The future looked different in the past. It might’ve looked different in the present, too, if it weren’t for the govenrment.
Marian Tupy writes:
Recently, a friend of mine came across a copy of a 1959 issue of Modern Man, an American quarterly magazine that was published between 1951 and 1967. The article that caught his attention, and which he shared with me via email, tried to imagine the life of an ordinary person in the year 2000.
“Most scientists,” the author of the article averred, “agree that the year 2000 will compare to 1960 as 1960 compares to 1660.” In the morning, a person will step into a “wheelless car that rides on air… piloted by radar… huge, transparent plastic domes… [will] cover large sections of the great urban areas from New York to San Francisco, thus affording every advantage of the outdoors without being exposed to wind and cold. And the average life span in the United States will be 110 years… By necessity [i.e., overpopulation], the great cities will be rebuilt on two or three levels. Streetcars, buses and taxis will be as rare as flying reptiles, with conveyor belts replacing sidewalks.” It goes on.
As readers of Reason know, the future is very difficult to predict. That’s especially important in relation to our policy makers, who should be strongly discouraged from flights of fancy. Remember those 5 million “green jobs” that our former commander in chief of the economy promised to create in order to “stimulate job growth” and America’s transition to green energy? In the event, it was fossil fuel fracking, not green energy, which helped to lower the price of oil, revived the U.S. economy and secured Barack Obama’s reelection. Scientific agreements about the future are to be taken with a pinch of salt—something that the sage of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue refused to appreciate.