What did Karl Marx think about the changes brought by the industrial revolution?

How did he think the industrialization affected society, economically and socially

1 Answer
May 26, 2016

He saw it as the latest stage of man's development towards towards communism.


Marx analysed society through the relationships between social classes. He adapted Hegel's dialectical materialism, developing the concept of historical materialism. That is history and changes in society are determined by its social structures.

Marx, and Engels, writing on the subject is enormous. However, briefly they argues that the dynamics of capitalism as with previous societies was based on the relationship between social classes.

In the case of capitalism, this was the exploitation of the proletariat by the bourgeoisie. Under capitalism the bourgeoisie owned the means of production and the proletariat did not. The Industrial Revolution had accelerated this process and widened the gap between the two classes. All mechanisms of the state were used to sustain this exploitation.

Thus the working conditions in factories during the Industrial Revolution were appalling, workers had no basic rights, and there was no universal suffrage. All of these were illustrative of the Industrial Revolution's impact on economic, social and political exploitation of the proletariat.

Marx argued that the Industrial Revolution had polarised the gap between the owners of the means of production and the workers even more. This would change, when the proletariat, developing a class consciousness would rise up and overthrow capitalism.