Newmedia on 7 Sep 2000 23:09:30 -0000

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<nettime> The Meaning of the Year 2000


Perhaps the most important "futurist" of the 20th Century, H.G. Wells had
some interesting things to say about the year 2000.  (He died in 1946.)

In 1933, he published his book "The Shape of Things to Come" (which he
re-scripted and made into the movie "Things to Come" in 1935.)

He wrote this book as an entry in his "Open Conspiracy" series, in which
he alternated between "fiction" and "non-fiction" works.  Aldous Huxley
published his "Brave New World" in 1932 . . . as a response to Wells'
"Open Conspiracy" in 1928.

"The Shape of Things to Come" was Wells' answer to Huxley (among others.)

In this "future-history novel" -- written from the standpoint of the 22nd
century looking "back" on the 20th -- he made a number of predictions . .
.  (remember, he made these in 1933):

-- WW II would begin in 1940
-- It would be dominated by aerial bombing of civilian populations
-- "Human Rights" would move the front pages
-- The "hot" war would end around 1950 but it would be followed by an 
"endless cold war"
-- A "new class" would begin to form around 1950 which would understand that 
its interest would be to end war by building the World State
-- This new "class" would be made up primarily of scientists and 
technologists who would gradually take over the communications and 
transportation resources of the world
-- The principle "science" of this "new class" would be known as "social 
-- It would take 50 years for this "new class" to become sufficiently 
powerful that it would be recognized that they had succeeded in taking 

Those 50 years were over in the year 2000.  This year.

Could the Millenium Summit meeting at the UN, the World Summit of
Religions and the State of the World Forum -- all meeting in New York over
the past few weeks -- possibly be a celebration by Wells' "New Class"?

Could "Globalization" and "Human Rights," as well as "Social Psychology"
be their principle rallying points?

You be the judge . . . was Wells "right" or not.


Mark Stahlman
New York City

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