I came across this post at Dispatches from the Culture wars. It got me thinking, and eventually my mind thought about previous predictions of what the 2010’s would be like. This led me to realize that the past is more like the present than you think. Indeed, if you predicted that the world thirty years from now would be exactly like today, you probably wouldn’t do too badly.
To illustrate, let’s pretend that some futurologist, Ima P. Rofet, writing (to use round year numbers) that the year 2010 will be exactly like 1980. Let’s see what predictions our prognosticator would have been correct on (not an exhaustive list):
- Politics and international relations:
- There will be two major political parties in the United States, the Democratic and the Republican. There will be other parties, but only these two will have a realistic chance of taking power.
- Russia will be governed as an authoritarian state.
- Nuclear weapons will never have been used in warfare since Nagasaki.
- The conflict in the Middle East will have been unresolved.
- There will be no peace treaty in Korea.
- There will have been no female president of the United States.
- Oil will give the Middle East disproportionate influence on world affairs.
- Terrorism will influence some countries foreign policy.
- The United Nations will not be a world government.
- Culture and society
- Television, movies, and recorded music will be popular forms of entertainment.
- Classical music will be important in music education and most people will be exposed to it in movie and television soundtracks, but it will only retain niche popularity.
- Most people in the western world will live in cities and suburbs.
- An appreciable number of people will have used marijuana, even if it is nominally illegal.
- Most people will travel by car or airplane and, in densely–populated cities, train or other public transport.
- Many people will live in poverty and lack adequate access to food, water, and medicine.
- Many women will still be oppressed and be second–class citizens, even if they nominally have equal rights with men. (more…)