America and Industrialization: Then and Now

The industrialization has transformed the world economy. According to Oxford, industrialization is an activity that involves manufacturing products undertaken within national economies. Let’s learn the past and present concerning the U.S. economy.  

American Industrialization: History

In the beginning, the U.S. had an agrarian economy. After its independence from Great Britain, the nation slowly increased its industrial production, albeit, small-scale. During this period, the U.S. remained second to Britain in industrial production. The U.S. saw industrial growth between 1870 and 1930. 

According to the Library of Congress, industrialization boomed in the U.S. following the end of the Civil War. After the war, new industries emerged. These industries include steel manufacturing, electrical power, and petroleum refining. As railroads expanded, transportation of goods became easier. 

As the US industries grow, society is transformed along with it. Industrialists become part of the elite; America saw a growing population of the well-off middle class. Due to jobs created by these new industries, immigrants were enticed to come to the U.S. At the same time, migration was observed from rural areas to industrial cities. As a result, industrial centers also became diverse centers of different cultures. 

However, not all people benefited from the rise of industries. Farmers were affected because technology and industries became a competition in production. As young people saw more opportunities in the city, they left their farms behind. 

At the same time, unfair wages were given to other workers. Suffice to say, industrialization also led to the creation of labor unions.

But despite the challenges some people faced during the industrial revolution, the many contributions it has given are undeniable. Light is one of its most significant contributions. From candles and kerosene lamps, the light bulb is invented. From horses, people from the 1840s and 1850s experienced riding in steam-powered locomotives. Eventually, as industries continue to evolve and innovations are discovered, transportation became gasoline-powered automobiles.

Based on the University of Oregon, the 1900s saw large-scale industrial production. During this period, heavy industrial activity was observed in areas such as Maryland, Maine, New York, and Cincinnati. 

The Present State of Industrial America

At present, the U.S. is undeniably an industrial giant. It is home to a diverse group of industry sectors that drives the nation as a global economic powerhouse. Let’s discuss some industries that currently dominate in the US and globally. 

Aerospace

Contributing around $151 billion to the U.S. economy, the aerospace industry in the U.S. is the largest in the world. The industry is built by a diverse, skilled workforce including aerospace engineers and machinists. Because it’s a big industry, it has created a lot of jobs. About 509,000 people are employed in scientific and technical jobs while 700,000 jobs are created in the U.S. in related fields.

Automotive

As a global leader, the U.S. is also one of the top producers of automotive across the globe. Sales reached 17.2 million units of light vehicles in 2018. Creating partnerships and affiliations with Japanese, European, and Korean automakers, the automotive industry now creates around 400,000 jobs in the U.S.

With constant research and development initiatives, the industry is at the forefront of automotive innovation. Around 105 billion dollars are spent on research and development globally; 18 billion of this is from the United States.

Energy

The energy industry produces oil, natural gas, and coal. The U.S. is a top producer, supplier, and consumer of energy. Over the years, new sources of energy are discovered. Clean energy sources include wind, geothermal, hydropower, and solar.

In 2018, total investment in the U.S. energy sector amounted to 350 billion dollars. Through the use of innovation and technology, energy companies in America transmit, distribute, and store energy. 

Things to Keep In Mind

Through industrialization, lives are improved and jobs are created. However, some challenges are created alongside it. We’ll take a look at some of these challenges.

Environment

Industrialization can negatively impact the environment. Deforestation, pollution, and excessive waste production are just some consequences of industrialization. Hence, it is of utmost necessity that industries become aware of the byproducts of their industrial process. The Environmental Protection Agency is created to push industries in abiding by environmental standards.

Safety

As with any industry, several hazards must be watched out for in the industrial sector. In heavy industrial facilities, extra precautions must be taken to keep workers safe.

Such hazards common in industrial sites are slip and trip workplace falls, uncontrolled fires, and injury from heavy machinery.

To avoid these hazards, regular checks and maintenance must be accomplished. For industries using tanks, regular cryogenic tank maintenance must be done. At the same time, following safety codes and regulations imposed by the government must be consistently followed.

Balance must be struck. As technology and industries continue to evolve, some things must not be forgotten. the balance should be between discovering innovations that will improve people’s lives and keeping the environment and people healthy and safe.

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