Week Four Blog Post, Effects of Urbanization and Industrialization

Looking at lectures and readings from this week, one theme stuck out to me. As regions started to modernize, there were periods of rapid urbanization. Due to this urbanization, there was much instance of the creation of leftist and progressive ideas. After listening to the lectures on Germany and Bombay, there were a lot of parallels that were interesting to see.

With Germany’s rapid industrialization following their unification in the late 19th century, massive amounts of people moved into city centers for better opportunity and more money. With availability of capital and resources, industrialists saw it as a gateway to riches. This in turn caused terrible working conditions. Similarly, in the city of Bombay, there was much instance of industrialization as a result the Suez canal, which opened up India to European markets. British bankers took control of farms through their lending. What ensued was major investments, both agriculturally and industrially.

What I found interesting was that in both instances, progressive ideas sprung out of the extreme urbanization. In India, their independence party, which would eventually lead India to independence from Britain, was formed. In Germany, socialist parties rose, which spread nationalistic ideas.

I think these nationalistic ideas, as well as progressive ideas, spread so much during this era as a result of the urbanization. With large groups of people so tightly packed together, the spread of ideas becomes a lot easier. Also, with terrible working conditions, individuals are bound to rebel against such aggression.

I think this can also connect to Kramer’s writing on Philippine relations with the United States. Kramer shared an account from a soldier stating that “the subsequent war would not have broken out if the army of occupation would have treated [Filipinos] as people” (Kramer 174). I think that the overarching idea is that people are bound to react if they are treated poorly. They will look to better their society, whether it be by war or by politics. I think that Germany, Bombay, and the Philippines took very different routes on their historical journeys, but there were many overlapping reasons for the political and social unrest seen in the regions.

Overall, I think the theme of urbanization and industrialization causing great social unrest is very prevalent in all the areas that we discussed and read about this week. People are bound to revolt when they can share their ideas of unhappiness with each other. However, it is interesting to see the different reactions each area has. I think that plays into the different issues each group was facing as a whole. (ie. treatment, working conditions, ect.)

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