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There has been much debate on whether or not industrialization aided the progress of social progress. Many feel that the industrialization of towns was the perfect way to get the social progress wave started. Others felt that industrialization did more harm than good. By taking a look at the views of Adam Smith, Hammond, and Frederic Engels, we will see exactly what makes people take these opposing views.

According to Adam Smith in Wealth of Nations, industrialization of the economy seemed to represent social progress in 1th century Britain. He feels that if industrialization didn’t come along, society would be stuck in a rut and wouldn’t be able to advance. Simple processes would take a long time to do. He gives the example of making a pin. A man who was not educated in the business would only be able to make one pin in a day, whereas if the work was divided into a number of branches (preferably particular trades) they could make about forty-eight thousand pins in a day. This is possible because every man is given a distinct job, sometimes two or three of them. The job is usually something that the man is skilled in. If they had been working separately and independently they wouldn’t have been so productive.

The example with the pin is not the only instance that industrialization is successful. Although the labor might not be divided as well, the end results are the same. However, the division of labor results in a proportionate increase of the productive powers of labor. Smith mentions an interesting point when he says that what is the work of one man in a rude state of society, being generally that of several in an improved one. He is trying to say that the most prosperous societies are industrialized; the labor is divided, therefore more merchandise is produced. Usually the most prosperous nations do better than neighboring nations in agriculture and manufactures. Their lands are better cultivated and therefore produce more.

There are three reasons that the division of labor increases the quantity of work

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The first is the increase in skill in every workman. Logically if a man is skilled at a task he is performing, he will be able to produce a higher output. The division of labor allows a man to specialize in a particular trade because that is the only thing that he is doing all day long. Hence the phrase ‘practice makes perfect.’

The second is the time saved by not going to one job right after another. When a man passes from one sort of work to another, valuable time is lost. When going from one work place to another, a man usually saunters from the first job to the second. Understandably, when he begins his second job, his mind isn’t really into the task he is performing. For a considerable amount of time he will play around on the job. In countries that require a man to work more than one job and the job is a job that needs a different set of tools than the other one, the man becomes lazy and incapable of any serious applications even when facing a deadline. Since he does not have the time to become skilled in any particular trade, the quantity of work he is capable of producing is limited.

The third is the invention of machines that move labor along and make it possible for one man to do the work of many men. Machinery is essentiaol to the progress of labor. The inventions of the different machinery that moves along labor is seemingly owing to the division of labor. When a man’s attention is focused on one particular object, a man can figure out how to get the object or produce the object at a faster rate. People are always looking for a shortcut in the work that they do. Many machines were invented by common workmen who were looking for easier ways to perform their jobs.

Although there has been much praise for the industrialization aiding social progress, there has been some criticism. According to Hammond, who investigated child labor in the factories during the Sadler Commission Hearing, industrialization hindered social progress rather than progress it. During the hearings, many disturbing facts were brought forward. Children were forced to work from five o’clock in the morning until o’clock at night. They lived about a mile and a half from the factory and had to wake up around four o’clock every morning in order to walk to work. At noon they were given forty minutes for dinner. Breakfast was unheard of. There were no breaks besides the4 short break for dinner. Sometimes their food was spoiled by all the dust that was present in the mill. Often, during their break, they had to stop and clean the machinery. To keep the young children awake the overseers would beat them with a leather strap. For all this they were paid a mere four schillings a week.

Not only did the factory workers have to deal with horrible working conditions, they also had to deal with horrible living conditions. Behind the cottages of the working-class man there are filthy alleys. The bricks on the cottages shift and the wall have cracks in them. The streets are dirty. The floors are half buried in the earth. Usually the working-class quarters are separate or concealed from the sections of the city reserved for the middle class. Towns are set up so that the members of the bourgeoisie can take the shortest road through the middle of all the laboring districts to their destination without ever having to see the grime and the misery that surrounds them. The further out of the town you go, the dirtier and less inviting the shops are. At the southern end of town the shops appear so run down that there is no question that workers and only workers are the customers. There is a systematic shutting-out of the working class form the middle and upper class. When one sees this, it is clear thatq the wealthy and ‘big-shots’ at the factories are not as innocent as they would like you to think.

Throughout history people have taken opposing views on whether or not industrialization played a positive or negative role upon social progress. People took their particular views according the life they witnessed when industrialization was being implemented. By taking a look at the views of Adam Smith, Hammond, and Frederic Engels, we can better understand what people were going through during this time period.

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