Industrialism and Capitalism: Separate or Intertwined?

Giddens starts off this chapter by talking about two seemingly intertwined dimensions of modernity, capitalism and industrialism. I say seemingly intertwined because prior to reading this chapter, when I heard the words capitalism or industrialism, one seemed to go hand in hand with the other. Giddens does an exceptional job of creating a distinction between the two. He defines capitalism as, “a system of commodity production, centered upon the relation between private ownership of capital and propertyless wage labour…” (Giddens 55). He then goes on to define industrialism as “the use of inanimate sources of material power in the production of goods, coupled to the central role of machinery in the production process” (Giddens 55-56). Giddens references a common misconception about industrialism. When most people, including myself, hear the word industrialism, they immediately think of the Industrial Revolution and think up images of “coal and steam power and of large, heavy machinery clanking away in grubby workshops and factories” (Giddens 56). Giddens then goes on to explain that industrialism refers to modern technology as well. This is something that never really occurred to me considering the only time the school systems have eve brought up industrialism, it was always about the Industrial revolution.

To be honest, Giddens seemed to lose me later in the chapter when he started to talk about these dimensions of modernity in a global context. It was almost as if he began to contradict himself. Earlier, as I previously mentioned, he made a clear split between capitalism and industrialism that was easy to see and understand. However, when the ideas come full circle and start to enter the global scheme of things, the two are clearly intertwined and codependent on one another. I only noticed one time in which Giddens made a clear case that the two could arguably be separate. On page 77, Giddens begins to talk about the globalization of media. He goes on to explain that “it is not that people are contingently aware of many events, from all over the world, of which previously they would have remained ignorant” (Giddens 77), but rather “the global extension of modernity would be impossible were it not for the pooling of knowledge which is represented by the ‘news’” (Giddens 77-78). He makes a clear argument that industrialization has advanced society for the better and has allowed us to move forward. However, I have a problem with this statement because he used the word “news”. In today’s day and age, the news industry makes billions every year by sharing this same information Giddens talks about. I believe this clearly shows that capitalism and industrialization are intertwined and codependent.

3 thoughts on “Industrialism and Capitalism: Separate or Intertwined?

  1. Personally, I believe that your analysis of the second chapter of Giddens’ novel was definitely a good representation of the events that occurred within the chapter. It was extremely helpful when you quoted Giddens, saying, “He defines capitalism as, “a system of commodity production, centered upon the relation between private ownership of capital and propertyless wage labour…” (Giddens 55). He then goes on to define industrialism as “the use of inanimate sources of material power in the production of goods, coupled to the central role of machinery in the production process” (Giddens 55-56). This properly distinguishes the differences between the words industrialism and capitalism and it further expresses Giddens’ beliefs concerning these words. It was also rather interesting how you designated a second paragraph explaining how Giddens’ threw you off at one point, I can relate to what you are saying because I too felt the same way upon reading that section of the chapter. You also demonstrated Harris’ technique of extending in your last few sentences when you brought up your problem with his usage of the word “news”. It definitely helped demonstrate the thought that Giddens “contradicted” himself in a way, which is a thought that I had while reading this chapter as well. Overall, I believe this was a more than adequate post, you covered both the positives and the negatives about the chapter which was great. Keep up the good work.

    -CP

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  2. I find Giddens in this chapter to be very confusing also, but I believe he was trying to expand across a very broad subject by expanding upon instances in today’s society where they are both intertwined, and some instances in which they are not. This is similar to his explanation of the definition of post-modernity and when it is an appropriate reference. When you wrote, “However, when the ideas come full circle, and start to enter the global scheme of things, the two are clearly intertwined and co-dependent on each other.” I was really interested in your extrapolation of your opinion, but didn’t see any personal examples any further in your post. This may be something to consider: Giddens writes on page 60, “In the industrialized sectors of the globe–and, increasingly, elsewhere—human beings live in a ‘created environment’, an environment of action which is, of course, physical but no longer just natural.” I believe here he may be referring to a connection with industrialization and modernity by a disconnection with nature and humans, because we no longer live in a space related to nature, due to increased globalization. Now with this example from the text, can you think of some example where industrialization is connected with modernity but disconnected to nature (Earth)?

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  3. In the blog Industrialism and Capitalism, you discuss the relationship between capitalism and industrialization. They are seen as ‘seemingly intertwined’ and later ‘the two are clearly intertwined and codependent on one another’. Perhaps capitalism and industrialism could be perceived as independent if you were to think of them on a much smaller scale. The broad concept of capitalism could be narrowed to just the theory of providing factors of production, goods and services in the free market. The scope of Industrialism could also be narrowed and defined as developing and using any technology, new or old, to increase output. With this in mind, could you see how they could be independent?

    I could really relate and agree with you that that thoughts of the industrial revolution bring to mind images of “coal and steam power and of large, heavy machinery clanking away in grubby workshops and factories”. Your honesty concerning getting lost while considering industrialism and capitalism against the global context was refreshing – I feel that way too.
    -Chris

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