In my last post, I discussed the transition that the countries were experiencing as they transitioned from an “old world” to a “modern world” and what some of the beginning effects of this transition were. In this week’s reading of Age of Empire, Eric Hobsbawn writes a bit more about life at the beginning of the industrialization era. The total number and percentage of wage works began to grow significantly throughout the world. People were foregoing their commons jobs as craftsmen and farmers, and setting their sights on joining the workforce. There was a significant decrease in rural population, dropping from approximately 65% in 1870 to approximately 35% in 1910. This “surge” in entering the workforce obviously brought along another set of problems no one was anticipating. The demand for higher wages began to take place and labor & trade unions began to form. Representing these workers was the Socialist Party who would soon begin to have a huge presence.
Aside from the industrialization era rushing in a new style of workforce for many countries, it also introduced an all-too-well-known theory called “socialism.” Socialist Parties began to sprout up all across the world, but in particular – in Europe. Struggling against capitalism and motivated by the Marxist doctrine, these parties allowed the working class to be represented. Though no one clearly perceived what they meant, these socialistic parties strived for what they considered to be a “better future.” Much like the rapid embrace of the modern world, socialist parties spread like wildfire and certain took a large presence over the world.
Something that I would like to see further investigated is – why do you think everything always happened in such a “rush” manner?? Why were people so quick to embrace the modern world? Why were people so quick to leave their job (what they were good at) and seek out to join the workforce? Why were socialist parties so quick to form and why did they grow so quickly? Did nobody ever stop to question why they were doing what they were doing?