Today’s Turn-of-the-Century Problems

TurnOfCentury_GillesPaire© CAN STOCK PHOTO / GILLES PAIRE (POSTCARD)

This is the question that has always driven my intellectual curiosity: in an age of so much change, of so much that is new and unprecedented, could it be that the future is one of repeating historical cycles? This is the conundrum that propelled me to become both a historian and a futurist. It is a subject I have explored for my readers and audiences over many decades now. With that in mind, I found this column by Michael Barone interesting and thought I would share it.

Barone cites a presentation by Bruce Mehlman, who makes the case that problems facing America today – economic, social, demographic, technological, political – resemble those facing what we still call “turn-of-the-century” America from the 1890s to the 1910s. The implications are both reassuring and discomforting.