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Mgt 7203: Issues in Global Business

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Khishar Muhammad bin Mohd Faizal Segaran



Mr. Mehdi Tasaloti

Due Date

12th March 2018

Assignment Question

The Fourth Industrial Revolution: what it means, how to respond?

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1.0 Introduction

Industrial Revolution can be defined as the process of change from agrarian and handicraft society to become industrial and urban (Investopedia, n.d). The term “Industrial Revolution” was first coined by French writers but made popular by Arnold Toynbee, a famous English economic historian, since then the term “Industrial Revolution” has been applied broadly to this day (, 2018). Before the Industrial Revolution occurred, manufacturing was mostly done in people’s house or small shops, using basic machines or hand tools.

The Industrial Revolution first started in the Great Britain, and a significant amount of the technology advancements and innovations were British. By the mid 18th century, Britain was the world’s driving business powerhouse, controlling a worldwide trading empire with Africa and North America, and with some political effect on the Indian sub-continent, through some of East India Company’s activities. The ascent of business and development of trade were the leading causes for the Industrial Revolution to occur (, n.d).

Industrial Revolution denotes a noteworthy defining moment in the history of man, relatively every part of day by day life was affected by one way or another. To this day, there have been 3 times where Industrial Revolution has occurred, with the 4th Industrial Revolution on the brink of happening which will fundamentally change the way we look at life and go about it (Schwab, K, 2016).

The 1st Industrial Revolution utilized steam and water energy to mechanize productions. The 2nd Industrial Revolution utilized electric energy to make large scale manufacturing. The 3rd Industrial Revolution utilized information technology and electronics to automate productions. Finally, the 4th Industrial Revolution, building from the 3rd, a digital revolution that is blurring the lines between digital, physical and biological system (Schwab, K, 2016).

1.1 First Industrial Revolution

The 1st Industrial Revolution happened approximately from 1760 to 1840, that saw a rapid growth of machines and industrialization. This industrial Revolution were largely centred on Britain and parts of the north-eastern United States of America (, n.d).

The Industrial Revolution was underpinned by the Agricultural Revolution, from the mid 18th century to mid 19th century, agricultural production increased significantly. The huge increase in food output supported the expansion and sustained a large population and boosted trade. The increased use of machines over human or animal power in farming also meant that fewer farm workers were needed, and they could leave the land for industrial towns. Better metals and richer fuel also contributed to industrialization by creating the steam engine, an integral machine to industrialization, which powered factories, locomotive and ships (, n.d). The new steam engine used coal and iron, both in the construction and as fuel, increasing demand for these resources. Roads, canals and roadways changed Britain dramatically, connecting Britain and allowing goods to be sent over long distances. Visually, the revolution was clear in the new industrial towns, with smoking factories dominating the skyline, the cities were horrible to live in. Overcrowded, dirty with dangerous conditions in the factories and strict rules and punishments (, n.d).

The Industrial Revolution saw mechanization of the textile industry, which was previously manufactured in the home, creating the term “Cottage Industry’. Now, production could be increased on large scale because of new inventions, such as the spinning mule and the power loom. The iron industry developed with Henry Bessemer’s inexpensive process for mass producing steel. Iron and steel were key materials for constructing the tools in machinery, steam engines and ships needed for the industrial progress. Industrial labour opportunities drew people to the cities from the countryside. To such an extent that in 1750 only 15% of the population of Britain lived in towns, by 1850, over 50% of the entire populations of Great Britain lived in either a town or a city, and by 1900, it was 85% (Gonzalez, J, 2017).

Great Britain was the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution and was the only mature industrial economy for a long time. Germany, France, Switzerland, Belgium and the United States soon emulated Britain’s industrial change and by 1900 Britain would no longer be at the top, with the United States as the world’s leading industrial nation in the 20th century (, n.d).

1.2 Second Industrial Revolution

The 2nd Industrial Revolution followed on the heels of the 1st Industrial Revolution. The 1st Industrial Revolution saw a rise in the production of textiles, railroads, iron and coal. The 2nd Industrial Revolution started mid 1800 and saw the development of more modern advancement such as steel, chemicals, electricity and petroleum. The development of steel and oil industries led to faster and easier production which helped in building faster and lighter machines and transportation (, n.d). This led to larger factories and more production of consumer and commercial goods as well as improvements and expansions of railroads. Larger factories and better transportation were now needed to accommodate production. All of this new industry formed new business organizations and accumulated larger profits for business tycoons, adding to these profits was the development of electricity. with electricity came the ability of factories to produce 24 hours a day. Even though all of this development was beneficial for businessmen, longer hours and harsh working conditions made life much more difficult for industrial workers. Many workers were on the factory floor 18 or more hours a day, there were also no laws that bans children from working and even with all of the advancements during the 2nd Industrial Revolution, working in a factory was still very dangerous work and workers had very little time off. This led to the emergence of labour unions which were formed in order to fight for the rights of the worker (Wilde, R, 2017) .



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