Modern age is Mechanical age. In fact Machinery began to dominate man-power in productive affairs after the industrialization. Especially the improvements and innovations made in science and technology after First and Second world wars led to the adoption of latest technology and up-to-date Machinery. There are some advantages and disadvantages of Machinery, which are explained below.
Advantages Of Machines In Industries
1. Predominance over Nature: Machines play an important role in getting control over the nature. Before the invention of machines, Man completely depended on the Nature for his day-to-day earnings and production activities. Machines increased the power of man and enabled him to utilize the powers of Nature. For example, generations of electricity from waterfalls, drilling in big irrigation projects, are possible due to the machines.
2. Relief to labourers: Machines reduce the burden of laborers. Certain Operations like ploughing the land, weighing the heavy objects, transporting large sized equipment etc can’t be done by labourers. Such operations can be done by the machines only. The earth-removers, tractors, bull-dossers, cranes etc. are some of the examples of machines which assist labourers in their regular work in factories.
3. More output: Machines increase output to a great extent. Machines can do more work within a little time than labourers.
4. Fall in costs: Machines also make it possible to complete productive operations with minimum costs.
5. Cheaper prices: Machines enable to supply goods at lower prices. As the cost of production is less, the prices of various goods decrease. This led to the provision of goods at lower price.
6. Standard goods: Machines help us to produce standard goods.
7. Minute activities: Machines enable it to perform minute and complex operations like assembling of different parts in Watch etc. without any difficulty. For example, the introduction of laser rays enabled the doctors to cure severe chronic diseases like cancer, etc without loss of blood.
8. Migration of labour: Machines led to the migration of labour. As, all operations are done by machines, it become very easy for the labourers to get employment at various places.
9. More employment: Machines led to the large scale production. This in turn leads to the creation of more employment opportunities to the people.
Disadvantages Of Machines In Industries
Although machines led to the increase in production, it has they have following disadvantages.
1. Destroys human incentive: Machines destroy the incentive, independence and initiative of individuals. It makes them slaves. They perform activities in a mechanical way. They do not exert any personal interest in their work.
2. Artistic goods can’t be produced: Machines produce goods of same quality without any change in their form, appearance and quality. So they may not possess artistic values. Many persons may not like to buy such goods. Moreover the competitions from machine-made goods destroy demand for artistic goods.
3. Factory system: Machines led to the development of factory system. Several evils are inherent in the factory system.
4. Temporary unemployment: Displacement of labourers due to the machines led to the creation of temporary employment problem. This made the labourers to starve without any subsistence.
5. Deterioration of Moral values: Machines completely deteriorated the moral values of individuals. It led to the creation of struggle between the employers and the workers. Unhygienic conditions, traffic problems, overcrowding etc are the social evils which we found in those places where large scale production prevail.
Does Machines Create Unemployment?
Some economists and trade union leaders expressed the fear that machines create unemployment. They argued that labourers are thrown out of employment as machines were installed in their place. But there are several economists who argued that unemployment arising due to machines is a temporary phenomenon. They believed that employment opportunities can be increased in the long period. They forwarded the following argument in support of their belief. Machines increases output and reduce cost of production. This leads to a decrease in prices. Demand for commodities increase due to a fall in price. In order to meet the increase in demand, machines are introduced. In this way in the long period employment opportunities will increase. But there are some doubts regarding this view. We can’t say exactly how many unemployed labourers can get employment opportunities due to the increase in production. Moreover technological improvements become a regular feature. But due to the slow expansion of industries, all the displaced labourers may not get employment opportunities. That is why labourers oppose the introduction of machines in industries. We may conclude by saying that a cautious policy should be followed in introducing machines in industries.