Technology drives the modern world. Everything around made by human hand is the result of technological progress. Therefore, technology determines the way of the world’s future development. It is easy to see that humankind has always relied on technology from the beginning of its existence. The superiority of mankind was initially achieved by applying mechanical tools in order to survive. First people hunted, built shelters and homes, kept fire, and maintained their livelihood using simple mechanics, physics, and other similar principles and tools to survive and develop. The Industrial Revolution of the 19th-20th centuries provided the humankind with the driving force that has led to the achievements of today. The Industrial Revolution has played a very important role in this process.
The Industrial Revolution is a well-known period of changes from 1750 to 1850 that started in Great Britain that spread all over the world eventually. It was the time of changes in various areas such as agriculture, transport, manufacturing, technology, etc. During the Industrial Revolution an unprecedented growth of population was noticed and documented. People started to move from the rural areas to cities that in-turn started to grow enormously.
Such state of things brought serious problems along with positive effects, such as further development of the economy, political system, culture, and society in general. The growth of population caused severe issues with workplaces (the population grew quicker than the country was able to manage the related issues – employment, social protection, etc.). The Poor Law was created and amended in order to create some sort of modern social security system. The Poor Law Commission was established to control the situation. Edwin Chadwick was appointed as the head of the Commission.
One of the main concerns of the Commission back then was the issue with public health – all crowded cities were terrified by cholera. The report called The Sanitary Conditions of the Labouring Population was developed by Chadwick to address this problem. One of the milestones of the report was the idea that people could not work as they could before due to the living conditions and lack of public health. He was appointed as Sanitation Commissioner to improve the sanitation systems and water quality.
Chadwick had lack of support in the House of Lords though because of the cost of his sanitation reforms. The problem with poor public health was recognized and resulted in the Public Health Act of 1875 that was aimed to manage urban living conditions of that time. The living situation before was filthy and inappropriate.
It was the time of changes in labor organization as well. Unions started to increase their influence because the Industrial Revolution managed to concentrate labor into particular places such as mills, mines, or factories. People started to organize groups of trade unions to advance their interests. The main method of unions to influence any situation was a strike so they were strictly restricted.
The Industrial Revolution had negative aftereffects in many areas. Environment started to suffer from pollution. It happened because the natural energy resources such as water, wind, and wood were replaced by fossil fuels. The environment of the Industrial Revolution in the Great Britain epoch was influenced by dense fog, noxious wastes and various gases produces by iron and steel manufacturing processes. The natural resources became demanded greatly because of the enormous population growth.
Harm to health was imminent. The reports state that London experienced a number of fogs-killers that took lives of more than a thousand of people within only three days. The air was polluted by coal burning wastes. The water was polluted by sewage, filthy and industrial wastes. It was the time when cholera brought by such water and took lives of about 57,000 people in the period of 1832-34. Acid rains became a real problem in 1850s. They were caused by plants using coal.
Industrialization had influence on the society as well. Family life became different because people started to move from rural areas to cities. Workers had to labor all day long for a smaller fee because they were replaced by machines. Women became householders in the middle class, but children from poor families had to work as hard as adults. The social differentiation became far more severe. People had to fight with poor living using rather different methods, so it led to the increase in the numbers of crimes. The Industrial Revolution destabilized the society and made it less human, broken apart.
Despite all the negative aftereffects, the Industrial Revolution had led Great Britain to the leadership positions on the world’s arena. Eventually, the material prosperity of people started to grow as their real wages began to increase. Great Britain became the most powerful manufacturing country that supported its economy unprecedentedly. Citizens were able to improve their financial and educational statuses in the society. Technological breakthroughs allowed creating new materials and improving medicine. New metal production technologies provided engineers with more durable metallic constructions that allowed them to make sturdier buildings. Electricity was used to light the streets instead of gas power. The crime rate decreased eventually.
The changes in technology provided manufacturers and factory owners with numerous opportunities. Manufacturers were able to implement new approaches to production of various goods such as steel, agricultural products, etc. and did it far more efficiently. The replacement of people by machines allowed factory owners to produce more and thus, they were able to increase wages to workers.
