In Visions Of The Future, the author Robert Heilbroner explains why the time period of “Yesterday” (1750-1950) is so sharply different than what is being referred to as “Distant Past.” He believes three historic forces are what set this time period apart from the previous period. Those forces are being referred to as technology and science, capitalism, and political will. These forces are said to drive what we now call “Progress.” He also explains that these “changes that now emerge are not once-and-for-all, but continuous, so the the social structure is never again stationary, its tasks constantly altering…”

These dynamics were not just playing their hand in America but all over the world; revolutionary inventions, scientific discoveries that “reveal a hidden design behind its apparent accidental order,” the law of supply and demand, transportation improvements (steam engine, canalization), the different forms of political movements; democracy, communism, socialism and Marxism.

This period of time was one of optimism, and the people were excited about their future. Lives were perceived as better; vibrant cities, longer lives thanks to medicines, widening access to education and the “gradual acceptance, even embrace of political democracy all seemed to embody a profound, unique, and irreversible change in the human condition.

What type of view do you have about your future? Believe it or not, in the subsequent chapter, the author, and other researchers label our outlook as pessimistic. I am a pretty optimistic individual, but with the country so divided, I believe I align more with the author’s perspective!

One Reply to “Yesterday”

  1. Tabitha,
    Great posting! I have a pessimistic view with streaks of optimism. In this day and age, we have so much access to a lot of things we never had before and even know what to do with. Through social media and new technologies, we have the opportunity to live a pretty great life. However, we are a society of consumption and nothing will ever be enough. We can never make enough money or go on enough trips, we are conditioned to also seek for more.

    On the flipside from I believe are genuinely starting to take stock of their lives and count their blessings. Living on less instead of consuming more.

Leave a Reply