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Chapter 5: Industrialization: “Stuff Would Never Be the Same”

The effects of the political revolutions of the late 18th and early 19th century were huge. Nonetheless, this time period also featured a “revolution” that has a much more direct impact upon the “stuff” of the world today. The Industrial Revolution changed the way that goods were produced. The phrase “manufacturing” literally means “making by hand.” However, after industrialization spread around Europe and around the world, very little is actually made by hand today. Just about everything that you own is made in a factory or from factory-produced resources. This is a double-edged sword: although goods are much cheaper because they are made more efficiently, they are also less unique. Regardless of its good and bad consequences, industrialization is irreversible.

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[Industrial Revolution—the change from hand-made manufacturing to more efficient machine-based production that began in the late 18th/early 19th century and continues to develop to this day]