To your essay, Capitalism Isn’t Going to Survive the 21st Century. Will We?
It’s not enough to predict the end of liberal-capitalistic political economic system, by the way, an oppinion i fully agree with, but there is a need to point out a different outcome, that will be very different from anything we can learn from the past. So let me try one such a prediction.
If in most of twenties century, the world was divided to bipolar political entities. On one hand the liberal, democratic-capitalistic political-economic system based entities, on the other hand personal freedom repressive-socialist political-economic system based entities. This division was not based on differences of opinion as to the goals of any political entity, but to the way how to create more efficient economic system, to secure wealth and well being to most of the society. At the end of the century the capitalist system won the battle, and the repressive-socialistic system became irrelevant.
The twenty first century, new division of political entities appeared. On one hand societies with demographically stagnant societies, with critical scientific conceptual institutions, against societies with population growth and institutionalised dogmatic thinking, mostly nourished by organised religion and ideologies, enforced or voluntarily accepted by the majority of the population.
Accordingly we can put political entities as EU and China and other East Asian countries, like Japan and South Korea to societies with scientific approach, while most of the Muslim countries and Africa to societies with dogmatic approach. As to US and with it most of subordinated South American states, do have leading institutions with scientific approach, but their political representative act as representatives of financial magnates, and are disconnected from critical-scientific approaches. Russia is in similar situation, even if with a very different political system.
But this bipolar division of political entities, doesn't apply only to division between countries, but also to social-economic layers of the societies within the political entity. Since the major force bringing change to the contemporary human society is science and technology, they are those who participate in developing this advance, and are those who don't. This leaves minority of people, necessary to advance modern scientific-technological societies, and majority of those who are useless for this process. Since the new scientific-technological approaches will create eventually enough resources, to satisfy the needs of all the world population, if as predicted, the world population will stop to grow, most probably the small minority of leading creative people in sciences, technology, arts, politics, entrepreneurship, etc. will create systems, to satisfy the needs of majority of useless people, while manipulating their needs, to virtual entertainments, that are causing relatively limited damage to the environment.
We can see already the signs of development to this kind of world. Many young people are already spending hours in computer games, simulating virtual reality, much more attractive than the real world. I can imagine future, as the games and technology develops, hordes of people in zombie state, living in virtual reality. It demands a strong self aware individual, to disconnect from these games.
So if to speak about bipolar world of the future, i would predict divisions to the majority, living in virtual reality, and those who create and manipulate this world.