What Can We Hope For?

In essence, the day and age we now live in is very much a day and age of contradictions, complexity, paradox, and uncertainty, given that the state of the world will very much be determined by an evolving ‘collective consciousness’ and by various ontological conditions which in turn are shaped by contradictory, complex, paradoxical, and uncertain factors. Arguably, social media is shaping the social world to a certain extent, even though social media may not actually serve as an accurate and exact indicator of reality. The combination of full-fledged literacy and reading going down while having internet usage and social media activity go up makes a big difference in shaping the collective conscious and ontological conditions which are fundamental in determining the kind of reality we are going to experience in the future. 

As William MacAskill argued in the latest edition of Foreign Affairs Magazine, evolutions in technology foster two contradictory and paradoxical possibilities, in the sense that while technology can essentially end human existence on one hand, it can also foster endless possibilities on the other hand. Thus, the stage of technological evolution we are currently in actually marks a “beginning of history” rather than the “end of history” as one particular scholar became famous for touting:

“Contrary to what Fukuyama foresaw, the political horizon has not narrowed to a sliver. Enormous economic, social, and political transformations remain possible – and necessary. If we act wisely, the coming century will be defined by the recognition of what we owe the future, and our grandchildren’s grandchildren will look back at us with gratitude and pride. If we mess up, they might never see the light of day.”

Arguably, globalization and advancements in technology enabled the rise of a parallel pole to the United States in the international system, namely, China. But in recent days, the Western media has focused more on the individual who has assumed the mantle of leadership in China rather than the phenomena and ‘recipe’ which enabled China’s rise as a potential global power. Thus, there is more to China’s rise than simply the individual who is now steering the course of China’s domestic and geopolitical strategy over the next unknown number of years. The next few decades will very much amount to an intense competition between the United States and China over who will assume both regional dominance in Asia as well as global prominence as a geopolitical power. And at this point, there is no reason to count China out, given America’s relative decline vis-à-vis China over the course of the last two decades. 

In turn, the global competition with China will afford both challenges and opportunities for the United States. Many intellectuals and thinkers are of the opinion that globalization and the latest evolutions in technology will spell the end for American global leadership and power. There is the idea that globalization and technology will mean a dispersal of resources, labor concentration, and power at the expense of ordinary Americans. Whereas the American business class and “managerial class” as a result of globalization and technology have become “citizens of the world” to borrow from Richard Rorty, both middle-class Americans and working class Americans of virtually all races have essentially been left for dead. Thus, the onus is on the business and managerial class of the United States to uplift the middle and working classes in the manner by which China did in order to make the country as a whole fit for the global competition with China that is most likely inevitable over the course of the next few decades.  

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