Industrialization- A Curse or A Blessing:
Broadly speaking industrialization is a great blessing. It is considered to be the measure of the economic development and material advancement of a nation. The countries which are highly industrialized are considered to be advanced and modern, while those which are not industrially developed are thought to be backward and underdeveloped. The USA, the USSR, West Germany, England etc., are highly industrialized and, therefore, they are thought to be advanced countries.
But industrialization is not free from its defects. It is not an unmixed blessing. First of all, we should bear in mind that industrialization implies production on a large scale in big factories and mills which send out foul smoke and poisonous gases. Industrialization pollutes the environment and disfigures the beautiful face of nature. It is positive danger to health. Workers living in a big industrial town live in slums and shanty dwellings and unhygienic conditions.
Another evil of industrialization is the depopulation of the countryside. More and more rural labour migrates from villages to industrialized towns attracted by the higher wages and sometimes permanent employment. This results in overcrowding and congestion in towns and cities. The poor slum dwellers are exposed to many dangers- health hazards, beastly and inhuman life.
Moreover, industrialization reduces men to the level of machines. In fact, man becomes an insignificant part of a large impersonal machine. He has to work day in and day out at the same allotted task, and so his work becomes a drudgery to him.
In addition to this, machines can do the job of many men. The result is that it leads to unemployment and starvation. Thus industrialization brings in its wake problems of mass employment and human misery on a large scale.
In highly industrialized countries human and moral values are sacrificed for the sake of material prosperity and advancement. There developed a type of society in which material prosperity or intrinsic worth is the yardstick of success for every individual. Needs are multiplied and material comforts and luxuries are much sought after.
Another drawback of industrialization is the increase in the inequality of wealth and income. The workers do a lot of work but live from hand to mouth. The major fruit of their labour goes to the factory and mill owners who grow richer and richer. The inequalities of wealth lead to jealousies and class-wars, lock-outs and strikes. Marxism and communism are the direct results of industrialization.
Industrialization results not only in the exploitation of the poor workers at the hands of the rich capitalists but also that of the less advanced countries by the more advanced ones. England, for example, has been exploiting her colonies including India for many generations. She established her empire over most parts of the world.
No doubt, the above are some of the glaring evils of industrialization. But it does not mean that we should revert to the primitive methods of production. What is needed is that greater attention should be paid to human values and human welfare than to material gains.