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History How Will The 20th Century Be Remembered?

Zyobot

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It's just 22 years behind us, and already "feels" like its own detached, entirely separate period of history.

Yet, the 20th century was a massive, hundred-year conga line of bloodshed, social change, and technological advancements that overthrew the old systems and ushered in new ones, giving rise to what we 21st century people would conceive of as the modern world. Two World Wars brought about carnage never before thought possible, and the subsequent Cold War—while, thankfully, having never gone hot—introduced new means of destroying ourselves that no one would've thought possible before. Europe's venerable empires crumbled to communism, fascism, and the exhaustion of wartime, replaced by more modest republics that fell into the camps of their American and Soviet backers, now the new superpowers who'd remake global politics in their own image.

Technological advances—though, perhaps, not as unequivocally destructive or disruptive to the preexisting political order—were equally impressive. Mass-communication reached a new stage with telephone, radio, and motion pictures that have permeated the pop culture of subsequent generations. Airplanes and automobiles changed human travel forever, allowing common citizens to traverse miles in a matter of minutes and crisscross the globe in a matter of hours. And, towards the end, the 20th century gave rise to a set of innovations that have become fundamental to the 21st, in the form of internet and personal computers.

Clearly, lots has happened, though how much weight modern attitudes place on it remains shaped by recency bias that will fade as time makes it seem more "distant" to our descendants, as well as whatever new changes they experience that affect the world in ways that are just as profound. So, that all in mind, what will future generations make of the 20th century, as they look back with a fresh, distant, and disconnected set of eyes that has never seen their battle buddy die in the trenches of the Somme, watched the Moon landings live on television, or bought the newest in whizzbang PCs from a Nineties electronics store?

Thank you in advance,
Zyobot
 

Val the Moofia Boss

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Well, you pretty much summed it up. Governments murdered their own people on a scale never before imaginable. Governments now have total control beyond the wildest dreams of any absolutists in the past. Countries now wage war not to loot other countries, but to rob their own citizens. In America, there was a brief period of great material prosperity during the middle of the century. Culture died. A global mono-pop-culture emerged and has remained stagnate since the 90s. Everyone now wears the same clothes of T-shirts and jeans, buys the same apple or microsoft product, all movies and shows follow the same format, all games have the same design, people think all pianos sound like a Steinway, and so on.
 

Aaron Fox

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We... don't know. The core problem is that a lot of people here forget that this little thing called the technological context exists, and it governs pretty much everything.

The best I can tell you is that the 20th century would be remembered as a century that started so horribly but held so much promise in the end.
 

Skallagrim

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The technological context is largely irrelevant; that's purely the pre-occupation of people who fail to look beyond the petty little obsessions of their own age. If you take the long view, that kind of "window dressing" all falls away, and the underlying frame-work is revealed. That's the same frame-work that has been there for thousands of years, and will probably be there for thousands yet to come.

Two thousand years from now, what do people remember? They remember that 𝚁̶𝚘̶𝚖̶𝚎̶ America, an upstart power from the Western fringes of the 𝙲̶𝚕̶𝚊̶𝚜̶𝚜̶𝚒̶𝚌̶𝚊̶𝚕̶ Christian World, successfully contested the hegemony over that cultural sphere, which had derived most of its cultural forms from the more ancient states of 𝙶̶𝚛̶𝚎̶𝚎̶𝚌̶𝚎̶ Europe in the East.

They'll remember that 𝚁̶𝚘̶𝚖̶𝚎̶ America was surrounded by foes; that in the East, 𝙼̶𝚊̶𝚌̶𝚎̶𝚍̶𝚘̶𝚗̶ Germany -- clinging to the memories of its impressive past -- tried to seize supremacy for itself in a series of audacious wars, most notably under the leadership of the controversial 𝙿̶𝚑̶𝚒̶𝚕̶𝚒̶𝚙̶𝚙̶𝚘̶𝚜̶ 𝚅̶ Adolf Hitler.

They'll remember that 𝙼̶𝚊̶𝚌̶𝚎̶𝚍̶𝚘̶𝚗̶ Germany allied with 𝙲̶𝚊̶𝚛̶𝚝̶𝚑̶𝚊̶𝚐̶𝚎̶ Japan, which launched an overly-ambitious attack aimed at 𝚁̶𝚘̶𝚖̶𝚎̶ America, and ultimately paid the price when 𝚁̶𝚘̶𝚖̶𝚎̶ America proved capable of military action on a scale its enemies had not dared to imagine. This led to destruction not previously witnessed in the earlier wars of 𝙲̶𝚕̶𝚊̶𝚜̶𝚜̶𝚒̶𝚌̶𝚊̶𝚕̶ Christian culture.

