In the first part of chapter 5 in The Age of Empire, Hobsbawm explains how this period was a period of economic expansion. Hobsbawm states this time period as a period where the industry was a sort of marriage between manual labor and steam technology. The industry was booming with new technology but old skills such as smiths and locksmiths were still required. The craft journeymen formed the most active and educated group in developing proletariat of early economics. Proletariats are members of a lower social class and this class was growing because there was such an abundance of jobs during this period of economic expansion. So many jobs were opening and many were getting jobs because the industrial labor required no real skills. Coal mining was a major part of the industry because steam was the major source of energy. Cheap work came from the replacement of manual labor with mechanization. Blue-collar workers were now outnumbered. Many areas started working as large firms in plants because this created heavy industry.
From these large firms being created, the development of political groups formed. Socialist labor parties were established as mass forces in Europe. The socialist parties were an important factor in national politics. However, my question is did this great age of industrialization and socialism ever take a turn for the worse? With all these people coming together, there has to be room for conflict. When did it start to turn downhill and how did the huge mass of people stay balanced?