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Beyond the thin surface of welfare
The nineteenth century saw the real development and the consequences of a phenomenon which
hadmade its first appearance at the end of the previous century: the Industrial Revolution.
As the rain blesses the plants with water or turns into a dangerous thunderstorm,
thisthe process of chengechange led at the same tame to great prosperity and great poverty.
Many thinkers, writers and philosophers expressed their opinions and deeply analysed the different aspects of the Industrial Revolution.
For istance, the economist Adam Smith, in his "The Wealth of Nations" gives us a detailed analysis of the new economical structure by showing both its complication and its great efficacy.
He describes the division of labour adn explains its advantages in terms of time, quality and quantity.
On the other hand, in "The Stones of Venice", John Ruskin defines the division of labour as a "division of men".
themen as being lessened to little segments whose piece of intelligence is used only "in making the point of a pin or the head of a nail".
He bitterly attacks the alienating effects of industrialization and highlights that the price of wealth is paid with the loss of humanity since the new system of production has desprived man of their pleasure for working.
The European society was advancing to a state in which
theman was turned into a machine which works really long -/hours.
As James Nasmyth reports in his "Autobiography", the country is "glowing with fire by day and by night". It is given a real emphasis of the repetitive and constant work of men and machinery which seems to never stop.
The writer makes also a comparison between the artistic beauty of the countryside and the catastrophic consequences that the Industrial Revolution had upon the natural landscapes.
Some years before Nasmyth, the politician William Cobbett
hadrealized how awful werethe conditions of the farms were.In "Rural Rides", he clearly states that "the little farmers and their happy families are now sinking into ruins" and in a prosperous country where eight people out of twenty are starving.
The English commercial system led to the division of society into two classes: Masters(the employers) and Slaves( the workmen).
While the forme
rswere surrounded by their enchanted wealth, the latter spent their life in poverty in the urban slums.
In conclusion, if we consider the Industrial Revolution as the first step of
themodern technology, we should also retainremember how many sacrifices were made by most workers including women and young children.
- For Teachers