As the dust settled, 𝚁̶𝚘̶𝚖̶𝚎̶ America found itsef opposed to a power yet further East, which had been an ally of convenience against 𝙼̶𝚊̶𝚌̶𝚎̶𝚍̶𝚘̶𝚗̶ Germany and 𝙲̶𝚊̶𝚛̶𝚝̶𝚑̶𝚊̶𝚐̶𝚎̶ Japan: 𝚂̶𝚎̶𝚕̶𝚎̶𝚞̶𝚔̶𝚒̶𝚍̶ 𝙿̶𝚎̶𝚛̶𝚜̶𝚒̶𝚊̶ Soviet Russia. This contestation lasted until the 𝚂̶𝚎̶𝚕̶𝚎̶𝚞̶𝚔̶𝚒̶𝚍̶𝚜̶ Soviets collapsed, and were supplanted by the even more distinctly "Eastern" 𝙿̶𝚊̶𝚛̶𝚝̶𝚑̶𝚒̶𝚊̶𝚗̶𝚜̶ Chinese in the role of 𝚁̶𝚘̶𝚖̶𝚎̶´s America´s great rival.

In a cultural sense, the so-called 𝙷̶𝚎̶𝚕̶𝚕̶𝚎̶𝚗̶𝚒̶𝚜̶𝚝̶𝚒̶𝚌̶ Modern period is generally viewed as largely inconsequential. It is a period that produced many works of lesser quality and a derivative nature. Light-weight fiction flourished, and decadent styles came to predominate. Most works of this period were ultimately forgotten rather quickly.

It may be interesting to note that after the 𝚂̶𝚎̶𝚕̶𝚎̶𝚞̶𝚔̶𝚒̶𝚍̶𝚜̶ Soviets had fallen into a state of decay and irrelevance, and 𝚁̶𝚘̶𝚖̶𝚎̶ America had mopped up all its major enemies in 𝟷̶𝟺̶𝟼̶ 𝙱̶𝙲̶ AD 1991, 𝚁̶𝚘̶𝚖̶𝚎̶ America was left as the true (if fledgling) hegemon over the civilised world. But it was exactly at this junction that a new period -- marked by internal strife -- was set to begin. The brief sense of complete victory proved a false dawn. After all, it would not be long before the populist 𝚃̶𝚒̶𝚋̶𝚎̶𝚛̶𝚒̶𝚞̶𝚜̶ 𝙶̶𝚛̶𝚊̶𝚌̶𝚌̶𝚑̶𝚞̶𝚜̶ Donald Trump would rise to prominence, thus ushering in the next period of 𝚁̶𝚘̶𝚖̶𝚊̶𝚗̶ American and 𝙲̶𝚕̶𝚊̶𝚜̶𝚜̶𝚒̶𝚌̶𝚊̶𝚕̶ Western history. The far more (in)famous period, that would culminate in bloody civil war and ultimately see the Republic supplanted by the Empire...
 
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Lord Sovereign

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I think its technological advancements will be lauded (I mean, look at modern medicine. That's a net positive full stop) but the precedent it set in terms of governance will be deemed as semi-disastrous. Western Civilisation learned all the wrong lessons from the World Wars.
 

Zyobot

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I think its technological advancements will be lauded (I mean, look at modern medicine. That's a net positive full stop) but the precedent it set in terms of governance will be deemed as semi-disastrous. Western Civilisation learned all the wrong lessons from the World Wars.
Then I suppose that’s what future historians will lament, especially if Skallagrim’s already-established, macro-historical views turn out to be pretty much accurate.

Of course, there are a few details I’d dispute and more “impressionistic” insertions I’d add. Namely, future historians looking to Hitler and Stalin as precursors to the tyrants who seized power several generations later, and butchered billions in a mad dash to rule it all…
 

ATP

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Then I suppose that’s what future historians will lament, especially if Skallagrim’s already-established, macro-historical views turn out to be pretty much accurate.

Of course, there are a few details I’d dispute and more “impressionistic” insertions I’d add. Namely, future historians looking to Hitler and Stalin as precursors to the tyrants who seized power several generations later, and butchered billions in a mad dash to rule it all…
Worst.If we are unlucky,we would be under world goverment ruled by TRUE HUMANITARIANS.And,as result,50-90% of population would die.
About 20th century - century od satan,of course.One of popes - Leon 13,i think - have vision of 20th century given to satan.
 

