ch42 - Chapter 42 A 21st-Century World: Trends and...

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Chapter 42 A 21st-Century World: Trends and Prospects Chapter Summary. The study of history can be used develop a framework for thinking about the future. Rapid change has been a constant since the time of the 1st civilizations, and new discoveries today probably have quickened the pace. Individuals always have devised schemes to look forward. River valley peoples used astrology and divination; Chinese and Muslim scholars saw history moving in cycles. Christians and Marxists looked to a great change in the future. No system yet devised provides any accuracy. Optimism or Pessimism. Many individuals believe that steady progress has occurred in world history because of advancing technology and progressive enlightenment. People live longer, women and children receive better treatment, and slavery has been abolished. But the 20th century has been marked by unprecedented cruelty and inhumanity. Technology increases war-time losses, and industry supplies all classes of weapons. Religious intolerance has appeared in once more-tolerant societies. Clearly, human history has a mixed record. Speculation about the future must be carefully done. A New Period in World History. The 20th century can be called a new historical period, one in which some older trends are ending. We still do not know what will come next. Using the Past to Address the Future. During the 1920s and 1930s a new phase of history began to form. There were parallel developments in major civilizations, reshuffling of geographical boundaries, and intensification of international contacts. Thus many 19th-century patterns, such as Western colonialism, will continue to recede. Societies, like China under Mao Zedong, will not be able to isolate themselves from world currents. But, although we know that the relative importance of the West has declined, we do not know if this will continue. Some form of European revival is possible, or a new dominant civilization might appear. Religious revivalism might reverse the trend of growing secularization. New patterns in history inevitably produce doubt future for directions. Making Sense of Recent Developments. The greatest political developments of the late 1980s occurred in the communist world. China experimented with interactions with the capitalist world, but continued to suppress democracy. East Europe states escaped from Soviet control and the Soviet Union collapsed. The future of Russia - authoritarian or democratic - is unclear. The close of the cold war raised many questions about the world balance of power. Regional disruptions occur as leaders test new international conditions. The spread of nuclear weapons intensifies old rivalries.
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This note was uploaded on 05/20/2010 for the course HISTORY World Civi taught by Professor N/a during the Spring '10 term at Open Uni..

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ch42 - Chapter 42 A 21st-Century World: Trends and...

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