Covid-19 has ruptured the 21st century and in my view has put a full stop to all that was before. Life will NEVER be the same again. We are now truly in the 21st century, and no generation from now will know what it was like before. The effects of Covid-19 are also speeding up the future, with increasing surveillance capitalism to manage the West’s slow decline. I think Western history will look upon the last 30 years like this:
1989-2007: The golden years of liberal democracies
The fall of the Berlin wall signals the end of the Cold War. Politically, a swathe of left of centre parties gain power across Europe. In the UK, Labour sweeps into power in 1997. Things can only get better.
In 2001, there is a terrorist attack in the United States.
Facebook launches in 2004 and takes social media mainstream.
In 2007, the iPhone is released, and suddenly the internet and social media is in your pocket and in your hand.
2008-2020: The rise of populism
Following the financial crash and the ‘we must all tighten our belts now’, there is a massive redistribution of wealth from the poor to the rich, which allows populist and conservative parties to gain votes from those they’ve just fucked in the ass.
In 2016, the English vote to leave the European Union and drag us with it, against our will. Donald Trump is voted US president.
Technology has become a key tool of mass manipulation as social media has become more entrenched in people’s lives, and increasingly people live in differently mediated realities. Increasing use of media manipulation and propaganda techniques by political parties to build culturally-induced ignorance (agnotology).
Technology-enabled personalised realities and social media filter bubbles lead to increasingly politicisation of all aspects of public and professional life that divides people and increases mental health problems. A rise of extreme left and right views as well as irrational / non-scientific beliefs / conspiracy-theories.
In 2020, the Coronavirus (COVID-19) attacks the world.
2021-present: Decline and fall of Western democracies
This is the beginning of the end. The 20th century is truly over, and the 21st century has now begun. No way back. The macro-environment is fucked right now and public discourse is quite fucked up too. We’re living in a digitally mediated multi-truth environment where much of reality is individually experienced therefore nothing is commonly true or trusted any more.
Actually that’s why I stopped reading the news and still haven’t gone back. It’s been really good and I’ve not missed a thing! It’s been enjoyable to focus on my micro-environment instead.