Zyobot

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Worst.If we are unlucky,we would be under world goverment ruled by TRUE HUMANITARIANS.And,as result,50-90% of population would die.
About 20th century - century od satan,of course.One of popes - Leon 13,i think - have vision of 20th century given to satan.
Considering how we have about eighty years left, I think we better see how the 21st century turns out before deciding whether Leo was right about the 20th being The Devil's CenturyTM.
 

S'task

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The technological context is largely irrelevant; that's purely the pre-occupation of people who fail to look beyond the petty little obsessions of their own age. If you take the long view, that kind of "window dressing" all falls away, and the underlying frame-work is revealed. That's the same frame-work that has been there for thousands of years, and will probably be there for thousands yet to come.

Two thousand years from now, what do people remember? They remember that 𝚁̶𝚘̶𝚖̶𝚎̶ America, an upstart power from the Western fringes of the 𝙲̶𝚕̶𝚊̶𝚜̶𝚜̶𝚒̶𝚌̶𝚊̶𝚕̶ Christian World, successfully contested the hegemony over that cultural sphere, which had derived most of its cultural forms from the more ancient states of 𝙶̶𝚛̶𝚎̶𝚎̶𝚌̶𝚎̶ Europe in the East.

They'll remember that 𝚁̶𝚘̶𝚖̶𝚎̶ America was surrounded by foes; that in the East, 𝙼̶𝚊̶𝚌̶𝚎̶𝚍̶𝚘̶𝚗̶ Germany -- clinging to the memories of its impressive past -- tried to seize supremacy for itself in a series of audacious wars, most notably under the leadership of the controversial 𝙿̶𝚑̶𝚒̶𝚕̶𝚒̶𝚙̶𝚙̶𝚘̶𝚜̶ 𝚅̶ Adolf Hitler.

They'll remember that 𝙼̶𝚊̶𝚌̶𝚎̶𝚍̶𝚘̶𝚗̶ Germany allied with 𝙲̶𝚊̶𝚛̶𝚝̶𝚑̶𝚊̶𝚐̶𝚎̶ Japan, which launched an overly-ambitious attack aimed at 𝚁̶𝚘̶𝚖̶𝚎̶ America, and ultimately paid the price when 𝚁̶𝚘̶𝚖̶𝚎̶ America proved capable of military action on a scale its enemies had not dared to imagine. This led to destruction not previously witnessed in the earlier wars of 𝙲̶𝚕̶𝚊̶𝚜̶𝚜̶𝚒̶𝚌̶𝚊̶𝚕̶ Christian culture.

As the dust settled, 𝚁̶𝚘̶𝚖̶𝚎̶ America found itsef opposed to a power yet further East, which had been an ally of convenience against 𝙼̶𝚊̶𝚌̶𝚎̶𝚍̶𝚘̶𝚗̶ Germany and 𝙲̶𝚊̶𝚛̶𝚝̶𝚑̶𝚊̶𝚐̶𝚎̶ Japan: 𝚂̶𝚎̶𝚕̶𝚎̶𝚞̶𝚔̶𝚒̶𝚍̶ 𝙿̶𝚎̶𝚛̶𝚜̶𝚒̶𝚊̶ Soviet Russia. This contestation lasted until the 𝚂̶𝚎̶𝚕̶𝚎̶𝚞̶𝚔̶𝚒̶𝚍̶𝚜̶ Soviets collapsed, and were supplanted by the even more distinctly "Eastern" 𝙿̶𝚊̶𝚛̶𝚝̶𝚑̶𝚒̶𝚊̶𝚗̶𝚜̶ Chinese in the role of 𝚁̶𝚘̶𝚖̶𝚎̶´s America´s great rival.

In a cultural sense, the so-called 𝙷̶𝚎̶𝚕̶𝚕̶𝚎̶𝚗̶𝚒̶𝚜̶𝚝̶𝚒̶𝚌̶ Modern period is generally viewed as largely inconsequential. It is a period that produced many works of lesser quality and a derivative nature. Light-weight fiction flourished, and decadent styles came to predominate. Most works of this period were ultimately forgotten rather quickly.

