Concept and Origin of Work

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Work in the 22nd century holds more significance to the society more than any other activity, the ultimate goal of almost everyone is to find work, in the contemporary society work is regarded as commodity that pays out money and money is off value to a society so in order for people to get money most of them have to work and there’s often high competition in searching for work which results in high unemployment rates because as things stand in South African youth unemployment has escalated to 74% where 7 out of 10 people are out work. This assignment then is set out to describe the origins of work drawing back to what was work before the domination of the Industrial Revolution and what was the state of work on the don of the Industrial Revolution but before touching upon all that it will firstly explain the concept of work.

The Concept of Work

In the contemporary society there is nothing important as work almost everyone longs for stable work and the question one may ask themselves is what is work exactly and in general terms work can be defined as the exertion of effort that is putted in to achieve a certain goal and in the economical or industrial perspective work can be defined as a set of activities that are done by people with the objective of generating end results which are goods and services work can be done for substance use where individuals produce goods and services for their own families or the community and the part of work is one that is done with the motive of getting paid this the one that includes the terms employer and employee (Eichler & Matthews, 2004).

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Work Before the Industrial Revolution

Work is an old concept in history, one may find that people had always been working even before the Industrial Revolution work existed in the agrarian society that existed before the Industrial Revolution people had been working for survival at these times subsistence agriculture was mostly practiced where males were responsible for the welfare of livestock’s and women were responsible for the grazing of crops, the plants that were harvested from the farms were eaten by the farmer and their family and surplus food was shared amongst the community this type of work didn’t involve any form of payment as the farmer planted for their families, it mostly dominated the world before the Industrial Revolution and it ceased to exist upon the rise of the Industrial Revolution (Coward, 1969).

The State of Work on the First Industrial Revolution

The First Industrial Revolution began in England in about 1750 to 1760 where it changed most of the human activities and it is regarded as the turning point of human history where it transformed human and animal labor into machinery such as steam engines and rolling processes for making iron. One of the many highlights of the Industrial Revolution is how it changed the meaning of work as it shifted subsistence production to high scale production that was to be used for commercial purposes, it brought a whole different meaning to why people have to work as it brought the concept of wages in process of work and created a high gap between the poor and rich people and created the need to work for a wage (Mohajan, 2019).

The First Industrial Revolution shifted the economy from agrarian to industrial where people now had to work in the factories but they firstly created the need for people to work in these factories where the wealth people brought land from the farm owners which was land that they used farm for their families others were forceful evicted from their land and when people didn’t have land they had nothing that was going to give them income therefore they had to work in these farms in order to earn wages and others had to relocate to the cities to find work in the industries, working in the industries was now a basic need for people in order for them to survive (Mohajan, 2019).

Working Conditions in the Era of the Industrial Revolution

The Industrial Revolution brought progress in human as it made certain activities to done easier but the working conditions under these industries weren’t easy for workers as they were poor and posed danger to the lives of workers. During this era employee had to work long hours which varied from 12 hours and more while working six days a week there weren’t any days that they had to take off, while working these long hours they weren’t expected to show any signs or signs of fatigue or sickness as they would get fired for that, the employers often did as they pleased because there weren’t any regulations prohibited from what is referred to today as unfair dismissal (Brasch, 2014).

Work that was done in these industries was very some had to work with machines that had no safety features and those that worked in the mines were working under tiny tunnels that would collapse at any time but the employers had no interest in improving these conditions and injury and death of workers at the working place was a common thing. Children were also subjected to work as there were laws that prohibited child labor the employers would hire children because they would pay them low wages without any complain and they would fit in places where adults couldn’t. The factories posed many unsafe fire hazards that could be set of by any smallest spark (Brasch, 2014).

Low Wages

Other than working on poor conditions workers were given low wages which weren’t equivalent to the type of work they performed and the long hours they worked per day. The capitalist employers could set out wages as they please because many people were in need of work to a point where they could work for any wage as long as they received some payment. The males were the ones that received more wages and they were followed by the females who received less than the males but it was more compared to the one that was received by the children, at this time there weren’t any legislations that regulated a minimum wage to be paid to the employees as a result employees were subjected to exploitation (Griffin, 2018).

Characteristics of the First Industrial Revolution

Division of Labor

The Industrial Revolution is characterized by the division of labor where an individual specializes in performing one tasks which is part of a series of tasks that are there to produce an end product the employers divided labor with the objective of minimizing the production costs where by goods are produced at lower production costs because division of labor reduced the need for training because instead of learning every aspect of production workers needed to one portion of it and specialize on that and when workers focused on only one task of work they were likely to perform well at that task which meant that the company would produce goods that are of quality (Ashton, 1948).

Mass Production

Converse to agrarian society which focused on subsistence production the Industrial Revolution shifted the production of goods and services from being family oriented to a commercial state that was achieved through mass production where goods were produced in mass batches where they would be sold in different markets. Mass production meant that the factories had to employ a high number of workers to perform the required tasks for this production and almost all of the time they had the required workers which were often low skilled workers that would be paid low wages as they used motive of people seeing the need for working in order to survive (Ford, 1986).


The rise of the Industrial Revolution brought a whole different meaning to the meaning of work the reason for why people had to changed completely and work was commodified. The Industrial Revolution is mostly associated with colonization where wealthy people stripped people of their land so they wouldn’t have any means for survival and they settle for employment in factories where they had to endure long hours of work, working under poor conditions, under an exploitive labor system. The Industrial Revolution was a good innovation for human kind but it was the way it came about that made it seem like an evil deed when it’s associated with colonizers.

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