Britain : Industrialization and Utilitarianism
- by IAS Score
England was the 1st Country to experience the effects of the industrial revolution and during the 1st half of our classical period, was politically and economically in advance of all other European societies. In England, Industrialization come about without out widespread governmental assistance.
The relatively large and powerful bourgeoisie class in England was able to achieve political and ideological hegemony slowly and peaceably, without having to think themselves as a revolutionary class who had violently seized control of the state. The two major parties The Whigs and the Tories (later liberals and conservatives), though had divergent polices but they agreed on fundaments. The English Bourgeoisielook for granted the fact that their highly successful economy was in a state of natural balance.
In opposition to the collectivist and interventionist ideas held by many French Theorist, English conception of the natural balance of the market economy and English belief in the general utility of enlightened self-interest led to the conclusion that there was no contradiction between action that is taken for the social or collective good and actions that is taker for reasons of self interest. Deregulation, decentralization and political freedom were important values during 1800s. These values were expressed ideologically and were used against the privileges of the landed aristocracy by the commercial and business classes. The rapid industrialization effectively fostered the belief the world could and should be improved by the rational actions of self-interested individuals. Unlike France, Where equality came to be thought of as equality of outcome, in England equality predominantly meant equality to compete and therefore inequality of outcome.
2. Thus, Durkheim argues, it was English competitive individualism that made the philosophical school of utilitarianism possible and meaningful. This idea of Utilitarianism was central to the sociological theory of Herbert Spencer.