Isaiah Kessler Womack A05 Assignment #3 Rough Draft 19 November 2018 The Industrial Revolution: Environmental Decay in 18th Century Britain The Industrial Revolution followed colonialism and is marked as the time in which we as human beings progressed into the modern age. During the time of the Industrial Revolution there was a great expanse in technological innovations and many changes to human society. Major countries, such as Britain and the United states, that underwent large scale industrialization, turned into hubs of manufacturing and consumerism.
Economics was fueled by supply and demand of product and the capitalist desire for wealth. During this time many new inventions came forward as many entrepreneurs driven by the alluring dream of wealth and power pushed to earn a living. Philosophers such as Thomas Malthus published new ideas about society and different ideologies revolving around the expansion of human population and consumption. However, it was during this time that environmental policy took to the back-burner. With new theories of economics and societal structures such as Capitalism, Socialism, and Utopianism taking shape, the environment as a social and economic concern lost viability and was removed from the scope of concern.
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An example of economics taking precedence over the environment is the introduction of coal as a main source of power and its heavy consumption which lead to huge environmental implications but great economic gain. The issue with these new social constructions was that they were concerned primarily with the success of man economically, and less concerned with the progress of man in the long run. Many philosophers talked about making money but then depleted the resources needed to make their money. Thomas Malthus actually predicted this over expansion and consumption when he said that population would outgrow its resources as a result of the Industrial Revolution (Chang). Entrepreneurs effectively dried their wells, which inspires me to ask the following question: How did the Industrial Revolution in Britain situated men against the natural world in terms of resources and control?
My assertion is that during the Industrial Revolution in Britain environmental issues appear as a result of lack of understanding that assets must be protected in order to maintain growth and wealth. Environmental issues, which emerged during the Industrial Revolution in 18th Century Britain, were the byproduct of changing attitudes of mans relationship to his environment. This attitude was sculpted by several reasons; greater resource demands for capitalist growth, cultural systematic consumption, and changes in living habits by human beings.
Understanding of the development of this attitude toward the environment is important to scholars today because as it stands our environment in in peril and to have any chance of future success, the errors of the past should be understood and acknowledged. There are several views on what really caused the change in relationship between man and the environment.
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