Hobsbawm begins this section by discussing how the world of the late eighteen hundreds was now completely global, in a sense that the time for true discovery had come and passed. The world was now charted extensively, leaving the only exploration in the north and south poles, and to regions not usually visited, otherwise known as tourism. The world was also more populated during this period. For example, Hobsbawm points out the case of the Americas, which rose from around seven million to one hundred and sixty million in a one hundred year period (Hobsbawm 14). Both this and the connecting of the world, becoming geographically tinier, attributed to solidifying the exchange of goods and services between countries.
Something I found interesting was the comparison Hobsbawm makes between the gross national product per capita between the modern, “developed” countries and the same nations between seventeen-fifty and eighteen hundred. These figures today would place every one of these nations in the category of being Third World, the lowest point on the totem poll. However, Hobsbawm believes this was a problem brought on by the Chinese Empire. During this time period, around one-third of the world’s population resided in China. It was intriguing to me that the Chinese standard of living was equal too, or possibly superior to the powerful European nations. However, the western nations were expanding with an economic revolution which would re-shape the world. These nations would eventually begin to pull away from Third World nations, creating a new hierarchy in the economic power struggle.
Do you believe the emergence of modern technology in Second and Third world countries accompanied by the sever recession in the United States is a foreshadowing to our nation being replaced as one of the top nations in the world? Is the United States time on top coming to an end?