves mostly from Africa would end up in the streets without a living. Their lives were therefore dwindling by the day and some of them resorted to criminal activities. This in part explains the high levels of insecurity that were experienced during this period.

There was a rise of the working class movements during this period. This in essence had a very pivotal role in the capitalism that was noted in the countries during that period. The workers got an opportunity to be freed from the obligations that had held them during the pre-capitalist periods yet they still had the privilege to present there labor on the capitalist labor market.

However this working class development at that time also meant that the workers could not be allowed any independent production but have to strictly adhere to the instructions that they were receiving from their employers. In a way, these employees were being forced to supply their labor in the market.

New management styles came up most of them having there focus on division of labor. There was anew style of administration that allowed there to be a span of control and managerial hierarchies did develop. There was the linear form of management so that each employee would report to that higher in authority. In Singapore for example, there was new patterns of authority that were coming up in the 1980s. Management took a whole new dimension where the lie of power had to be respected.

There was a distribution in the wealth that had been accumulated. This took place as a result of the change in ownership and the production techniques employed. Initially in the first industrial revolution, the oligarchial system of ownership was dominant.

However at the advent of the second industrial revolution, the capital of firms was divided into sticks that meant that several people would be allowed to own a single company. The income disparities in society were then put to check as those considered lower in society had an opportunity to have a share in the wealthy firms that were existent at that time.

This was one of the factors that contributed to the general improvement in the living standards. There was a shift from the previously dominant laissez faire as the governments did focus on how to meet the ever dynamic needs of the complex yet industrial communities prevalent at that time. There was thus an effect of socialization on the basic sectors of the economy. There was need to reduce the stringency with which the work place was being treated.

Explorations increased more because of the second industrial revolution. It is during this period that the scramble for Africa was rife. Many missionaries got an opportunity to traverse the seas to the ends of the earth preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ. This was facilitated by the steam powered water vessels that were built as a result of the second industrial revolution.

Some of the explorers like David Livingstone and others had to be socially alienated from their families and the backgrounds that they grew up in. they had to start up new lifestyles in the depths of East Africa.

Many new jobs were created for the people and therefore their standards of living wee affected positively. This is because there were newer yet numerous applications for the innovations in the technical field like gas making. Jobs were also created for the masses in the areas of the chemical industry for the chemicals that were used in the production processes, gas making and railway transport.

Urban growth as a consequence kept growing at unprecedented paces and therefore social ills were bound to increase. As more people grew up together in the same locality, problems of poor sanitation cropped up.

Water was scarce with other social amenities lacking. Some of the diseases that spread during this period were attributed to the poor sanitation and the high growth of population growth. Housing problems were also prevalent as there was inadequacy of housing facilities.

There was also strain on the resources that were available. There was a heightened level of criminal activities since not all the people were employed. There were many idlers coming up and this led to very unprecedented level of insecurity cropping up. Law and order enforcers therefore had to be deployed inmost of such places to be able to sustain acceptable interactions among the people

The employment opportunities were also opened up to the manufacturing industry. There was a shift from the agricultural production life of the people and veered to adapt their lifestyles to accommodating the new jobs in the manufacturing industries. There was a drop from about seventy five percent of those employed in the agricultural industry to about sixty seven percent.

Service sector was beginning to be established during this period and did compliment well with the new lifestyles that had been taken up by the peoples.

Due to this second industrial revolution, there was a noticeable change in how the businesses were being run and owned. It is said that in 1800 almost all the people in America had their focus on units of production that were family based. The main persons working in these places were the long term or permanent slaves and or spouses. The family unit was therefore very vital as this would usually be composed of the father, the mother, children and the servants and at times slaves.

Moral rules of behavior were the order of the day and they did guide the interactions of families and society as a whole. There were non quantitative characteristics that did govern the way the family businesses were run. Payment of wages to employees in these family units was ideally a function of the moral traditions that were established.

This sometimes was referred to as the moral economy. There was a very wide gap in the relationship between the employers and their workers. In social terms there was a great disjoint between these two groups. Not much could be discussed between them unless it related to the work environment. Fair wages was not an issue. They were singlehandedly determined by the employers.

The work that was done by the women was reevaluated time from time as segregation was so vivid. Before payment of their wages, the women had to be reconfirmed to be doing a great piece of work. In most cases, the women were not paid.

Slaves too did not have a wage to their credit. There was a desire to create a racist form of the labor market by the southern white supremacists. The men were favored. The whites had more favour in this period as the blacks faced slavery and segregation.

Later in 1914 an idea was introduced by one Henry Ford which impacted on the wages that were being paid out to the employees and thus influencing the social lives of the employees. This was done with the desire to improve the efficiency of the workers. This led to the introduction of the new deal in 1933 that had a social security system.

Through this safety of the workers was improved and equally there social standing as well as the standards of life were awesomely improved. The industrial revolution led to an inauguration of various trends and the perpetration of the same led to a properly mixed matrix of the world that is currently viewed as contemporary.

The rural workers who mainly had their focus in the agricultural sector were considered to be having more autonomy than the workers who were operating in the urban areas. The urban worker was more reliant on the employer’s will. The relations between the combination of capital and labor were very well aggravated.

Marxism which did focus on capitalism was a resultant of this squabble. This would later affect the lives of the people socially since the people had their incomes dependant on this work. The standards of the living of the masses relied on the outcome of these squabbles. The second industrial revolution was unique in that companies were being run like family farms with the day to day operations carried out with minimum supervision (Fisher 4).

Social lives of the people were also affected by the laissez faire doctrine that did come up after the writings of people like Ricardo and Adam smith. In their arguments; they actually ended up affecting the interventionary measures by the government in issues relating to the productive facilities.

Population expansion was experienced by the presence of this new industrial revolution that was sweeping across the nations. The rise in professions also was a consequent of the second industrial revolution. In this revolution the service industry did accord the population an opportunity to grow in terms of their professional lives rather than manually.

With better living standards, there was also a noted increase in the population. This is because the families could afford to take care of their members.

In conclusion, the social lives of the people were affected both positively and negatively. There was an improvement in the living standards of the people and more of the working class culture cropping up. On the other hand, crowding and other negative attributes were eminent in this type of revolution.

Only selected parts of the globe felt the positive consequences and especially those considered of higher class. The fact that the effects of this revolution still trickle down to the current social standing cannot be down played. There has been more inventions which have influenced people currently including the internet technologies and social networking among others.

Work cited

Mantoux, Paul. The Industrial Revolution in the Eighteenth Century: an Outline of the beginnings of modern factories in England. Oxon: Routledge, 2006. Print.

Fisher, Kimball. Leading self-directed work teams: a guide to developing new team leadership skills. New York: McGraw hill, 2000. Print.

Korten, David. When corporations rule the world. Connecticut: Kumarian press inc., 2001. Print.

Spielvogel, Jackson. Western Civilization: Alternate Volume: Since 1300. Belmont: Thomson higher education, 2006. Print.

Synott, John. Global and international studies: Transdisciplinary perspectives

Boston: Thomson Learning Inc., 2000. Print.

Adler, Philip & Pouwels, Randall. World Civilizations: Since 1500. Boston: Thomson learning Inc., 2008. Print.

Duiker, William & Spielvogel, Jackson. World History, Volumes 1-2. Boston:
Clark Baxter & Suzanne Jeans, 2007. Print.

Foster, John. Class struggle and the industrial revolution: early industrial capitalism in three English Towns. London: Methuen & Co. ltd, 2003. Print.

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