This paper takes the modern world to mean the world as we know it today, having all the characteristics of the socio-economic zones as we know them today. Therefore, the modern world in this sense is construed as the world in which a person from this generation can identify with. This paper looks at the development of industrialization in the modern world from the 1500s in three major ways, namely: the development of cottage industry, the agrarian revolution of the 19th century and the modernization of industry.
Industry can be traced back a long way through history to the development of crafts that was taken up by various specialized people in the society. There were specific characteristics, mainly social ones, which influenced the development of industry (Abbott, 2003). For example, masons often became masons because of the influence of family on economic activity if ones father was a mason, it was probable that the son would become a mason. As such, groups of people would come together to comprise the particular makers of a needed product in the community. Different people specialized in different area, including the making of swords, or embroideries, or some other product depending on the market. Moreover, cottage industries characterized the main source of manufactured goods at this early time. Therefore, the abundance of human labor which was skilled in nature determined the supply of manufactured goods that was available in the market. Cottage industries was thus human-dependent in nature, giving monopoly to particular people in society over the products they produced.
With the passage of time, the agrarian revolution came about. Human labor in the farms was replaced with specialized large-scale tools. The investment in such tools allowed farmers to produce raw materials at a much higher rate than ever before. With this change in agriculture, there was need to upgrade the systems of the production for various tools in the industry. It was found that cottage industries were no longer applicable to handle the large amount of raw materials that were produced as well as the large amount of demand for the special tools, especially farm tools. As such, the manufacturing industry also began on a large scale (Jones, 2003). The agrarian revolution was one of the reasons behind the development of industries. Industries could amply produce for the needed demand in the agrarian revolution. For example, the production of the cotton gin saw the transition of the embroidery industry from cottage industry to large-scale cotton production.
The initial development of the industry was not the end of this. Industry necessitated proper transportation channels that would transfer the manufactured goods from the industries to the market. This led to the industrial revolution that would be experienced in the 19th century as well. The industrial revolution saw the improvement of already developed tools into higher efficiency. The continued improvement has gone on till the modern day where concerns of energy efficiency and green industries have been raised (Griffin, 2000). The industrial revolution goes on with the improvement in technology. One major characteristic of the recent revolution development is the use of skilled labor for the operation of technology-driven machinery. There is only very little use of unskilled labor, which was the case during the times of the cottage industries and the early stages of the agrarian revolution.
Industry can thus be seen to have developed through the following stages throughout history: cottage industries, a transition during the agrarian revolution and the changes in the industrial revolution that have persisted till the modern day.
Abbott, L. (2003). Theories of Industrial Modernization & Enterprise Development: a Review. New York: ISM/Google Books.
Griffin, E. (2000). A short history of the British Industrial Revolution. London: Palgrave Publishers.
Jones, E. (2003). The European Miracle: Environments, Economics and Geopolitics in the History of Europe and Asia. Cambridge: Cambidge University Press.
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