2042: The Human Union

Created May 20, 2022

Welcome to this week’s Bill Harvey Blog.

Bill Harvey was very old by then, but he suddenly felt very young again when the international space mission landed on Ganymede. Its shuttle brought the astronauts down in groups of four (all the shuttle was built for) so everyone could enjoy actually being there. The crew contained astronauts from a number of countries including the United States of America, China, and Russia. With the astronauts chosen solely on merit, the other countries represented included some small ones.

With permanent colonies on the Moon and Mars and more coming, the world economy had evolved to include the international territories throughout reachable space. An “international territory” was part of planet Earth, not part of any specific nation on Earth. 

These colonies were the children the Earth nations were choosing to have together.

Planners studied the history of colonies on Earth, and read Robert A. Heinlein’s prophetic novels, in order to know what to avoid in the era of space colonization. It had been decided that these colonists, picked as carefully as astronauts, would have to be treated permanently as having the right to make decisions as sovereigns of their colony. 

One rule that was finally agreed upon that multiple colonies on a given planet or satellite were okay, so long as they cooperated and remained committed to their equality relationships with the nations on Earth, and that a given planet or satellite or asteroid would never find itself split between disagreeing factions, or seceding from the Human Union.

Companies were the main explorers of space, with governments taking almost as big a role, in order to feel in control of security risks. This was a vast improvement over the rich having wandered to Hollywood as a way of investing excess wealth and having the most fun possible for them at the same time. That went on, of course, but now the big bucks were going to space and fundamental R&D. R&D companies flourished because investors saw the much greater possible returns of discovering new science upon which to monetize technology. R&D had always been a low single-digit percentage but was now double-digit everywhere. 

In fact, there was so much opportunity for competition in commerce, driven by new science and technology, that the attraction for wars had once again receded, following the same curve as in the period 1945-2013. All that testosterone had a different outlet.

After things started getting too hot in 2022, some rational people created a new media type in which world leaders could have conversations open to public view on virtual reality television (VTV) where the heads of state looked like they were in the same room or auditorium. The personal gravitas and objectivity of the show hosts led to slow reluctant participation by all of the nations, although it took a long time to build up to that level. Nonetheless, from the start this became a new species of high rated high attention television. The ads accepted in island position (no podding) were guidelined to be apropos for the viewing environment, and advertisers and agencies by then understood the need to impart altruism and empathy in advertising.

The world leaders having the opportunity to actually communicate rather than merely posture, after the first few weeks, some normal human communication actually began to occur (not devoid of posturing). The “west” laid out its agenda of world cooperation and peaceful resolution of differences. This was hard to publicly disagree with, so it was the first happy moment when that idea was unanimously ratified. China and Russia requested, in the spirit of cooperation, that all economic warfare had to stop, and the “west” provisionally agreed with that, if enough that had separated us could be agreed upon so that we could all relax.

So, then it was a long process of naming the gripes and figuring out how to resolve them amicably. Win/win outcomes. These were reasonably approximated, without however satisfying everyone. Those on the sidelines eager to get in would apply by bitching about something or other, and sweetening that with a good idea, which would usually qualify them to be on camera. This tended to cause people to try to think up good ideas instead of just ranting about the other party.

It was in this atmosphere that the cooperation spread from among governments to also bring in the business world. Corporations and cartels had already become as powerful as governments (as predicted by Dr. Strangelove) so that the idea of combining forces was natural. It was a sharp shift from companies funding candidates for public office, so it changed the nature of the relationship in a constructive way.

Younger people started calling upon companies to make the world a better place in the 60s and 70s and that “movement” is now essentially the entire population, with a younger skew because young people haven’t been fully disillusioned yet.

Space was only one way in which businesses worked with governments to help solve world problems. When everyone suddenly saw the voter booth value of actually creating positive change rather than just talking about it, many whose legislative master strategy was to slow forward change and where opportune, go back to perceived-as-better ideas of the past, pivoted toward getting in on public gratitude as their first principle, which meant being part of making majority- and minority-perceived improvements.

Bill was very old by then, as I’d mentioned, but all of these developments between 2022 and 2042 kept him feeling young, and kept him alive.

Love to all,

Bill

PS – Incidentally, the idea about a VTV “world conflict resolution show” appears in the background of my new sci-fi novel Pandemonium: Live To All Devices which includes a panoply of other elements that amuse me.

 

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