Old age (I'm about to turn 80) gives a few people a chance for historical insight. I don't claim to have any accurate vision of the future because of my age. I can merely see where we are with a unique perspective.
During the Cold War, the United States with a small amount of support from a few other nations battled the military expansion of traditional autocratic societies in several nations ( Russia in East Europe, Korea and Vietnam) and watched the revolutionary reversion to autocracy in several others (China, Cuba and Venezuela).
In my life I lived through the 45 years of the Cold War. I have lived an additional decade as the Democrat Party in the U.S. tried to destroy the vitality of American commerce (with environmental Armageddon, unions, nationalized medicine and octopus like expansion of government bureaucracy.
At the same time I was fortunate to live in the center of the hippy American world, San Francisco. With the hippies, who aggressively started new businesses, I formed the first network of hundreds of mutual helping businesses. That gave me a unique perspective on the nature of modern commerce.
Modern commercial innovation only thrives today in the United States and Israel. It thrives because of meritocracy, a diverse population and a large population that is comfortable with open markets and loves technology.
These vital components of modern commercial innovation are thwarted around the world by traditional social structures: tribes, caste, class and hereditary elites.
In retrospect I can see that modern commerce evolved largely by accident because of the European empires, particularly the Dutch and English, which for a few short centuries allowed the second sons of the elites to escape and thrive meritocratically in business. The escapees built businesses and some moved to a place like America where immigration was open (as is true for Israel). As these were populations that could read and write they could also support technology and individual initiative and did.
The American West became a new opening for the meritocratic escapees from hereditary elites on the East Coast, in a nation where the English elites had been overthrown and many driven to Canada and back home to England.
I have no idea how solid or fragile this tiny world of thriving modern commerce is.
What I wonder about is whether some core nature of human beings will wipe this experiment from the face of the earth.
I'm not being melodramatic, the great technological achievements of Greece (the Antikythera computer-like mechanism) and the Chinese age of technology Song and Yuan (1300's) were assimilated and forgotten in Greece and China.
Today, less than a billion people live outside of tribal, class and caste societies. Of this billion, at most a few hundred million live outside of an hereditary elite society.
Now I look at that ratio, 7 billion in the world to 0.2 billion active participants in modern commercial innovation. That is less than 5% of the people alive. Only 5% of the people alive live in an area or nation conducive to generating modern commerce.
Why is that?
Is it because humans are best described by E.O. Wilson as hive animals, or by the perverse observation of M.L.King Jr. “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.” ( A shortening of a sermon by Theodore Parker.) Where 'justice', as the Left understands it, is not modern commerce, it is the traditional form of human association of tribe, caste, class and hereditary elite.
While M.L.King Jr. may have personally envisioned the American idea of free and autonomous commercial individuals, the black population he championed were the offspring of African tribal people who rarely, to this date, after two centuries, have assimilated to the American norm of entrepreneurs and a commercially thriving people.
Is the "moral arc of history" going to assimilate and subdue modern commerce, returning it to the world of tribes, castes, classes, queen bee hives and alpha dog leaders?
In my old age, that is a dark worry in the back of my mind.