J’ai toujours eu du mal à voir où se situait le -punk du steampunk, mais je viens enfin de trouver une piste sérieuse d’explication :
However, not everyone was better off. The new factories needed large workforces, so much of the growing population moved to new industrial cities. Unfortunately, building and public-health standards didn’t keep up, and vast areas of these cities consisted of crowded slums. Nor did the factories obey anything like modern health and safety rules or employment laws; many of them relied on child workers close to the machines, and injuries and deaths became quite common. This is the dark side of the new Steam Age, explaining why steampunk has always had a dystopian aspect.
Phil Masters, GURPS Steampunk 1 : Settings and Style