It may be interesting to note that after the 𝚂̶𝚎̶𝚕̶𝚎̶𝚞̶𝚔̶𝚒̶𝚍̶𝚜̶ Soviets had fallen into a state of decay and irrelevance, and 𝚁̶𝚘̶𝚖̶𝚎̶ America had mopped up all its major enemies in 𝟷̶𝟺̶𝟼̶ 𝙱̶𝙲̶ AD 1991, 𝚁̶𝚘̶𝚖̶𝚎̶ America was left as the true (if fledgling) hegemon over the civilised world. But it was exactly at this junction that a new period -- marked by internal strife -- was set to begin. The brief sense of complete victory proved a false dawn. After all, it would not be long before the populist 𝚃̶𝚒̶𝚋̶𝚎̶𝚛̶𝚒̶𝚞̶𝚜̶ 𝙶̶𝚛̶𝚊̶𝚌̶𝚌̶𝚑̶𝚞̶𝚜̶ Donald Trump would rise to prominence, thus ushering in the next period of 𝚁̶𝚘̶𝚖̶𝚊̶𝚗̶ American and 𝙲̶𝚕̶𝚊̶𝚜̶𝚜̶𝚒̶𝚌̶𝚊̶𝚕̶ Western history. The far more (in)famous period, that would culminate in bloody civil war and ultimately see the Republic supplanted by the Empire...
While you might be right, you ARE leaving out a historical technological/exploration achievement that WILL be remembered from the period of the Cold War: The manned moon missions.

These will be remembered for one of two reasons: either they represent the first true steps of humanity off the planet and colonizing other planets and beyond, and thus have the cultural impact and importance similar to the Columbus expedition, OR they represent the high water mark of America's technological and cultural efforts that no other power managed to match or exceed due to decline and collapse.

I also think you greatly overestimate how important Trump will be on a historic scale. He will be noteworthy in representing the political realignment of the 2010s and 20s, but even before Trump there was a notable populist sentiment among the American people that was tapped into first by Obama, then the TEA Party, and then by Trump.
 

CastilloVerde

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While you might be right, you ARE leaving out a historical technological/exploration achievement that WILL be remembered from the period of the Cold War: The manned moon missions.

These will be remembered for one of two reasons: either they represent the first true steps of humanity off the planet and colonizing other planets and beyond, and thus have the cultural impact and importance similar to the Columbus expedition, OR they represent the high water mark of America's technological and cultural efforts that no other power managed to match or exceed due to decline and collapse.
Taking the long view, the manned moon missions will not have an impact similar to the Columbus expeditions. The Columbus expeditions were notable for starting the exchange of culture and goods across continents and enabling European settlement of the Americas within a relatively short time after.

The moon missions did not do that. Rather, the moon missions would be remembered similarly to the Phoenician circumnavigation of Africa, sponsored by the pharaoh Necho II, in the early sixth century BC. Very impressive achievements - just like the moon missions - no doubt, especally for the time. Even Herodotos remarked on the wonder of the circumnavigation centuries after the fact in his Histories. But this voyage did not result in anything resembling the Columbian exchange or the settlement of the Americas. This would have to wait for voyages centuries later. Not just by Columbus, but also for example Da Gama's voyage to India via the Cape of Good Hope.

When humanity finally reaches the point where true large-scale human exploration and settlement of space is possible, it will be one of these voyages that has the same cultural impact of the Columbian expeditions to them.
 

Skallagrim

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While you might be right, you ARE leaving out a historical technological/exploration achievement that WILL be remembered from the period of the Cold War: The manned moon missions.

These will be remembered for one of two reasons: either they represent the first true steps of humanity off the planet and colonizing other planets and beyond, and thus have the cultural impact and importance similar to the Columbus expedition, OR they represent the high water mark of America's technological and cultural efforts that no other power managed to match or exceed due to decline and collapse.
Technology developed significantly, and this will no doubt be noted. I certainly wouldn't deny it. However, did leave it out, because that wasn't the question. The history books rarely mention any but the most significant technological developments. In that sense, the combustion engine, the aeroplane and the computer will get mentions, no doubt. But beyond that? Consider that while it was culturally quite "comparable" to our Modernity, the Hellenistic Age was also one of technological innovation. Most of those aren't all that well remembered in the long run. Or rather: it's not explicitly grasped that they were developed at that time.

As far as space exploration is concerned: I am quite conservative in my estimations regarding the viability (and profitability) of that. As long as we're reliant on rocketry to escape Earth's gravity well, space ventures will (essentially) be a bit like wind energy. That is: subsidised hobbyism, of interest to enthousiasts, a few government bureaus, and some quirky rich folks. If the 20th century's space ventures are remembered at all, it will be as the first of the (several!) abortive spurts that we undertook in that direction... during an age when the technology just wasn't ready yet to make it viable.

