The three big changes of modern times

Two of the big changes of modern times are:

1. The balance of power and wealth, having been centred in  north-western Europe and America for the past 250 years or so is now moving back again to the East.  Now that there are no more brand new consumer goods to keep the economic machine going full pelt in the advanced countries, and while countries such as China and India are striving to gain the same goods for their people, then this re-balancing is likely to continue for many years yet.

2.  The sheer complexity of information and increasing numbers of specializations means that expert non-governmental organisations — multinational corporations particularly — are taking an increasing number of economic decisions instead of nation-state governments.  Given that the latter are also falling down badly in the provision of welfare benefits, then governments are being increasingly hollowed out, giving up on all the additional functions that they’ve laid claim to in the last 250 years and reverting to their basic responsibilities of security for their citizens.

There’s nothing we can do about either of these two trends, driven as they  both are by the innovations that science is constantly throwing up. The one big benefit from all this is that in the last 50 years or so the same sciences are now teaching us a great deal more about the natural envuronment of the earth — something that even the best educated leaders were totally unaware of for the last 8,000 years since we keft hunter-gathering.  So this is the third big change.

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