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Why did some industrialists in nineteenth-century Europe prefer hand labour over machines?

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Some industrialists in nineteenth-century England preferred hand labour over machines because there was no labour shortage in the market, and as a result, there was no problem of high wage costs either. Industrialists did not wish to replace hand labour with machines that would require large capital investment. Also, in industries where the production and amount of labour required were dependent on the seasons, hand labour was preferred for its lower costs. Apart from this, many goods could only be manufactured by hand. Machines could provide mass quantities of a uniform product. But the demand was for intricate designs and shapes; this required human skill, and not mechanical technology. Handmade products also stood for refinement and class status. It was commonly believed that machine-made goods were for export to the colonies.

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