The social changes and movement of people to the cities increased the need in the appropriate education and made it more demanded in masses. Therefore, the new educational facilities were established: schools, universities, etc. They became available to the middle class that was growing enormously. In general, people got the opportunity to influence their lives more than ever before – all thanks to the Industrial Revolution.
To sum up, the following can be concluded: the Industrial Revolution positively influenced the development of the Great Britain and the entire world, despite all the negative aftereffects. It shaped the world as we know it today. However, the issues the Great Britain experienced back then are present today as well – pollution, social inequalities, urbanization, etc. It has led to globalization issues of today.
The world has become substantially ‘smaller’ today. The reasons are rather obvious: continuous development of the global society erased the boundaries and borders in cultural and geographical meaning and made out planet being perfected as a whole for the majority of its population. In other words, separate countries and continents of the past if compared with 19th or even with the beginning of the 20th century became reachable; people from very different social groups and nations learned to communicate without conflicts and wars (mostly); and economy became global. To sum up, the main reasons of such tremendous changes are technological development and globalization (Garret, 2000).
Considering the technologies, it is clear that humanity has a technological path of development and it has been started thousands of years ago when the first tool was invented. Globalization is different. This trend is not that old. According to Duncan (2006, p. 1), economic globalization is “the trans-national increase in trade and capital transfers across national boundaries.” Another definition provided by Fisher (2003, p. 3) says: “Globalization – the ongoing process of greater interdependence among countries and their citizens – is complex and multifaceted.”
What we can see from these definitions is that globalization involves countries on different levels, would it be economy or others. Globalization can be noticed in every modern society of a developing country. Multinational corporations are present in almost every region on the planet (Maskin and Kremer, 2005). A company from the United States can produce goods in China or Taiwan and sell them in Russia or Europe, and vice versa. McDonald’s, for example, the fast food network, is present in almost every city in the world because of the globalization process. It means that we are all involved into globalization as the current trend of global scale (Jones, 2008).
People from very different regions are able to cooperate, learn, and work with each other regardless of the geographical location – modern communication means provide the workplace with such opportunity. Most of the products manufactured in the world are available in all markets of the world – electronics, cars, clothes, etc. Then, globalization had led to the situation of the overall standardization in the automotive industry, for example. We can drive any car we like and be sure that spare parts can be purchased in the dealer office, regardless to the brand or location of the company-manufacturer (Jones, 2008).
However, globalization has its challenges as well. Despite the overall positive influence, its effects on the culture and economy of the developing countries are rather questionable. Local manufacturers can be pushed from the local markets because they cannot compete with production of multinational corporations - price, for example, can be the determining factor (Maskin and Kremer, 2005). Therefore, globalization can literally destroy local peculiarities of conducting business and thus, influence the culture, and other regional differences.
More to say, globalization ‘standardizes’ the world and makes it look the same in every region. Regardless of the country, the same cars, the same restaurants, the same companies are present in the market (Maskin and Kremer, 2005). Aggressive globalization can even destroy the culture of the region or country by providing standard approaches, standard products, etc. Therefore, this trend should be analyzed and understood as something inevitable, but yet possible to be changed in every particular region.
Globalization has made people of the Earth closer in some way. However, it has brought different issues that do not allow calling this trend either positive or negative. It has both positive and negative sides. Only one thing is beyond any doubts – there are no reasons to stop further development of globalization. The only possible way of its further improvement is the understanding of the problems and their continuous solving.
The world is changing. New technologies are being created, developed and implemented. However, there are areas that require the same skills and knowledge as decades ago to be able to understand the basics and then develop skills in such areas as nanotechnology. Mechanical engineering is such area. Good specialists will be always demanded because the entire world is created by the humans and depends on technical solutions, their appropriate design, and implementation. Robots will play a more and more important role in the existence of mankind.
It is clear that being a mechanical engineer is advantageous and well paid. Thus, for example, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (2011) concluded that the average salary of a mechanical engineer is about $75,000, where the starting salary is about $50,000 and top engineers are able to earn more than $100,000 per year. The biggest plus of this specialty is the diversity of area to be able to work in for any mechanical engineer. The only disadvantage is the need in substantial practical experience before some large-scale company or agency could notice young engineers and offer them a good job.