The Predictions of Aldous Huxley on the 50th Anniversary of His Death

ku-xlargeYou know, when I was a youngster, I loved these predictions of what life would be like in the future, they seemed like the very embodiment of The Brave New World in the best possible sense. Some, like these from Aldous Huxley are rooted in reality but, some were really outlandish. But even then, I knew, and I’ll bet the authors knew as well, that they were at best a guess. While long-term trends might hold, the detail were going to be wrong. The one that Huxley, like everyone, missed is the amazing improvement in production agriculture.

If you read this carefully, he hints that the population will increase far less than it has, and yet he also expects that we will have trouble feeding ourselves. In a way, he’s right, but those problems are more to do with unfree markets, in other words with government interference in commerce than anything else. Right down to the amount of corn we burn as fuel.

Interesting stuff, indeed.

There seems to be two occasions when people most enjoy making predictions: anniversaries (think the American Bicentennial, New Year’s, etc) and dates that include round numbers (any year ending in zero). Such was the case in 1950 when many people halfway through the 20th century enjoyed predicting what life would be like in the year 2000 — obviously the roundest numbered year of our modern age.

The January 1950 issue of Redbook magazine asked, “What will the world of 2000 A.D. be like? Will the machine replace man? How will our children and grandchildren spend their leisure? How, indeed, will they look?” The mag asked four experts — curiously all men, given that Redbook was and is a magazine aimed at women — about what the world may look like fifty years hence.

Aldous Huxley, author of the 1931 dystopian novel Brave New Worldlooked at working life in the year 2000. Specifically, how people might work in the home, in the laboratory, in the office, in the factory and on the farm.

Aldous Huxley's Predictions for 2000 A.D.SEXPAND

Aldous Huxley began his article by describing the major challenges that would confront the world at the dawn of the 21st century. He predicted that the global population would swell to 3 billion people — a figure less than half of the 6.1 billion that would prove to be a reality by 2000.

During the next fifty years mankind will face three great problems: the problem of avoiding war; the problem of feeding and clothing a population of two and a quarter billions which, by 2000 A.D., will have grown to upward of three billions, and the problem of supplying these billions without ruining the planet’s irreplaceable resources.

Let us assume—and unhappily it is a large assumption—that the nations can agree to live in peace. In this event mankind will be free to devote all its energy and skill to the solution of its other major problems.

Huxley’s predictions for food production in the year 2000 are largely a call for the conservation of resources. He correctly points out that meat production can be far less efficient than using agricultural lands for crops. Moreover, he discusses the growing importance of synthetic materials (a reality we take for granted in so many ways today). His description of synthetics was incredibly prescient, if not very surprising, coming from a man whose most famous novel imagined a high-tech world built on mass production.

Continue reading The Predictions of Aldous Huxley on the 50th Anniversary of His Death.

Altogether some pretty good thinking here, although like everybody else, he failed to see the differences that nearly unlimited peer-to-peer networking at nearly no cost (read high-speed internet) would make. That includes me, of course, as well.

Enjoy

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About NEO
Lineman, Electrician, Industrial Control technician, Staking Engineer, Inspector, Quality Assurance Manager, Chief Operations Officer

3 Responses to The Predictions of Aldous Huxley on the 50th Anniversary of His Death

  1. Pingback: Do We Live In a Dystopian Nightmare? Comparision Between Brave New World and 2013 | Delilah's Angels

    • NEO says:

      This is very well done, and I recommend it highly

      Like

  2. Pingback: Book Review: Brave New World by Aldous Huxley | Melissa Janda – A Time to Write

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