(I've put it another way elsewhere: we'll see colonisation -- real, actual, people-live-there colonisation -- of Antarctica and the bottom of the ocean, before we see meaningful space colonisation. Once you have already built a domed city with a few hundred thousand untrained civilians living in it right at the South Pole, and that's stable and safe over longer periods... then, you can really work on a space colony. Not before. Not if you want it to work.)

Of course, do not mistake me: I do think it will happen. If we survive long enough as a species, our future is out there. But we have barely learned to crawl, and our first true strides are a long way off still.


I also think you greatly overestimate how important Trump will be on a historic scale. He will be noteworthy in representing the political realignment of the 2010s and 20s, but even before Trump there was a notable populist sentiment among the American people that was tapped into first by Obama, then the TEA Party, and then by Trump.
Obama was purely an establishment man, which you can easily verify for any person by checking the mainstream media treatment of him. If they adore him, he's an establishment agent. If they hate him, he's with the populist opposition. It's that simple.

The Tea Party, much like even earlier populist antecedents (e.g. Perot, Buchanan) didn't actually make it into power. They were stirrings, but with "MAGA" came the first uprising. That is significant, no matter what one thinks of Trump-the-man. His electoral success marks an important moment, and I do think it will be remembered. This is when the discontent could no longer be downplayed, or shoved under the carpet. It is real, it is here, and until the grievances are addressed, it will not go away. It will, in that sense, dominate most of the rest of this century.
 

Zyobot

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Technology developed significantly, and this will no doubt be noted. I certainly wouldn't deny it. However, did leave it out, because that wasn't the question. The history books rarely mention any but the most significant technological developments. In that sense, the combustion engine, the aeroplane and the computer will get mentions, no doubt. But beyond that? Consider that while it was culturally quite "comparable" to our Modernity, the Hellenistic Age was also one of technological innovation. Most of those aren't all that well remembered in the long run. Or rather: it's not explicitly grasped that they were developed at that time.
I don't suppose the Industrial Revolution will still be noted, though?

Sure, lots of modern people consider it the great "paradigm-breaker" that changed everything, though I know you disagree and don't consider it as "fundamental" as they do, as established elsewhere. In which case, perhaps future historians will think of it similarly to the way current historians think of gunpowder or the printing press. Which is to say, big advancements that disrupted daily life, but didn't upend everything on their own. (Although, I would say that the dense "bundle" of inventions the Industrial Revolution introduced in an exceptionally short timeframe won't go unnoticed, even if the rules of macro-history apply.)

That said, I'm inclined to agree that space colonization will take at least a few more centuries to really flourish, and would add that there are probably too many economic and logistical constraints (i.e., the costs of launching lots and lots of mining probes) to start up asteroid mining by 2050 or so, at least beyond the occasional rock sample. Theory's not enough on its own, and even if the engineers devise a solution that could work, there's still the logistics of making it scalable and economic benefit of securing funding for it.
 

Aaron Fox

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The technological context is largely irrelevant; that's purely the pre-occupation of people who fail to look beyond the petty little obsessions of their own age. If you take the long view, that kind of "window dressing" all falls away, and the underlying frame-work is revealed. That's the same frame-work that has been there for thousands of years, and will probably be there for thousands yet to come.

Two thousand years from now, what do people remember? They remember that 𝚁̶𝚘̶𝚖̶𝚎̶ America, an upstart power from the Western fringes of the 𝙲̶𝚕̶𝚊̶𝚜̶𝚜̶𝚒̶𝚌̶𝚊̶𝚕̶ Christian World, successfully contested the hegemony over that cultural sphere, which had derived most of its cultural forms from the more ancient states of 𝙶̶𝚛̶𝚎̶𝚎̶𝚌̶𝚎̶ Europe in the East.

They'll remember that 𝚁̶𝚘̶𝚖̶𝚎̶ America was surrounded by foes; that in the East, 𝙼̶𝚊̶𝚌̶𝚎̶𝚍̶𝚘̶𝚗̶ Germany -- clinging to the memories of its impressive past -- tried to seize supremacy for itself in a series of audacious wars, most notably under the leadership of the controversial 𝙿̶𝚑̶𝚒̶𝚕̶𝚒̶𝚙̶𝚙̶𝚘̶𝚜̶ 𝚅̶ Adolf Hitler.

