Fred Foldvary’s Crystal Ball
|March 7, 2002||Posted by Staff under Archive, Progress Report, The Progress Report|
Fred Foldvary’s Crystal Ball
The Future, 2000 to 2999
by Fred E. Foldvary, Senior Editor
Technology will continue to advance with dazzling speed. Genetic engineering will enable human beings to recreate old, lost species, as well as new monsters. Scientists will recreate the extinct saber-toothed tiger, the dodo bird, and dinosaurs. They will not be exact replicas of the lost species, but close substitutes.
There will be carefully controlled cloning of human beings, such as to replace a child who dies with one having the identical genetics. There will also be virtual holographic plants and animals and animal-like robots that people will keep as pet substitutes.
Labor and capital will be as mobile as mercury. In order to keep taxing income and sales, there will be a coordinated global UTO monitoring of every computer transaction. But there will also be underground internets escaping taxes and regulations, and many cybercountries will spring up, declaring themselves independent. There will by cyber wars between the Universal Trade Organization and anarchist traders and self-declared independent cybernations.
Infrared scanning will destroy all home privacy. The police will be able to drive down the street and see exactly what residents are wearing, where their goods are stored, and what they are reading or watching. Anybody will be able to buy a scanner and see through the walls into anyone’s home. Nudity will be outlawed inside homes, even in a bathroom, since everyone will always be visible.
Shields that completely hide people and materials from scanning will be outlawed, and the police will seize any property that is totally shielded from scans, but toilets will come with screens that make the scanning images fuzzy, and beds with blankets that fuzz out people will be legally available.
Wealth will increase dramatically world-wide, but much of it will be still be taxed and spent by governments. Postage stamps will cease to exist. There will be universal home delivery services for all goods, but malls with restaurants will be popular. Everyone will have a mandatory wrist communicator for telephone and internet access. There will be universal body-based identification, with a global DNA, iris, and finger-print data bank. The UTO will try to monitor the location of every person in the planet at all times.
There will be video cameras at all street intersections, streets and highways, and any traffic infraction will automatically result in a fine deducted from one’s primary bank account, without any appeals. Your car will detect alcohol and will signal the police if you have drunk any or if you speed. Income and sales taxes will be electronically deducted from accounts the instant money is earned or spent.
Terrorists will have atomic bombs and chemical and biological weapons. There will be occasional attacks on cities, and these will all be suicide missions, since universal monitoring will prevent any terrorist from escaping.
The major powers will be China, the United States, The European Union, the United Islamic Republic, and the African Federation. The United Kingdom will break off from the European Union and join NAFTA. People will colonize the planets, but the stars will still be out of reach. The planets will be under the authority of the United Nations and the Universal Trade Organization.
Some people will establish colonies on mars which are free from scanning, monitoring, and taxes. They will be financed from land rent. There will also be libertarian ships in the oceans of the earth where there is no scanning. These will be tolerated by the UTO so long as they pay taxes to the UTO and the United Nations.
South Africa will achieve prosperity by eliminating income and sales taxes, replacing them with taxes on pollution and land rent. Other African countries will copy this example, and Africa will achieve a high standard of living by the year 2100. But alas, the great wild African animal populations will be wiped out.
The difficulties in monitoring and enforcing economic transactions even with automation will push the UTO towards basing more revenue on land rent and less on taxing profits and sales. There will be a continuous global movement to abolish taxes on labor and capital, with much progress, but no universal acceptance. Henry George will be recognized as the greatest economist of the second millennium, but powerful elites will resist sharing much of the land rent.
Christianity, Islam, and Buddhism will be global religions, but they will be transformed. Under the influence of a religious leader some will mistake for a messiah, the Christian Sabbath will shift to Saturday. Most religious services will take place on the internet rather than in churches. Judaism will survive, and also Jewish deism will become popular. Pagans will make a comeback.
The world population will peak at 15 billion during the 21st century and then gradually decline to 3 billion by the year 3000. In the year 2525, independent countries will cease to exist, and there will be one government for the earth and solar system under the United Nations and the Universal Trade Organization, except for anarchists and illegal independent cybercountries.
Stock markets will continue their advances. The Dow, NASDAQ, and S&P will be merged into a global family of stock indexes that will keep soaring. But there will also be great depressions in 2009, 2027, and 2045, until smoothed out as more taxation shifts to land rent. The US Federal Reserve System will be merged with the European central bank to create an world central bank, but it will not be able to control the global electronic money supply, and the solar system will shift to gold as the universal monetary base.
So much will change, but fundamentally, much will be the same. Human nature will not change, and the laws of nature will not change, and as technology and wealth advance, there will still be conflicts and an eternal battle between those seeking more liberty and those seeking controls and privileges.
Copyright 1999 by Fred E. Foldvary. All rights reserved. No part of this material may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, which includes but is not limited to facsimile transmission, photocopying, recording, rekeying, or using any information storage or retrieval system, without giving full credit to Fred Foldvary and The Progress Report.