The Industrial Revolution

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Nobel Prize laureate and economist Robert Emerson Lucas wrote in regards to the Industrial revolution: "For the first time in history, the living standards of the masses of ordinary people have begun to undergo sustained growth. The novelty of the discovery that a human society has this potential for generating sustained improvement in the material aspects of the lives of all its members, not just the ruling elite, cannot be overstressed.” (Lucas 2002). The revolution itself was centred in Britain before spreading to the rest of Europe and America, and is most commonly placed within a general time period of the 18th to 19th century, though it is commonly accepted that it begun in approximately 1760 AD, and ended in 1830 AD (Ashton 1997).
The Industrial Revolution was characterised by Britain’s transformation from an agrarian society, to one of manufacturing, rapid urbanisation, mass production, globalising markets, transport and communication developments, and most significantly- constantly increasing technological advances unlike any other point in history (Mokyr 1990). Employment opportunities were different to ever before, as factories, mills, mines, and positions in development became available (Miller & Dodd 2014). Whilst industrialisation paved the way for some of the most significant advances in human history, it is also important to consider the impact it had upon the society in terms of what were often poor living and working conditions.

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