Hobsbawm discusses the fact that Europe was a strong, developed nation that many countries wanted to base their success off of. They had flourishing technological advancements, population growth, and economic stability. America came through though as a strong competitor as well. Many people migrated to America causing a massive population growth. This growth in population made America create more industry, thus more jobs. Its speed of development really showed its potential and its certainty that it would become a superpower, just like Europe.
Education was a huge factor that distinguished the 'developed' nations from those that were lagging. European culture allowed for education to be prevalent, as well as America. Mass illiteracy was based in Russia, and thus not allowing that nation to expand. However, with a massive depression, the world's economy would become dead. The once flourishing nations were now treading in very deep water. Problems in business and industry did not seem to disappear, preventing the developed nations to escape their problems.
A question I have is not to complex. What could the underdeveloped nations do to get themselves out of their situation? Nothing. They had no resources to help themselves, they were stuck in a position that was thrashed upon them. Do you think they could have done anything to assist in their awful situation?