83%(6)5 out of 6 people found this document helpful
This preview shows page 292 - 294 out of 491 pages.
Largely as the result of the Industrial Revolution, the technical, eco-nomic, political, and social bases of life have become transformed vir-tually everywhere in the last 200years. The point applies not only tostrictly industrial societies, but also to traditional agrarian societies,remaining groups of pastoral nomads, and surviving hunter-gatherers—CHAPTER 14Timber, Coal, Cloth, and Steam
all humanity has been affected by the coming of industrial civilization.Industrialization unleashed processes of fundamental social changeas well as technological innovation and economic growth. People mi-grated from the countryside to cities, expanding urban populations oflow-paid factory workers; factory labor increased and class conﬂictintensified; new coercive institutions such as public schools and well-regulated prisons came into being as agents of social control; the fam-ily ceased to be a center of production, and a new division of labor tookhold—typically men secured employment in factories while womenwere mainly restricted to domestic duties. A further demographic up-heaval accompanied industrialization as mass migration saw millionsof Europeans head westward across the Atlantic and eastward into theexpanding Russian empire. The process surged and became a globaltidal wave that continues to transform every corner of the world, oftenwith unsettling results.Ecological Stimulus, Technological ResponseThe history of industry in Europe since the rise of European civiliza-tion in the tenth century is the history of long-term economic devel-opment and technological innovation against a background of envi-ronmental constraints and pressures. Indeed, the industrialization ofEurope generally marched in step with a growth of population thatproduced a constant threat of scarcity. From a low of 2million in themiddle of the fifteenth century, after a hundred years of repeated rav-ages of the Black Death, the population of England and Wales rose toabout5.5million by the end of the seventeenth century and, withincreasing rapidity, to 9million by the end of the eighteenth. (Thisincrease resulted from a lowering of mortality rates, probably throughimproved hygiene, and from changing agricultural practices.) As thepopulation quintupled during a span of 350years, pressure on re-sources increased and in some cases became severe.Perhaps the most serious shortage that developed was in land itself.In England, in many ways a typical agrarian society, land was put tomany uses—as cropland, as pasture for cattle, horses, and sheep, as for-est for timber, and, increasingly, for expanding towns and cities as theburgeoning population sought nonagricultural means of subsistence inurban centers. During the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuriesEnglish towns, trade, and industry had been growing, but by the mid–seventeenth century growth began to be checked as critical bottlenecksformed. Because economic life is a process of interlocked activities, ashortage or restriction in one area can disrupt the entire system. Dur-