2296 industrial revolution

industrializing societies experienced a phase of
rapid population growth.
Rising productivity of labor combined with
tapering population growth at the conclusion
of the demographic transition eventually pro
duced a remarkable rise in living standards for a
majority of the population of industrial socie
ties, refuting the trend of impoverishment pro
phesied by Marx.
Declining birth rates entailed much smaller
families. The trend was dramatic: of British
couples married around 1860, 63 percent had
five children or more; of those married around
1925, only 12 percent did (Nolan & Lenski 2004:
281). Smaller family size reduced demands on
women in the household, facilitated employment
of women outside the home, and contributed
to make women (and individuals in general)
increasingly independent from the family.
With the decline in family farms and home
based industry the household ceased to be
the principal unit of production. In a parallel
trend the family lost a number of its traditional
functions, including caring for the sick and
the elderly, part of the socialization of children,
and even food preparation; these activities
were taken over by specialized organizations
such as hospitals, retirement homes, schools,
and makers of frozen dinners. Raising children,
their early socialization, and the provision of
emotional support for members have remained
important functions of the family in industrial
societies. The development of labor saving
machines for household tasks during the twen
tieth century further freed women for outside
employment.
Greater independence from the family due to
employment opportunities for women and the
economic safety net provided in some measure
by most industrial societies cannot be unrelated
to the secular increase in divorce rate (a trend
also marked by major upward and downward
swings) that affected most industrial societies.

Ideology and Politics

In the ideological realm industrialization wit
nessed the emergence of new secular ideologies,
including free market capitalism (Smith 1976
[1776]), and socialism in two principal flavors:
democratic and revolutionary. The polity was
transformed by the remarkably steady progres
sion of democratic republicanism or mass democ
racy, i.e., a system of government where
political decisions are made by representatives
elected by the entire citizenry. Using franchise
or electoral turnout as an indicator, it appears
that democracy has increased steadily from the
early 1800s, only temporarily interrupted by
the fascist takeovers of the 1920s and 1930s
(Flora 1983; Nolan & Lenski 2004). The demo
cratic trend can also be seen in the passage of
successive legislative milestones such as univer
sal male voting, women suffrage, or Jewish
emancipation (Davies 1998).
Another political trend was growing support
for democratic socialism in many industrial
countries, often with the support of working
class organizations such as trade unions. Social
democratic parties have achieved many of the
goals of socialism, collectively referred to as the
welfare state. These goals include social secur
ity, state pension systems, unemployment com
pensation, national health care, free education
at all levels, family allowances, subsidized
childcare, and so on. The extent to which the
welfare state has been achieved varies consider
ably among modern industrial nations, being
less developed in the US than in most Eur
opean countries (Esping Andersen 1990).
The development of the welfare state and
other government activities has produced mas
sive increases in the size of government in
all industrial societies, whether size is measured
as number of employees or as government share
of gross domestic product. Big government
is strongly correlated with the development
of the welfare state (e.g., Nolan & Lenski
2004: 233).
Fewer people in industrial societies today
attend religious services or believe in God.
The decline in traditional religious beliefs has
been less marked in the US, a particularity
attributed variously to the historical salience
of religion in the countrys origins, the variety
of denominations and resulting competition
for members (resulting in a more efficient
recruitment of believers), or the relative failure
of socialist ideologies in the US (Lipset &
Marks 2000). It is possible that the trend of
religious skepticism is partly independent of