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By Eric J. Hobsbawm

A grasp historian's account of the middle-class international of our grandparents and the way its unexpected cave in in global battle I laid the root for the catastrophes of the twentieth century. fifty four pictures, maps, charts.

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Worl production as a whole will be raised to a new and more all-embracing level. A this point capital begins to enter upon a period of tempestuous advance. I. Helphand ('Parvus'), 19013 I A distinguished American expert, surveying the world economy in 1889, the year of the foundation of the Socialist International, observed that it had, since 1873, been marked by 'unprecedented disturbance and depression of trade'. ; those which live under a system of free exchange of commodities and those whose exchanges are more or less restricted.

Within the Austrian Empire (omitting Hungary) the Slavs of the Czech lands, the German speakers and the rather less literate Italians and Slovenes represented the advanced parts of the country, the predominantly illiterate Ukrainians, Rumanians and Serbo-Croats the backward regions. Cities with a predominantly illiterate population, as in much of the then 'Third World', would be an even more convincing index of backwardness, since towns were normally much more literate than the countryside. There were some fairly obvious cultural elements in such divergences, for instance the notably greater encouragement of mass education among Protestants and (western) Jews as distinct from Catholic, Muslim and other religions.

Whither, in fact, did it lead? Granted that the global conquest of the world economy, the forward march of a triumphant technology and science on which it was increasingly based, were indeed undeniable, universal, irreversible and therefore inevitable. Granted that by the 1870s the attempts to hold them up or even slow them down were increasingly unrealistic and enfeebled, and that even the forces dedicated to conserving traditional societies already sometimes tried to do so with the weapons of modern society, as preachers of the literal truth of the Bible today use computers and broadcasts.

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