Assuming that nothing radically changes, 2063 is the year before a presidential election. That’s a big assumption because at any moment, a groundswell of support for a constitutional amendment to change the length of the presidential term or the year of the election. There’s no indication that it would happen, but it’s possible.
I do think that we’re not going to see a new age of civility and compromise in U.S. politics unless politicians believe that pretending to be civil will give them an edge with the electorate. People will probably continue to believe that they know the right way to fix problems and that people that disagree with them are either stupid or just haven’t thought the issues through.
Each campaign cycle people will believe that the ads have never been more divisive and mean-spirited. That won’t be true for the most part. Campaigns in the 1800s were very mean-spirited as were ones in the 1980s. That’s just the way politics is. The reason is simple. People don’t get in a position to run for high elected office because they want to change things and make a difference. They have to believe that their way is true and righteous. That must mean that the opposition’s idea isn’t merely different; it’s wrong and maybe evil.
Those are things that won’t change. Plenty will. As things get easier and easier, people will complain more and more. The relatively few problems that exist will seem more and more important. I don’t think a perfect human society is possible, so there will always be things to complain about.
Internationally, I don’t think that the U.S. will maintain it’s role as the sole superpower. Having spent ourselves to the brink of poverty, we’ll need to scale back a lot of what we do. In 2013, we’re just starting to see this, but we won’t really attack the problem until there’s no other choice. Any attempts by either side to fix problems that cause big spending will be attacked as being radical and for bad reasons.
We’ve seen this before. We’ve known that fossil fuels wouldn’t last forever for a while. Still, alternative fuels have been largely ignored until gas prices started to rise. I think that we’ll see more and more success with alternative fuels, perhaps we’ll even have a break through that makes electric vehicles more practical or ethanol cheaper and easier to make than gasoline. These changes will take place only if we continue to feel the pain of not changing.
As the role of the U.S. decreases on the world stage, I think that certain nations will step forward. It’s entirely possible that India or one of the African nations will step forward having skipped the expensive infrastructure improvements of the twentieth century, like wired telecommunications, choosing wireless instead.
As the internet makes its way to more and more of the earth, the information that comes with it will bring economic opportunity and democratic ideas. Dictatorship thrive when people haven’t considered the option of freedom. Keeping information away from people will get harder and harder to do.
For the Church, the freedom of information is a blessing. In the first century, a common language and somewhat safe travel facilitated the growth of the Church. Regimes and religions that depend on information not getting out will find it harder and harder to stay in power. Just as racism can’t stand in light of information about the equality of people, so regimes that depend on people not knowing that there are other choices will continue to fall.
As democracy and other ideas spread, the economic opportunities that they bring will enable people to travel more. I imagine a time when people from Africa and Asia come to Europe and the Americas as missionaries in far greater proportion.
Language will be less and less a problem than it is today. Just as Google’s Crome browser can instantly translate web pages, so smart phone apps and other devices (perhaps implanted) will facilitate communication between people that couldn’t talk to each other in the past.
I imagine a time when people choose to live where they live not for economic reasons, but for other reasons. If more and more people can work from wherever they want, why not live in a climate you like or where housing prices are low, so you can have a better house, or where educational opportunities are better?
What if transportation becomes cheap enough that people can live in different parts of the earth at different times of the year? What if you live in a perpetual summer since you spend six months of the year in the northern hemisphere and six months in the southern? Language and money won’t keep you where you are. Just as certain populations move to Florida every year during the winter, they might start moving to Brazil or Australia.
Countries with better climates, but worse governments and lack of economic opportunities could become more attractive as those things change. Tourist economies could become preferred weather economies. If you could live where you prefer to vacation, would you want to? For a lot of people the answer may be yes.
I think there will continue to be some countries and areas that won’t be democratic, but they’ll be fewer and fewer. Some places will stubbornly hold onto the belief that the few are smarter than the many. In order to maintain the status quo, they’ll likely use military force just like in times past. The difference might be that information will allow organized resistance to mount a guerrilla war against superior forces as information about their armaments and battle techniques becomes more and more available.
Hopefully, terrorism will decrease as the lies that promote it come to light. It’s hard to motivate people to kill themselves if they find out that they haven’t been victimized by the enemy, but lied to by those who claimed to have their best interest in mind. If you have more information you might start to see through the lies you’ve believed.
That’s not to say that the world fifty years from now will be a utopia. Selfish people will find ways to prey on the powerless. Crooked politicians will continue to line their own pockets. Certain groups will get power at the expense of others.
I just think that the greater proliferation of information will spawn some huge changes. Some countries will try and prevent this, but information is like water. It’s hard to stop, seeping into cracks and crevices that are difficult to seal with 100% effectiveness. The harder they try and stop the internet and information in general, the more people will question if the reasons they’ve been given are completely true. The very act of trying to stop information may itself cause a flood of more information.
For the Church, this is good news. We’ve long ago agreed that light helps our cause and secrecy hinders it. If more people hear about Jesus we believe more people will want to know Him. We don’t have to hide facts about Him. This puts us at a distinct advantage for spreading the Good News in a climate where more information will be available to more free people who will want even more information.