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By Eric J. Hobsbawm

A grasp historian's account of the middle-class global of our grandparents and the way its unexpected cave in in global struggle I laid the root for the catastrophes of the 20 th century. fifty four images, maps, charts.

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The economic foundations of advancing civilization were shaken by tremors. After a generation of unparalleled expansion, the world economy was in crisis. 33 CHAPTER 2 AN ECONOMY CHANGES GEAR Combination has gradually become the soul of modern commercial systems. A. V. Dicey, 1905' The object of any amalgamation of capital and production units ... 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.

For these included not only - as might be expected - the enormous bloc of agriculturalists, but also important bodies of domestic industrialists, seeking to minimize 'overproduction' by at least keeping out the rival foreigner. The Great Depression ended the long era of economic lib* Roughly 15 units of silver= i unit of gold. 38 AN E C O N O M Y CHANGES GEAR eralism (cf. * Starting with Germany and Italy (textiles) in the late 1870s, protective tariffs became a permanent part of the international economic scene, culminating in the early 1890s in the penal tariffs associated with the names of Meline in France (1892) and McKinley in the U S A (1890).!

What could be done about the depression of prices, profits and interest rates? e. the gold sovereign) the exclusive basis of the world payments system. A system based on both gold and silver, which was available in vastly increased quantities especially in America, would surely raise prices through monetary inflation. Currency inflation, which appealed notably to hard-pressed prairie farmers, not to mention the operators of Rocky Mountain silver mines, became a major plank in American populist movements, and the prospect of mankind's crucifixion on a cross of gold inspired the rhetoric of the great people's tribune, William Jennings Bryan (18601925).

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