Visions of the 21st century

Source: EconLog
by Scott Sumner

“I recall the 1960s as being a period of techno-optimism. …. The mood became more pessimistic during the 1970s. … In the early 1990s, there was optimism that ‘The End of History’ would usher in an age of peaceful democratic capitalism. Late in the 1990s, worry increased that the 21st century would see dramatically rising global temperatures. In the early 2000s, ‘The Clash of Civilizations’ view became trendy, with a special focus on the clash between the West and the Muslim world. Around 2010, there was an increasing view that this would be the Chinese Century. A few years later, there were increasing fears of secular stagnation. Today, people worry about the rise of nationalism, falling birthrates, and fear of unaligned AI. What do all of these visions have in common? The only unifying thread that I can see is that they all reflect what was going on at the moment.” (05/12/24)