The first industrial revolution (mid 1700s –mid 1800s)
As a consequence, work that was previously done by people was now being performed in cities with large factories and on equipment capable of producing a large number of products quickly. The population was negatively impacted including overcrowding in cities due to rapid urbanization, skilled workers were replaced with low-skilled workers from the agricultural sector. These low-skilled workers were underpaid and overworked. The inequality gap that was established in the agricultural age worsened as the rich continued to stockpile resources while the working poor faced poverty.
The second industrial revolution (mid 1800s – early 1900s)
The age of mechanical production
Moreover, by the early 20th century, Henry Ford’s company was mass producing the ground-breaking FordModel T, a car with a petrol engine built on an assembly line in his factories.
People tend to go where the jobs were offered and in the early 1900s massive amount of workers left their rural homes and moved to urban areas, joining factory jobs. By 1900, 40% of the US population lived in cities, this compared to 6% in 1800. Alongside this, rapid urbanization new methods of communication revolutionized people’s lives, being the radio and television two emblematic symbols of this period.
The third industrial revolution (mid 1900s – 2000)
The digital revolution
In a bigger perspective, the wave of digitalization has had profound effects on productivity, growth and employment. However, research has found that digitalization has contributed to slower rates of employment rather than the opposite which is most pronounced in post-war and post-recession environments. Since the 1980s, both low- and high-skill job sectors saw an increase in employment rates while middle-skill jobs have fallen drastically. As automation has reduced the amount of human-operated production, the number of maintenance jobs that involve in-person services have increased because they are required to automation – for now. This may also explain the rise in high-skilled jobs that involve human creativity and problem-solving.