Eric Hobsbawm is Britain’s most distinguished living radical historian, and part of his life’s work has been a global history in four volumes, from 1789 to 1991. The last of these, The Age of Extremes, was published in 1994, in the aftermath of the end of the Cold War.
The latest edition of New Left Review, which marks the journal’s 50th anniversary, opens a long and reflective interview (subscription required) with Hobsbawm by asking what’s changed since 1991. Some of these points are obvious, some less so. Together, they add up to a picture of significant fragmentation, both at a global level and within states. (more…)
A quick service note to say that the next wave has started tweeting – light traffic, no more than one or two tweets a day, linking to articles or posts that seem to have something current to say on futures or trends. Visitors to the site may have noticed that the most recent tweets can be found among the site furniture to the right hand of the screen.
Alternatively, of course, you can follow the tweets at @nextwavefutures.
And while doing some blog tidying, I’ve also added a provision that lets you sign up to receive an email version of new posts.
I’ve seen quite a lot of comment, but not much analysis, of Google’s decision to face down China. The comment says (a) it’s a principled stand on human rights; (b) a response to poor business performance; (c) a lack of confidence in the prospects for the Chinese economy; (d) a risk management decision to underline its commitment to the integrity of the ‘internet cloud’ in the face of Chinese hacking. My take is that it’s a belated realisation that international businesses can no longer partition the world – and that oft-cited ethical concerns about its role in China were increasingly likely to damage more compelling business opportunities elsewhere.
A quick post to pick up the Observer’s piece on ten trends in sport over the next decade. Some are clearly fillers (‘boxing will fight back’? Who cares?) but among the more considered contributions, the two trends that they see as being on the up are about the domination of sport by television, and talent taking control of teams. There’s also an interesting note about sports in long-term decline: skiing, Formula One, and snooker.
I’m prepared to believe that television will increasingly dominate sport; I’m a lot less sure about talent taking control.
We often think of global media celebrity as a modern (late 20th century) invention. Not so, as I was reminded reading Gideon Haigh’s book of cricket articles, Inside Out. The combination of telegraphy and the mass circulation newspaper, together with the the rotary press and the roll film, created the phenomenon in the 1930s, as Daniel Boorstin observed in his book The Image.