They'll remember that 𝙼̶𝚊̶𝚌̶𝚎̶𝚍̶𝚘̶𝚗̶ Germany allied with 𝙲̶𝚊̶𝚛̶𝚝̶𝚑̶𝚊̶𝚐̶𝚎̶ Japan, which launched an overly-ambitious attack aimed at 𝚁̶𝚘̶𝚖̶𝚎̶ America, and ultimately paid the price when 𝚁̶𝚘̶𝚖̶𝚎̶ America proved capable of military action on a scale its enemies had not dared to imagine. This led to destruction not previously witnessed in the earlier wars of 𝙲̶𝚕̶𝚊̶𝚜̶𝚜̶𝚒̶𝚌̶𝚊̶𝚕̶ Christian culture.

As the dust settled, 𝚁̶𝚘̶𝚖̶𝚎̶ America found itsef opposed to a power yet further East, which had been an ally of convenience against 𝙼̶𝚊̶𝚌̶𝚎̶𝚍̶𝚘̶𝚗̶ Germany and 𝙲̶𝚊̶𝚛̶𝚝̶𝚑̶𝚊̶𝚐̶𝚎̶ Japan: 𝚂̶𝚎̶𝚕̶𝚎̶𝚞̶𝚔̶𝚒̶𝚍̶ 𝙿̶𝚎̶𝚛̶𝚜̶𝚒̶𝚊̶ Soviet Russia. This contestation lasted until the 𝚂̶𝚎̶𝚕̶𝚎̶𝚞̶𝚔̶𝚒̶𝚍̶𝚜̶ Soviets collapsed, and were supplanted by the even more distinctly "Eastern" 𝙿̶𝚊̶𝚛̶𝚝̶𝚑̶𝚒̶𝚊̶𝚗̶𝚜̶ Chinese in the role of 𝚁̶𝚘̶𝚖̶𝚎̶´s America´s great rival.

In a cultural sense, the so-called 𝙷̶𝚎̶𝚕̶𝚕̶𝚎̶𝚗̶𝚒̶𝚜̶𝚝̶𝚒̶𝚌̶ Modern period is generally viewed as largely inconsequential. It is a period that produced many works of lesser quality and a derivative nature. Light-weight fiction flourished, and decadent styles came to predominate. Most works of this period were ultimately forgotten rather quickly.

It may be interesting to note that after the 𝚂̶𝚎̶𝚕̶𝚎̶𝚞̶𝚔̶𝚒̶𝚍̶𝚜̶ Soviets had fallen into a state of decay and irrelevance, and 𝚁̶𝚘̶𝚖̶𝚎̶ America had mopped up all its major enemies in 𝟷̶𝟺̶𝟼̶ 𝙱̶𝙲̶ AD 1991, 𝚁̶𝚘̶𝚖̶𝚎̶ America was left as the true (if fledgling) hegemon over the civilised world. But it was exactly at this junction that a new period -- marked by internal strife -- was set to begin. The brief sense of complete victory proved a false dawn. After all, it would not be long before the populist 𝚃̶𝚒̶𝚋̶𝚎̶𝚛̶𝚒̶𝚞̶𝚜̶ 𝙶̶𝚛̶𝚊̶𝚌̶𝚌̶𝚑̶𝚞̶𝚜̶ Donald Trump would rise to prominence, thus ushering in the next period of 𝚁̶𝚘̶𝚖̶𝚊̶𝚗̶ American and 𝙲̶𝚕̶𝚊̶𝚜̶𝚜̶𝚒̶𝚌̶𝚊̶𝚕̶ Western history. The far more (in)famous period, that would culminate in bloody civil war and ultimately see the Republic supplanted by the Empire...
Sorry, that this is so fucking wrong is understating how wrong it is. Or have you forgotten that slavery was fine and dandy for millennia until the 2nd Industrial Revolution -and the technological revolution that came with it- came along and toppled it?
 

Skallagrim

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I don't suppose the Industrial Revolution will still be noted, though?

Sure, lots of modern people consider it the great "paradigm-breaker" that changed everything, though I know you disagree and don't consider it as "fundamental" as they do, as established elsewhere. In which case, perhaps future historians will think of it similarly to the way current historians think of gunpowder or the printing press. Which is to say, big advancements that disrupted daily life, but didn't upend everything on their own. (Although, I would say that the dense "bundle" of inventions the Industrial Revolution introduced in an exceptionally short timeframe won't go unnoticed, even if macro-history turns out to be correct.)
Obviously, it's going to be noted. It's not a phenomenon typically viewed as particular to the 20th century, though. So when you ask how the 20th century is going to be viewed: well, I don't think anyone is going to say "Ah, yes, the 20th century -- the age of the industrial revolution!"


