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By Eric J. Hobsbawm

A grasp historian's account of the middle-class international of our grandparents and the way its unexpected cave in in international battle I laid the root for the catastrophes of the twentieth century. fifty four pictures, maps, charts.

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They employed more men than any other industrial undertakings. They reached into the centres of great cities, where their triumphal achievements were celebrated in equally triumphal and gigantic railway stations, and into the remotest stretches of the countryside, where no other trace of nineteenth-century civilization penetrated. By the early 1880s (1882) almost 2 billion people a year travelled on them, most of them, naturally, from Europe (72 per cent) and North America (20 per cent). 15 In the 'developed' regions of the west there can by then have been very few men, perhaps even very few of the less mobile women, who had not, at some time in their lives, made contact with the railway.

No doubt their ruling classes were white or at least considered themselves so, and the non-Iberian surnames of European descent among their political elites were and are disproportionately frequent. But even in Japan, improbable though this looks today, 'westernization' seemed sufficiently problematic at this period to suggest that it could only be successfully achieved by an infusion of what we would today call western genes (see The Age of Capital, chapters 8, 14). Such excursions into pseudo-scientific quackery (cf.

Must always be the largest possible reduction in the costs ofproduction, administration and sa with a view to achieving the highest possible profits by eliminating ruinous competition. Carl Duisberg, founder of I. G. Farben, 1903-42 There are times when development in all areas of the capitalist economy - in th field of technology, thefinancialmarkets, commerce, colonies - has matured to th point where an extraordinary expansion of the world market must occur. Worl production as a whole will be raised to a new and more all-embracing level.

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