Put a traditional, hierarchical, well-organized society together with the productive power of industrial commerce and you might get Nazi Germany, Stalin's Soviet Union or Imperial Japan.
That combination accounts for the loss of sixty to eighty million people in the wars and blood hate of the 20th Century.
My question is whether such a combination is likely to arise in the 21st Century.
There are a few small countries that fit the traditional, hierarchical, well organized definition, such as Singapore and Taiwan --possibly Turkey and Persia. There are fairly clear reasons to think that these nations are not potential threats. The big question mark is China.
Your answer to this question of an industrial commercial threat from hierarchical China may depend on whether you think China's aggressive history was the result of Mongol domination or you think that China is currently losing its hierarchical power as industrial commerce expands. Regardless of your assessment, China is constrained by another, post 1950, separate and independent factor: China as an aggressor would be exposed to the nuclear annihilation threat of other global powers. China is not now, nor has it ever been suicidal.
That leaves the world today in a much safer stage than it was at the beginning of the 20th Century.
We will all continue to face the risk of rogue states and tribal anti-commerce groups. However, that threat is not of the order of magnitude of the 20th Century horrors.
The worst consequences to be suffered might be a dirty nuclear bomb in a major city, with half a million dead and a million maimed. That would be tragic but it would be modest compared to the carnage of the last century’s human disasters.
We may be in a stage of post-industrial relative peace.