That said, I'm inclined to agree that space colonization will take at least a few more centuries to really flourish, and would add that there are probably too many economic and logistical constraints (i.e., the costs of launching lots and lots of mining probes) to start up asteroid mining by 2050 or so, at least beyond the occasional rock sample. Theory's not enough on its own, and even if the engineers devise a solution that could work, there's still the logistics of making it scalable and economic benefit of securing funding for it.
I'd say that even if we can get automated mining probes built, launching them and jetting them over there, and then sending useful stuff back (and somehow landing that safely) is still going to be prohibitively costly. (And forget about self-replicating machines. That's cool, but also something we're not even close to, yet.)

For a very long time, exploiting resources on Earth is just going to be cheaper and easier, which means that's what'll happen.


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Sorry, that this is so fucking wrong is understating how wrong it is. Or have you forgotten that slavery was fine and dandy for millennia until the 2nd Industrial Revolution -and the technological revolution that came with it- came along and toppled it?
There are very few persons on this site who are wrong more consistently than you are. If you think I'm wrong, that's as close to a guarantee of me being right as I can reasonably hope for. Thanks for that.
 

S'task

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As far as space exploration is concerned: I am quite conservative in my estimations regarding the viability (and profitability) of that. As long as we're reliant on rocketry to escape Earth's gravity well, space ventures will (essentially) be a bit like wind energy. That is: subsidised hobbyism, of interest to enthousiasts, a few government bureaus, and some quirky rich folks. If the 20th century's space ventures are remembered at all, it will be as the first of the (several!) abortive spurts that we undertook in that direction... during an age when the technology just wasn't ready yet to make it viable.
You're underestimating how important orbital infastructure already is and will continue to be. The importance of the Apolo program wasn't just for exploration of space, but it's also the highlight of the initial Space Age where devices in orbit went rapidly from beach balls that transmit simple pings to highly complex objects that allow for greater connectivity throughout the world.

And that's just scratching the surface of the importance that satellites play in day to day life in ways nobody notices or takes for granted. Weather predictions became much easier and more accurate with the advent of weather satellites. This has also had major impact on disaster prediction especially for hurricanes. Hurricanes have gone from a "you're lucky if you get a few days warning if they're coming" to something we literally can track from birth to death and people can know a long, long ways in advance that those storms are coming and take appropriate action.

Then there's GPS, which is radically changed navigation and transit in ways most people again take for granted.

These all are in many ways the biggest impact of the Space Race and while perhaps in a thousand years they will be footnotes, glossed over, or forgotten, this will still be the age where it is remembered people took the first steps into space and the major changes that resulted in.

Obama was purely an establishment man, which you can easily verify for any person by checking the mainstream media treatment of him. If they adore him, he's an establishment agent. If they hate him, he's with the populist opposition. It's that simple.
Obama wasn't sold to the people in 2008 as an establishment man. In point of fact, the Democrat's establishment was originally mostly against him, as the Democrat's establishment at the time was firmly in the hands of Hillary and Bill Clinton. 2008 was supposed to be Hillary's Year, but Obama displaced her in the Democrat's primary not due to Establishment shenanigans, but due to a Dem grassroots swell that propelled him through the primaries. He campaigned as and talked as a populist candidate. Yes, he was arguably a trojan populist, really being aligned with the Establishment, but that's not what got him elected in 2008 "Hope and Change" and anti-establishment sentiment was. You can go dig up all sorts of articles talking about Obama in 2008 as a populist candidate and how he tapped into a previously untapped populism in American Presidential politics that hadn't shown up since Clinton, who was also positioned more as a populist in 1992 than as the Establishment.

What wasn't well understood at the time though was that right wing populism was even going to be a thing, the TEA Party proved that wrong and proved the counter-wave to Obama, and as time went on it became clearer to everyone that Obama was, in fact, a faux-populist rather than a true populist, but that wasn't clear in 2008.

I don't suppose the Industrial Revolution will still be noted, though?

Sure, lots of modern people consider it the great "paradigm-breaker" that changed everything, though I know you disagree and don't consider it as "fundamental" as they do, as established elsewhere. In which case, perhaps future historians will think of it similarly to the way current historians think of gunpowder or the printing press. Which is to say, big advancements that disrupted daily life, but didn't upend everything on their own. (Although, I would say that the dense "bundle" of inventions the Industrial Revolution introduced in an exceptionally short timeframe won't go unnoticed, even if the rules of macro-history apply.)

