Though it is hard to pinpoint, but most historians agree that the Industrialization basically originated in England with a series of social and technological innovations. But the oldest disagreement among historians is how the ordinary people were affected by it. While Landes (1987), seems to approve of the Industrial Revolution by stressing its positive consequences; such as the increased political equality and improvement in the material conditions. It was between 1760 and 1860, that the progress in technology and education; and an increasing capital stock; transformed England and the rest of Western Europe into the workshop of the world. This essay will try to look into the different factors that contributed towards Western Europe to industrialize first, in comparison to the rest of the world.
The industrial revolution was driven not only by technology but also by profound social changes. Europe rapidly moved from primarily a rural and agricultural economy to an urban and capitalist economy and from a household, family based economy to an industry based economy. This required the need to rethink social obligations and the structure of the family. Abandoning the family economy was the most dramatic change the Western Europe had ever undergone, and Europeans still seem to be struggling with these changes. By the middle of the eighteenth century, the European economy had become a global economy. The Western European, manufacture and trade stretched to every continent except Antarctica. Why the other nations did not initially join this revolution is based on multiple factors.
Causes of Occurrence in Western Europe
A question that really interests economic historians is that why did the eighteenth century industrial revolution start in Europe rather than in any other part of the world, like France and China or India. Though numerous factors like ecology, government and culture have been suggested but some historian argue that as China and Europe were similar in the 1700s, the crucial difference which resulted in the Industrial Revolution in Europe were the sources of coal and other raw material near the manufacturing centers.
This enabled the ordinary people to find increased employment opportunities in the new factories and mills (Hartwell, 1971). Moreover, it also allowed Europe to economically expand in a way China could not. Though some 20th century historians argue that the process of social and economic change took place gradually, therefore, the term revolution is not a true description of what took place (Berg & Hudson, 1992).
Climatic and Geographical Factors
The geographical factor has played a vital role in Western European industrialization. The countries situated in tropical and semi-tropical zones like China and India, have a severe handicap because of the climatic and weather patterns of these areas. Hot climates are mainly responsible for the spread of viral and other incapacitating diseases (Landes, 1998). Moreover, these areas are either dominated by deserts or the weather there is such, that it suffers from drought or torrential downpours that are detrimental for farming. To completely overcome these natural handicaps is undoubtedly a major problem which drains a lot of government resources.
Europe on the other hand