Effects of American Industrial Revolution and Rise to Market Economy to Family and Labor
The industrial revolution led to separation of the workplace from home and altering the division of labor between men and women. It destroyed the family economy by removing economic production from home and taking it out of the hands of women. Men’s work, instead of being directly integrated with that of their wives and children in homes, was integrated with that of non-kin in industries, offices and shops. The economic role of a man became more important to family because he was made the link between the family and the wider market economy, but his personal participation in the household diminished. Women’s economic roles were restricted. They could not produce what the family consumed because production had been removed from homes.
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The changes in the conditions of life associated with the Industrial revolution and wider market economy were responsible for many long term divorces. For instance, divorce is traced to the rise in the breadwinner-homemaker families which involved the shift to the production outside the home. The mutual dependence between men and women weakened greatly off the farm, because men could, if they desired, depend on their own work alone for their income.
The industrial revolution led to rise of new industrial middle-class group. These middle class people constructed factories, purchased the machines, and figured out where the markets were. These middle class people tried to separate themselves from the labor classes below them. In the industrial revolution, child labor was exploited more than ever. Children were more easily trained to do factory work and they represented a cheap supply of labor. Finally, industrial revolution and wide market economy led to rise of new working class. This class was made up of people who worked in mines, factories and other enterprises.