That said, I'm inclined to agree that space colonization will take at least a few more centuries to really flourish, and would add that there are probably too many economic and logistical constraints (i.e., the costs of launching lots and lots of mining probes) to start up asteroid mining by 2050 or so, at least beyond the occasional rock sample. Theory's not enough on its own, and even if the engineers devise a solution that could work, there's still the logistics of making it scalable and economic benefit of securing funding for it.
The Industrial Revolution will primarily be seen as an aspect of the 19th century, not the 20th century. That's how history is written now, and while the Industrial Revolution continued into the 20th century, the big important aspects of it were all developed and initially deployed in the 19th. The pre-WW1 period of the 20th century is often seen as, in a way, an extension of the 19th even now, and I don't really think that changes looking back. While the century switched on Jan 1, 1901, most people really don't see the 20th century truly beginning until June 28, 1914.
 

Zyobot

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Obviously, it's going to be noted. It's not a phenomenon typically viewed as particular to the 20th century, though. So when you ask how the 20th century is going to be viewed: well, I don't think anyone is going to say "Ah, yes, the 20th century -- the age of the industrial revolution!"
The Industrial Revolution will primarily be seen as an aspect of the 19th century, not the 20th century. That's how history is written now, and while the Industrial Revolution continued into the 20th century, the big important aspects of it were all developed and initially deployed in the 19th. The pre-WW1 period of the 20th century is often seen as, in a way, an extension of the 19th even now, and I don't really think that changes looking back. While the century switched on Jan 1, 1901, most people really don't see the 20th century truly beginning until June 28, 1914.
Yes, I'm aware the Industrial Revolution was mostly a product of the 19th century.

I just thought to mention it, since the conversation seemed to "broaden" beyond just the more "distant" view future generations will have on the 20th century, taken alone. But anyway, I suppose we should move back to the topic at hand, though I occasionally wonder what the 21st will bring that will cause future historians to look to the 20th for precedents and root causes, as they tend to.
 

Skallagrim

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Yes, I'm aware the Industrial Revolution was mostly a product of the 19th century.

I just thought to mention it, since the conversation seemed to "broaden" beyond just the more "distant" view future generations will have on the 20th century, taken alone. But anyway, I suppose we should move back to the topic at hand, though I occasionally wonder what the 21st will bring that will cause future historians to look to the 20th for precedents and root causes, as they tend to.
Root causes will almost certainly be sought in the preceding period. When we want to explain the Hellenistic Era (or "Alexander to Actium", as Greene defined it) we look to the circumstances that produced Alexander. It's no surprise that Antiquite had its own "Enlightenment": Sokrates, Plato and Aristotle didn't just come out of nowhere! And the last of these three was literally the tutor of Alexander the Great. Well, in much the same way, Napoleon was a child of the Enlightenment. Its logical product, even. And our "Modern" period is shaped by all of this as well.

But of course "root causes" don't really exist. The situation that brought forth these philosophical and social upheavals (and all their later outcomes) was itself produced by earlier developments. Think of the Wars of Religion (particularly the Thirty Years' War), and we see but a new iteration of the Peloponnesian War. The old world, divided against itself, when the younger power in the Far West hadn't even even shown the first stirrings of its vital strenth yet.

And we can trace that kind of division, and those resulting conflicts, back to underlying causes, too. And so on and so forth, all the way back to the first dawn of the culture in question -- in this case we talk of the Classical and the Christian/Western cultures, but of course you and I have talked at length of many others, such as China, Egypt and Mesopotamia. The same patterns of development recur again and again. The same causality shapes all of them, and sets them on remarkably similar trajectories.

The reason is simple: the real "root cause" is human nature. History rhymes, again and again, because humans remain fundamentally the same. And it doesn't matter if they fight with bronze swords or iron lances. It doesn't matter whether they possess paper, or a new kind of plough, or the printing press, or gunpowder. It doesn't matter whether they burn wood or coal or gas. It doesn't matter whether they officially have slavery or not. It doesn't matter whether they have satellites or fusion bombs, for that matter.

They -- that is to say, we -- remain human. All too human. And as long as our essential nature remains unaltered (and it has not been fundamentally changed for the past 10.000 years at least), the established patterns in our history wil continue to manifest, time after time. This is why the people who stare obsessively at specific details ("muh industrial revolution!") are utterly missing the point. People have been doing the same things since the neolithic revolution. Competing over scarce resources, inventing and endlessly re-inventing the same basic paradigms for the allocation of means. And then beating each other over the head with sticks.

A hydrogen bomb is just a bigger stick, that's all. It's wielded by the same human hands, steered by the same human mind, put to the same human purposes. History shrugs and marches on, the pattern of its steps unaltered and unrelenting. The same marching song is chanted. The words, and the language in which they're sung, will be changed from time to time. But the tune remains the same.
 
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