“Had history been democratic in it’s ways, there would have been no farming and no industrial revolution. Both leaps in to the future were occasioned by unbearably painful crises that made most people wish that they could recoil in to the past.” – Yanis Varoufakis, The Global Minotaur: America, the True Origins of the Financial Crisis and the Future of the World Economy.
An interesting viewpoint on the industrial revolution indeed. As a British woman I have always thought of democracy as a part of life, us Brit’s are known for our fairness – the people of Britain have a voice. I have no doubt that at the time that the industrial revolution began, the British people would have been more than grateful for this revelation: it allowed better working conditions, more job opportunities, better health care and more opportunities to have and sustain families. This along with the urbanisation of societies lead to the beginning of a rapid increase in population amongst the world. Although in relation to the rest of the world’s population growth, Britain doesn’t play a significant role in terms of numbers – it was during one of our most well known times, the Victorian era, when the industrial revolution began. This development in British history has been said to be one of the most important factors in the development of the world; whether that be negative or positive development, I’ll leave that up to you to decide. When considering the effects that the industrial revolution has had on environmental welfare, the increase in population lead to a higher demand on resources and a higher rate of fossil fuel use which is obviously extremely damaging to the environment. It could be argued that the industrial revolution was the beginning of what we now call ‘global warming’. Perhaps Mr. Varoufakis was right when he stated that the industrial revolution has left many people wishing that they could ‘recoil in to the past’. I certainly wish I lived in a world where global warming and the destruction of the planet wasn’t a growing worry to be considered every day.