In the reading this week, Age of Empire, Eric Hobsbawn does (in my opinion) a great job of depicting the transition from an “old world” to a “modern world” that many countries experienced during the late 19th century/early 20th century. I believe he draws exceptional comparisons between the two “worlds” especially when he gets to the subject of the whole world being industrialized, one after the other.
Before industrialization set in, the “old world” admonished the things that set them apart from everyone else, things like their culture. This was always of great importance, but as industrialization began to set in – a new perspective about culture (and other things of that nature) began to come to the forefront. In the “modern world,” being able to invent things and sustaining the trade amongst the entire world-system had become a new top priority. It was these inventions that helped people discover and take advantage of natural resources; trade was booming internationally. This revolution was occurring at such a fast pace that some may be bold enough to make the statement that all the countries weren’t ready for it.
What I would like to know, that maybe should be a discussion question in class one day, is what would have happened had the industrial revolution not occurred? Would society still be as it is today? Would the revolution still have occurred, just maybe a decade or so later? Something else to consider, what if the “modern world” didn’t work the way many thought it would? What would’ve happened had the international trade suddenly collapsed? These are all things that ultimately affect how our society functions today, and I just am curious to know what people think society would be like had these events not occurred?