Friday, May 25, 2007

The 21st Century

In 1907, cars were rare, airplanes were a novelty, and most people made their living on the farm. The rural electrification programs didn’t happen for another thirty years, so most people living outside of the city had no electricity or indoor plumbing. America was the land of opportunity, but if you didn’t earn a living, you went hungry.

In 1949, Orwell warned of the ‘Problem of Overproduction’ with the advent of the mechanized age.

And for the last fifty years, the Problem of Overproduction has created such surpluses that our society has been able to do amazing things. We’ve put a man on the moon, curtailed childhood mortality around the world, and packed pounds on the non-productive. It’s been a stunningly successful Century for mankind.

But now the game changes. The United States’ government is bankrupt, as is most of the Western World. The wealth now resides in concentrated form with individuals. That is the setting as we move from Orwell’s ‘Problem of Overproduction’ to the 21st Century’s ‘Problem of Underproduction’.

No comments: