26 November 2009

Modernity: The Modern or Industrial Age

To understand modernity correctly, we must understand the implications of the Industrial Revolution (1775-1850):

1. The Industrial Revolution, which took place in 18th century England, gave birth to machines and factories (modern industry).

2. The Industrial Revolution was not merely a technological, or economic, change. It brought about political, and cultural, changes as well. Indeed, it changed society itself.

3. The Industrial Revolution was a fundamental change in how man produces goods, or satisfies his wants. The last time such a fundamental change occurred was when agriculture was invented – around 10,000 BC (12,000 years ago).

4. Whenever there is such a fundamental change in how man produces goods, it is not just technology or economy that changes, but also politics and culture. Indeed, society itself changes.

5. The Industrial Revolution was such a change. (That's why it's called "Revolution")

6. The Industrial Revolution marked the end of the Agricultural Age, which lasted for 12,000 years, and the beginning of a new Age in the history of mankind: the Industrial Age.

7. Each Age is defined by its own technology, economy, politics and culture (T-E-P-C) – in the broadest sense. Just as the Agricultural Age had a certain T-E-P-C, similarly the Industrial Age also has its own T-E-P-C.

8. The Industrial Revolution may have occurred first in the West, but it was not a Western development. It was a human development. That is, it concerns the whole of mankind, not just Europe.

9. Just as agriculture began first in Sumeria (around 10,000 BC) and then spread to other ancient civilisations (Egypt, India, China), similarly, modern industry began first in Europe and then spread/is spreading to other civilisations (first to America and Japan, now to China and India).

10. In modern industry, production is more. That is, wealth created is more. So an industrial society has more wealth than a non-industrialised society. Wealth means economic strength. Thus an industrialised society is stronger than a non-industrialised society. Therefore we have to industrialise.


1. The term 'modern industry' is used to distinguish it from the earlier 'cottage industry' where manufacturing was done by artisans and craftsmen in their homes and workshops, using simple tools.

6. The terms 'Agricultural' and 'Industrial' are used in a relative sense – to denote which sector dominates the economy (in value of total output) and society (in population employed).

8. Due to certain geographical and historical factors, the Industrial Revolution happened to take place first in Europe, that's all.

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