I have a room full of books, not so much a library, though I would prefer it to be one. Sometimes I make discoveries in this room, of books I had forgotten I owned. One of these I found last night. It is a huge, heavy blue book, and in gold on the binding says ‘The Outline of History. H.G. Wells. Volume II.’ It turns out that, in this volume, H.G. Wells talks not only about history, but also about his predictions, and expectations of the future.
Writing after World War I, in, what I think, is a rather hopeful manner, he sets out the fundamental characteristics of a unified modern world state. It’s entertaining to look at these, and then see if we’ve achieved any of these visions. In this post, I will look at what the characteristics are, and let the reader contemplate how far we have come, or if this was a good path to strive towards.
One of its characteristics he believed would be one religion for the whole world. This would involve not the main religions, but somehow a pure religion involving people giving up their selfishness, and servicing ‘human knowledge, human power, and human unity.’ For me, the implication is that the collective is more important than the individual.
Another characteristic is universal education. He expected education to be of a high standard and for everyone to be educated. Education would go on for the entirety of people’s lives, and people would continue to self-educate as they aged.
Wells expected no military (‘no armies, no navies’) and that there would be no classes, no poor or wealthy. Also, he said that there would be no unemployment. The implication here is that all people are equal, and perhaps therefore, they live at peace, and do not need a military.
Wells also expected science to flourish. He expected a vast amount of free literature, and that it would be of a high quality, (‘of criticism and discussion’).
The character of the world government would be democratic, and would be responsive to the people, and in touch with them.
Private enterprise would be a servant of all the people. Economics would serve the common good.
Wells, at the end of the list of these characteristics, says the mechanisms for this would need to include safeguards, for political well being. These would be an electoral method, and a currency that is protected against corrupt men. (‘against the contrivances and manipulations of clever, dishonest men’)
Bibliography: H.G. Wells. The Outline of History. Vol. II. Waverley Book Company. London. 1920