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Academy College Views of Capitalism as Expressed by Adams Smith & Karl Marx HW

Academy College Views of Capitalism as Expressed by Adams Smith & Karl Marx HW

Question Description

1. Compare and contrast the views of capitalism as expressed by Adam Smith and Karl Marx. Whose view is more persuasive?

  • Note that both Smith and Marx are talking about capitalism. This is not a question of capitalism vs. Socialism.

    use the following format:

    I. Introduction paragraph

    a. background on the issue

    b. your specific answer to the question

    c. list your examples

    II. Body paragraphs on your examples/evidence

    Start each body paragraph with a topic sentence.

    III. Conclusion paragraph summing up your essay

    Great Britain and the Industrial Revolution

    ◆ Why Great Britain? Great Britain was created by the Act of Union (1707) that joined England and Scotland, two separate kingdoms making up the larger of the two main British Isles. Ireland, the kingdom on the smaller island, was as much a colony of Britain as was New York or New Jersey. During the seventeenth century both England and Scotland had endured a long period of turmoil as the landholding aristocracy fought to limit the power of monarchs who sought, like Louis XIV, to have absolute power. In contrast to France, the new kingdom of Great Britain emerged from this strife as a constitutional monarchy in which ultimate political power was held by a Parliament dominated by the aristocracy. Britain was a leading commercial nation in the middle of the eighteenth century and intensely proud that its worldwide trade had increased by almost 500 percent since 1700. Even with the loss of the thirteen American colonies, Britain’s military successes against France were gaining it an ever growing overseas empire. But size was not the main reason industrialization took root first in Britain. There were also several differences between the political, economic, and social structures of Great Britain and its continental rivals that made Britain the birthplace of the industrial world. Britain’s government was more liberal than any other of the monarchies of Europe. While Britain was a monarchy, its real rulers were the landed aristocrats of Parliament. In France, before the Revolution of 1789, a nobleman who engaged in business risked dérogation, loss of his legal privileges (especially his tax exemption). In Britain, everyone paid taxes so nobles and commoners alike flocked to invest in state- chartered trading monopolies (such as the British East India Company) and the Bank of England (whose initial shareholders included pharmacists, sailors, and cloth workers as well as thirty Members of Parliament and nine Peers of the Realm). The active pursuit of international trade brought tremendous capital resources into Great Britain, and the Bank of England (established 1694) guaranteed merchant investors a solid currency. The French did not even have a national bank until Napoleon created one in 1801. The enterprising owners of London’s coffee houses chalked up the latest stock prices on slate boards, creating the world’s first stock exchange. Equally important was the Agricultural Revolution, a series of agricultural improvements during the eighteenth century that just about doubled Great Britain’s agricultural output even though there had been a 28 percent drop in the farming population. Whether it was iron plows for more efficient soil turning, inventing a drill planter to set each seed at just the right depth for any crop, or alternating wheat with crops that actually put nutrients back into the soil so land did not have to be left unused to restore its fertility, Englishmen scoured Europe for ways to make farming more profitable. Many of the techniques they brought back had been pioneered by the Dutch, but there was a larger scope for their use in Britain. This was not only good business but exactly what Francis Bacon had called for during the Scientific Revolution of the century before: using science to improve people’s lives. Agricultural journals publicized each advance and by the end of the eighteenth century Britain had the richest and healthiest population in Europe. The new agricultural methods were most efficient when they were used on large tracts of land, but England’s landed estates had been subdivided into small tenancies for centuries. Many tenants held formal rights to graze their farm animals on large open tracts called commons because the tenants shared the use of the pasture. Other workers, called cottagers because they lived in small houses (cottages) supplied by the landowner, were also allowed to use the commons without having a formal lease. Between 1760 and 1840, Parliament passed hundreds of measures permitting landlords to enclose over more than seven million acres of commons for private use. These Enclosure Acts required tenants to pay for fencing the land they enclosed. Those who could not afford to do so lost the right to use the commons. Cottagers were not even given the opportunity to pay for fencing because they had no leases. Much of the enclosed land was used for sheep grazing instead of for farming because woolen cloth was Britain’s largest and most profitable export. The Enclosure Acts benefitted the larger economy. But enclosure forced thousands of once selfsufficient farmers off the land. Some became day laborers on those larger farms, but many more moved to the cities and became the world’s first industrial work force. Better diet and increased output from commercial farming supported dramatic population growth. Great Britain’s population soared from 8.3 million in 1770 to 14.2 million by 1821. Yet the Industrial Revolution would never have begun in Britain had it lacked iron and coal reserves. These natural resources were vital requirements for industrial growth and both were abundant in Great Britain. The government of Great Britain was particularly determined to develop coal as a fuel reserve because of the wood lost for fuel as shipbuilding increased and forests were cut down to free land for farming. British capital, the wealth accumulated by merchants and businessmen, financed the rapid development of national coal and iron deposits during the eighteenth century. In 1705, Thomas Newcomen (1663–1729) invented a steam- powered pump to clear water out of deep mine shafts. This early steam engine made the collieries (coal mines) far more productive and profitable. Then the coal could be used to fire the furnaces and make the coke (carbon residue of burned coal) to turn brittle iron into stronger, flexible steel. That steel would form the framework for bridges, rails, tankers, cannon, warships, and skyscrapers. Equally importantly, these technological innovations were transforming British society just as political revolution was beginning in France. The violence and political turmoil that flowed from the French Revolution (1789–1799) and the Napoleonic Wars (1799–1815) prevented the rest of Europe from even trying to catch up to Britain. As the armies of France, Britain, Austria, and Prussia fought each other on the mainland, the island of Great Britain continued to transform itself.

    ◆ Cloth and Steam Ever since the British East India Company introduced Indian cottons to the British market during the seventeenth century, Britain’s consumers had flocked to buy them. Local producers wanted to increase their profits by bringing in raw cotton from India and manufacturing the cloth themselves. In 1733, John Kay (1704–1764) invented a flying shuttle that automatically moved thread across a loom. Because weavers no longer needed an assistant to move the shuttle across a wide bolt of cloth, one person could now do the work of two. Weavers were thrown out of work because the production of thread, still spun by hand on a wheel, could not keep pace with the demands of the larger, faster looms. In 1761 the Royal Society offered a prize for a faster spinning machine, which may have inspired James Hargreaves (1732–1778) to invent his spinning jenny (1764), a machine that spun eight threads at the same time. One spinner now did the work of eight. More weavers were needed but now many spinners were out of work. Waves of traderelated unemployment became a common feature of the Industrial Revolution as each new machine replaced another group of workers. The textile mills of the early Industrial Revolution were located near streams since waterpower could drive machinery more efficiently than could human muscle. The water frame, developed by Richard Arkwright (1732–1792) in 1769, a further adaptation of spinning machinery, could put thread on over a hundred spindles at once. Manufacturers soon discovered that nature was an unreliable business partner, however: streams could run dry. A more secure power source was necessary, and, fortunately, James Watt (1736–1819) of Glasgow had developed a more efficient version of the steam engine that could solve that problem. In 1764, Watt’s job as scientific- instrument maker for Glasgow University meant he had to repair its Newcomen steam engine. Watt was struck by the amount of energy it wasted because the water was boiled for steam and then cooled for reuse in the same chamber. Within a year, Watt had invented a way to separate the boiling from the cooling chambers while still recirculating the water. He continued to improve his steam engine, obtaining patents for the new condenser (cooling chamber), rotary motion, double- acting pistons, parallel rods, and a pressure gauge.

    He even set up a company to manufacture the new engine. Watt’s engine could be used not only to pump out a flooded mine (as had Newcomen’s engine), but also to transfer power efficiently to the cranks, cogs, pulleys, and belts of almost any factory: factories no longer had to be built near streams and rivers. By end of the century, Watt’s steam engines were increasing productivity in mines, ironworks, cotton mills, paper mills, and distilleries. Freed from dependence on waterpower, factories could now be located anywhere; farm tenants dispossessed by enclosure migrated to cities to work in the new factories. Productivity soared. By 1830 British factories were churning out 347 million yards of cotton cloth a year. “Body linen” (so called because it was made of linen cloth, a luxury product) had once been the privilege of wealth. Now every factory worker could afford cheap cotton underwear. New cities devoted to the textile trade became industrial giants. For example, the small town of Manchester had only 17,000 people in 1750, but became a thriving city of 367,000 a century later. The mechanical production of cloth was the stimulus that transformed British society and made Great Britain the “workshop of the world.”

    ◆ Transportation As factories and new cities spread across Britain, people began to look for a faster, cheaper way to move raw materials to the factories and finished goods from the factories to the customers. Britain already had a vast fleet of ships to handle trade with its colonies and the world, and Parliament had approved government spending to improve Britain’s harbors. Then, in 1807, the American Robert Fulton (1765–1815) successfully mounted a steam engine on a ship and inaugurated a new type of water travel. By the end of the nineteenth century the time it took to cross the Atlantic Ocean had been reduced from two months to about a week. Speedy delivery of raw materials for the industrial system was assured. On land, however, Britain’s roads proved inadequate to handle the enormous horse and wagon traffic necessary to supply raw materials to factories and haul their products to port. New roads had to be built. Even with new roads, land transportation was very expensive as horses and drivers had to be fed along the way and put up for the night. The earliest factories, which had been built alongside rivers, moved their goods by boat. So Britain built canals (man- made waterways) to link up its mines, factories, rivers, and ports. The Sankey Navigation Canal (1757), connecting coal fields to the Mersey River, was the first step in tying the country together. By 1850, Britain’s canal system had grown from 1,000 to 4,250 miles. Canals were only one of the transportation innovations fostered by the Industrial Revolution. The steam- powered railroad engine changed Great Britain even more than had the canals. Several British inventors, including James Watt, had patented locomotive designs, but the first one to prove practical was that designed in 1814 by mine mechanic George Stephenson (1781–1848) to move coal from the mine to waiting canal barges. It could only run at four miles per hour uphill loaded with 30 tons of coal, but it was still doing the work of 50 horses. On September 18, 1830, his new engine, the Rocket (clocked at 29 miles per hour in test runs) inaugurated the brand new 60- mile- long Liverpool- Manchester Railway linking the two cities and demonstrating that human bodies, defying dire medical predictions, were able to stand the physical stress of such speed. One of the invited guests decided to make too close an inspection of the track and became railroading’s first fatality, but the accident was hushed up for fear of scaring off potential customers. For the first time in the history of the world it was cheaper to ship goods by land than by sea. By 1850 locomotive speeds of 50 m.p.h. were commonplace. Originally intended to serve factory needs, railroads soon became the preferred mode of passenger travel. Britain’s 800 miles of track in 1840 grew to 6,600 miles by 1850. Entrepreneurs in the United States, inspired by reports of British advances, opened the first American railroad in 1830, with France following in 1837.

    ◆ Iron, Steel, and War The increasing supply of coal made possible the creation of large amounts of coke, a carbonized residue of coal vital to iron smelting. Spurred on by the profits to be won from the military contracts supporting British imperial expansion, Abraham Darby (1678–1717) pioneered the use of coke in his iron mills at Coalbrookdale. His innovations resulted in a more moldable iron produced on a much larger scale than ever before. A “puddling” process developed by Henry Cort (1740–1800) in 1784 to burn away additional carbon from large batches of molten iron ore made iron that was even easier to shape, increasing its usefulness. Britain’s annual iron production jumped from 17,000 tons in 1740 to 2 million tons by 1840, making it the world’s top producer. The cannon made from some of that iron helped Britain triumph in its wars against Napoleon. As late as 1850 Britain led the world in producing iron, turning out some 2.5 million tons a year, but only 60,000 of those tons were steel. Steel was expensive to make because of the difficulty of removing all the contaminants contained in iron ore. An American, William Kelly (1811–1888), solved this industrial dilemma in 1851 by using a blast of air to “decarburize” molten iron, converting it to steel quickly and cheaply. The Englishman Sir Henry Bessemer (1813–1896), who also experimented with an air blast furnace, bought out Kelly’s patent and further developed the process that still bears his name. With innovations like the Bessemer Converter making it easier to turn brittle and easily rusting iron into flexible, rust- resistant steel, steel became the basic commodity for the construction of railroads, ships, bridges, skyscrapers, and weapons. With ships still powered by the wind in their sails, all British warships needed dozens of pulley blocks to haul the sails up and down to catch the wind. Those pulley blocks needed frequent replacement. For most of the eighteenth century, a great arsenal at Portsmouth had employed a skilled work force of 110 men who hand- shaped the pulleys needed by the world’s most powerful navy. In 1808, a panel of admirals approved an engineering plan to use 43 newly designed machines driven by a single steam engine to manufacture the blocks. From then on the 100,000 pulley blocks used each year by the navy were produced by just ten unskilled laborers. The British navy saved a fortune in labor costs, but over a hundred skilled workmen had to find new employment. In another example of the ripple effects of industrialization, John Wilkinson (1728–1808) used hardened steel to create the tougher cutting edge necessary to precisely bore engine cylinders. Boring machines with Wilkinson’s blades were so sharp they could cut iron efficiently, transforming a process that had been slow and labor- intensive. The jobs lost in the transformation were more than equaled by those created by the increased demand for iron and steel. Wilkinson’s innovation helped make possible both Watt’s high- efficiency steam engines and larger cannons that were more accurate because their barrels were cut straighter and more precisely. The same technology that made Watt’s steam engine possible also increased the destructive capacity of British artillery and helped it sweep Napoleon’s navy from the seas. Even industrialized cloth production played its part. Despite the fact that France was at war with Great Britain, Napoleon ignored his own boycott of British goods and accepted the smuggling of British cloth so that his armies could be clothed more cheaply. Napoleon’s decision increased British wealth and ultimately helped his enemy overthrow him.

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