Thursday, September 16, 2010
What Is the Future of the United States and the world?
Last week we had a very stimulating discussion about the future of work and workers. This week I'd like to take a broader view of the future. Where is the United States and the world in general going in the years ahead? This is essentially a continuation of last week's topic so if you missed it you may want to go back to read some of those comments, but it's not necessary to do so.
There are essentially four areas that I'd like to look at, but feel free to include any other areas that you think might be relevant. The areas where I think we might see the biggest changes are Political, Economic, Social, and Moral. These are often considered separately, but they are all interconnected and each can influence the others.
There have been many political experiments throughout the history of the world. Some have been exercises in idealism that have proved impractical, while some have been oppressive regimes that are dark stains on the pages of history. The United States government style has served as a model for many countries and sometimes essentially forced on other countries. Technological advances have given governments good and bad an equal footing in the art of surveillance and controlling the populace. Americans sometimes have a smug attitude that they have freedom and control over our destinies. But do they and will they continue to have that freedom? Are all of the peoples of the world going to be under more rigorous government scrutiny and control in the future?
Lately the news seems to be mostly about the economy. But civilization has always been mainly about the economy. Economic trends are often greatly affected by the political trends. The wealthiest powers of yesterday are facing difficulties. The formerly poorer countries are advancing on the economic front. China may soon be the wealthiest nation in the world. The economy of any country, or the world in general, could be threatened by natural disasters or adverse climate conditions. Bad economy can lead to internal civic unrest or wars with other nations. Where do you think the economy is going? Do you think we'll see more economic mergers as we saw with the Euro? How do you feel about an economic alliance among the countries of the western hemisphere including North, Central, and South America? What might be the outcome of regional economic unions?
As some suggested in last week's topic, we may be looking at a drastic change in the holding of wealth and power. The time could come where there is a greater demarcation between the haves and have-nots. A powder keg societal situation of this nature might be a catalyst for violent struggle and revolution. To prevent this, the government controlled by the wealthy might provide the populace with everything they needed to placate them. Rampant socialism could quell unrest with free food, housing, and medical care. Could "1984" be around the corner? Will we be eating "Soylent Green"? Would you like to have the government provide you with everything you needed so you never had to worry about anything?
Moral or Religious Views
Most religions have some sort of end time scenario and ultimate outcome of humanity. This is certainly one potential outcome of the future according to those believers. Before that time comes, however, the moral views of society can influence many trends of the future. Religious conflict is becoming a matter of increasing concern. Do you see a greater influence in store by religions on government? What are our hopes and what are our fears should a religion gain control of a government? Do you feel that the current general moral outlook of the United States or whatever country you are from is detrimental to the essence of society today?
What Do You Think?
There you have it. I have tossed out a few ideas and scenarios for you to ponder. Or you may have your own ideas about the future of the world. Whether optimistic or pessimistic none of us have control over everyone else, but we can certainly try to influence one another. Look at past history, recent trends, and future speculations and one can make some deductions about things that might happen. How can we help bring about the best outcome? Where do you think we are all going and where would you like to see us go?