English and Literature
Submitted By clark33
Imagine being a young boy in 1899. Now imagine the fact that there is no time for play. Imagine having to sit in to coal mine day in and day out breathing in the dirty fumes from the coal itself. Young boys in the year 1899 did just that. They all imagined what it would be like to play outside in the streets instead of working underground for hours each day. What would it be like to have time as a kid? Men worked. Boys worked. Everyone worked. Labor was intense, conditions were not always the best and overcrowding in the factories was a problem seen from day one. With this, the greatest social and economic change in America occurs; Industrialization, in which a society or country transforms itself from an agricultural society (human power) into a society that is based on the manufacturing of goods and services through machine power. Individuals in this period are replaced by machines and craftsmen are replaced by large assembly lines. No longer do men, women, and children have to do everything step by step, the use of machines is now implemented, making it so the production of goods and services is more beneficial and effective to all. In the year 1899 industrialization has reached its adolescence stage, in which the U.S. becomes a developing nation. In its previous infancy stage industrialization created few factories and steam ships, neither being significant enough to see a change to the economy itself. In 1899, huge gaps between the rich and poor are present and there is rapid urbanization among the U.S. Industrialization which has continued to grow even into today’s society, making it easier for mass production of complex goods and energy intensive lifestyles. So what are the effects that industrialization has on big businesses within this time span? Industrialization makes it so certain industries grow at a much more rapid rate than other industries. Some of the fastest and largest growing industries include; steel, oil, and railroads. Some of the slowest and smallest growing industries include; barbershops, country stores, and blacksmiths. The reason for the rapid growth within the steel, oil, and railroad industries is because all three provide a way to make, move, or sell, which allows for economies of scale to become present. This economy of scale principle shows that the greater the quantity of produced goods (amount you make), the lower the per-unit cost is because new costs are now shared over a larger number of goods. An example of this would be the railroad in 1899. The population and size of the market has increased therefore making natural resources more of a need rather than a want. More travel is needed to import and export goods (increase in the quantity of produced goods) is now less expensive because of the rapid rate at which new costs are now being shared over a larger number of goods. In barbershops and smaller businesses this is not the case because the first chair in a barbershop is and always will be the same as the second or even third chair. Barbershops, country stores, and blacksmiths do not have economies of scale. One person getting their haircut does not make the second persons hair cut any cheaper; rather the chairs are the same amount. So was or is industrialization a blessing or curse to the American society? In my opinion I think that industrialization and big businesses were a blessing to the society. I think that by creating big business, such as the railroads and steel companies, individuals are allowed to gain a greater insight as to what success is within a city. Without industrialization human power would be our main source of the economy. Goods would be produced at a much lower rate, making the consumers more and more agitated. Although there is a high sunk cost when replacing people with machine costs, the value received out of industrialization and big businesses is much higher than the amount put into it. The key to seeing industrialization as a blessing though is on the basis that it will only be as efficient as possible, at high levels of output. For example, the cost of building or running a train factory costs just as much if operated at 50% then it does at 99% capacity. If output is low within the big business industries, industrialization now becomes a possible curse. Like many things in history there is always a cause and effect and the rise of big businesses was the direct effect of industrialization. With the rise of big businesses individuals can become more in tune with society making it so they may be as successful as possible. Now, imagine yourself again as a young boy, but this time in the year in 1905 when industrialization has reached its peak and you are no longer forced to work long days in the overcrowded coal mines, but rather allowed to work shorter hour days in a better environment and also get the chance to play outside with other boys your age. Industrialization created a change to the economy that no other movement has created and with it, businesses flourished and the mass production of goods increased making it easier for individuals in the late 19th and early 20th century.